“Central Asia at the crossroads of civilizations” – this will be the name of the forum, which is scheduled to be held in 2021 with the support of UNESCO in the city of Khiva in Uzbekistan. The forum will provide another opportunity to study the culture of this region, reveal new facets of the civilizational contribution of its peoples, draw the attention and assistance of the world community to the measures taken in Central Asia to popularize the historical heritage.
UNESCO believes that the event will contribute to promoting the recognition of the region in the international arena, stimulating the tourist flow, which will have a positive impact on its sustainable development. Fitting into the general integration processes in the Central Asian region, the forum will give a new impetus to the strengthening of cultural, humanitarian and spiritual ties of kindred peoples living here, will strengthen the policy of good-neighborliness and growing cooperation in solving common problems.
Central Asia is one of the oldest cradles of human civilization with an exceptionally rich history and heritage. Situated at the crossroads of routes between East and West, the region has for many centuries promoted dialogue and interaction of cultures, languages and religions, scientific and intellectual exchange along the Great Silk Road. The initiative to hold a joint International Cultural Forum in Khiva with UNESCO was put forward by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
In Turkmenistan, priority is given to the scientific study and actualization of the national cultural heritage, its popularization in the world. The country has repeatedly hosted international forums, including those related to the Great Silk Road, which united not only the peoples of the region, but also Asia and Europe.
Thus, the international conference “The Significance of the Great Silk Road: Present and Future Development” held in December 2018 in Ashgabat, held by UNESCO in cooperation with the government of Turkmenistan, was devoted to the issues of common heritage. It was attended by ministers, high-ranking officials and international experts from nearly fifty countries. The main leitmotif of the forum was the idea that the Great Silk Road is a vivid example of a long-term heritage in the field of intercultural exchange, dialogue and cooperation, which serve as the basis for sustainable peace and development.
This year, the State program for conducting research and excavation of historical and cultural monuments located on the territory of Turkmenistan along the Great Silk Road, study and popularization of cultural heritage is being completed in 2018-2021.
The main objectives of the program are to create an innovative system for the study of the national heritage, build up the intellectual potential of society, train modern-minded specialists, as well as develop international scientific relations and expand cooperation with foreign research centers, attract famous scientists to archaeological excavations in Turkmenistan. The implementation of the program will strengthen a systematic approach to the study of historical and cultural monuments of the country, their protection as an integral part of the cultural heritage of mankind and a unique source of valuable information.
At a government meeting held at the end of January this year, new steps were discussed to develop cooperation with UNESCO in the preservation and scientific study of cultural heritage including about proposals for the nomination of several national monuments to the UNESCO World Heritage List in the systemic nomination “Silk Road: Zaravshan-Karakum corridor”.
These are objects along the Amul-Merv branch of the Great Silk Road, which became the subject of research during the expeditions of specialists of the National Administration of Turkmenistan for the Protection, Study and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Monuments and the State Historical and Cultural Reserve “Ancient Merv” in cooperation with experts from the Institute of Archeology of the University of London …
The members of the expeditions inspected the monuments located on this caravan route, including the Amul fortress, the fortification of Mansaf, the caravanserais of Kenegal, Akjagala, Gyzyljagala, the at-Takhmaladzh site, the medieval city of Kushmeikhan, which are worthy candidates for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List under the aforementioned nomination …
As noted at the government meeting, in order to nominate the Zaravshan-Karakum corridor, the final version of the package of documents on the proposed sites is being prepared, which, according to international requirements, must be submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in due time. The issue of inclusion in this prestigious List of the Zaravshan-Karakum corridor of the Great Silk Road is planned to be considered at the next meeting of the Committee, which will be held in September 2021.