To learn and love the city – you need to at least live a bit in it. Cities, like people, have their own destiny, their own character, their own habits. Consciously or not, but we create cities in our image and likeness.
The city absorbs our love, our tenderness, our souls, and it becomes a part of our soul itself, generously giving its warmth and its love. When someone leaves, the city is sad and patiently awaits your return. And when you return, he hospitably opens his arms to you. And even if you have not returned, your city still remembers you and misses you.
Ashgabat, as well as other cities of the country, has a special appeal. The city and residents harmoniously complement each other. Take a closer look, and you will notice: Ashgabat people are never in a hurry, as if knowing that they have an eternity ahead, and there is no need to rush. Haste is generally not characteristic of the Turkmen people. The poet Vladimir Lugovskoy, who visited Turkmenistan in the 30s of the last century, spoke about this feature of Turkmens and generally about their centuries-old traditions with great love, respect and tenderness.
“He was fascinated by the charms of Turkmenistan. Asia found its way in him. At its call he will rush without hesitation. And wherever he is, he will remember the colors of this country, remember the people of this ancient nation … ”, another poet, Nikolay Tikhonov, spoke about Turkmenistan. And he is not alone.
Turkmenistan has always been distinguished by openness, friendliness, hospitality, and generosity. Figures of culture, art, science were frequent guests of our country. Others lived and worked here for decades, for example, writer Vladimir Karpov, production designer Valentina Khmeleva, actress Lucien Ovchinnikova, composer Adrian Shaposhnikov, world-renowned ethnologist and archaeologist Georgy Markov, poet and actor Leonid Filatov. Some stayed forever. We can recall at least the famous neurosurgeon Boris Smirnov and a wonderful artist, an outstanding breeder Olga Mizgireva.
Popular, famous pop artists, musicians, film actors from near and far abroad often came to Ashgabat. In the capital they were always welcomed warmly and cordially. They were happy to give interviews, and I do not remember the case that someone refused to communicate with the press. This is how the interviews with Oleg Dal, Nina Sazonova, Leah Akhedzhakova, Oleg Strizhenov, Igor Starygin, Valery Nosik, Georgy Burkov, and Lyudmila Kasatkina appeared in the Turkmen media.
I recall a meeting with Vitaly Solomin – the performer of the role of Dr. Watson in the series “Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.” The hall where the artist performed was filled to capacity. Vitaly Methodievich interestingly talked about how he got used to the image of an assistant detective, recalled the curiosities that occurred during the filming, theatrical roles, his family, friends, plans. Then he answered numerous questions from the audience. When the meeting ended, and the audience began to applaud, the artist, clutching his hand to his heart, thanked it with the words that he managed to learn: “Sag bol, sag bol.”
I also asked for an interview. We wandered around Ashgabat a bit, then sat in a cozy cafe in the city park, then it was time for the guest to go to the hotel.
“Listen, let’s still walk around the city,” Solomin suggested. – Somewhy I do not want to go to the hotel. Such a good evening, it is warm, affectionate, and in Moscow it is now cold and slushy. And I want to gwt to know the city better.
We wandered around Ashgabat for a long time, I showed our guest our sights, talked about the devastating earthquake of the 48th year, when the city was almost wiped off the face of the earth. He shook his head in dismay, then said: “Is it possible to rebuild such a city in just two or three decades? I can’t even believe that there were vacant lots on this place. The city is so cozy, although the sadness of this land is still felt. And some other special aura. Let’s take a walk more … “. Dr. Watson returned to the hotel around midnight.
Actor Georgiy Burkov arrived in Ashgabat with his wife – actress Tatyana Ukharova. They stayed at the same hotel as Solomin the year before. After an evening meeting with the audience, I asked for an interview. But this time for a conversation we chose a hotel – it was pouring rain, and he canceled a walk in Ashgabat. A small woman came out of the room, half the size of her spouse, reached out and introduced herself: “Tatyana Sergeyevna, come on in.”
We settled in armchairs, I asked questions, Burkov answered, and everyone regretted that the day was rainy, and you can’t wander around the city.
“No worries, the weather will be good tomorrow,” I assured. – We do not have long rains.
“Then Tanya will show me the city as promised,” Burkov looked at his wife.
“Have you ever been with us before?” I asked.
“Yes, Tanya starred in the Turkmenfilm studio, in the film “There is no smoke without fire” and told a lot of interesting things about Ashgabat,” Burkov answered for his wife.
Then I really remembered the mischievous, restless girl, struggling with the collective farm bureaucrats. In the same film, Spartak Mishulin starred with Tatyana Ukharova.
“People were the most memorable,” said Tatyana Sergeevna. – Our film crew worked in one of the farms near Ashgabat. Between filming, smiling women from the village in beautiful dresses brought us hot food – shurpa, pilaf, fresh churek, suzma, milk, vegetables, fruits, watermelons, melons. And they did this not on someone’s assignment, but on their own initiative. We were excitedly invited to visit. It was nice and very touching. The respect with which we were treated as relatives, close people, I will never forget. In our free time, we walked around Ashgabat, and all the time it seemed to me that the city looked like its inhabitants – just as quiet, comfortable, calm, and friendly.
…I spent several years abroad, in one rich, prosperous country. But the longer I lived, the more I longed for Ashgabat. And once I could not stand it – I got on the plane and rushed home. I wandered around the streets of my native city for days, touching the trees that still remembered me. You can part with the city, but the city will never part with you.