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Cultural Heritage of Uzbekistan represented in Venice: “Mahalla: Urban and Rural Living”
06 September 2021
Cultural Heritage of Uzbekistan represented in Venice: “Mahalla: Urban and Rural Living”

The cultural heritage of Uzbekistan was represented in one of the biggest courts at the the17th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice “Biennale Architettura 2021”, which runs from 22 May to 21 November 2021, curated by architect and scholar Hashim Sarkis. 

Uzbekistan was represented under the project “Mahalla: Urban and Rural Living”, which is commissioned by the Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

“Composing in space and time: the composition for the Uzbekistan Pavilion”,Uzbekistan and the mahallas as a source of inspiration for artistic work. Cultural exchange, transfer” were the topics given to the Uzbekistan Pavilion during the exhibition.

“Historically built around family ties and the daily life of the community, mahallas represent an ancient form of “living together”, many variations on which can be found in large parts of Asia. In Uzbekistan, where the tradition occurs mainly as a genuinely rural space embedded within an urban context, this indigenous cultural institution takes on a specific meaning. The mahallas convey a sense of proximity and intimacy while creating precise spaces of assembly that the community puts to intensive use. At a time when the ecosystem of the anonymous megacity is literally reaching its limits, the need for alternatives is greater than ever. Can the social organization of these neighborhoods and their various architectural formations as low-rise / high-density structures offer urban society a sustainable and ecological model?” – as mentioned on the official website of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice “Biennale Architettura 2021”.

The Pavilion of the Exhibition represented by Uzbekistan will remain open for 7 months. According to the data provided by We Exhibit, so far Uzbekistan Pavilion has been visited by more than 30 000 people.

During the cultural and educational events taking place in the exhibition, the international audience visiting the event was introduced to the Uzbek mahalla cultural heritage, its significance and role in the modern world, and the opportunities it offers to our future as a society.  

The Chief Curator of the Exhibition Hashim Sarkis also mentioned that the Uzbek Pavilion had a very happy atmosphere, which is rare to create. Furthermore, the aspect of mahalla was transferred to the audience with success, as a unit that embodies Uzbek hospitality patterns in it.




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Did you know?

Uzbekistan is one of only two countries in the world to be ‘double landlocked’ (landlocked and totally surrounded by other landlocked countries). Liechtenstein is double landlocked by 2 countries whilst Uzbekistan is surrounded by 5!

Did you know that Uzbekistan lies in the very heart of Eurasia, the coordinates for Uzbekistan are 41.0000° N, 69.0000°

Uzbekistan is home to the Muruntan gold mine, one of the largest open pit gold mines in the world! The country has 4th largest reserves of gold in the world after South Africa, USA and Russia

Uzbekistan is the world capital of melons. They have in excess of 150 different varieties, which form a staple part of the local diet, served fresh in the summer and eaten dried through the winter.

It is Uzbek tradition that the most respected guest be seated farthest from the house’s entrance.

Tashkent’s metro features chandeliers, marble pillars and ceilings, granite, and engraved metal. It has been called one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

The Uzbek master chef is able to cook in just one caldron enough plov to serve a thousand men.

When you are a host to someone, it is your duty to fill their cups with for the whole time they are with you.  What you must not do, however, is to fill their cup more than half-full.  If you do that as a mistake, say it is a mistake immediately.  Doing it means you want them to leave.  Wow!  Amazing, right?

To Uzbeks, respect means a whole lot.  For this reason they love it if, even as foreigners, you endeavour to add the respectful suffix opa after a woman's name; and aka after a man's.  Example: Linda-opa and David-aka.  You could also use hon and jon respectively.

Having been an historic crossroads for centuries as part of various ancient empires, Uzbekistan’s food is very eclectic. It has its roots in Iranian, Arab, Indian, Russian and Chinese cuisine.

Though identified with the Persia, the Zoroastrism probably originated in Bactria or Sogdiana. Many distinguished scholars share an opinion that Zoroastrianism had originated in the ancient Khorezm. Indeed, today in the world there were found 63 Zoroastrian monuments, including those in Iran, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thirty-eight of them are in Uzbekistan, whereas 17 of these monuments are located in Khorezm.

One of Islam's most sacred relics - the world's oldest Koran that was compiled in Medina by Othman, the third caliph or Muslim leader, is kept in Tashkent. It was completed in the year 651, only 19 years after Muhammad's death. 

Tashkent is the only megapolis in the world where public transport is totally comprised of Mercedes buses. And due to low urban air polution it is one of the few cities where one can still see the stars in the sky.

You would be surprised to know that modern TV was born in Tashkent. No joke! The picture of moving objects was transmitted by radio first time in the world in Tashkent on 26 of July 1928 by inventors B.P. Grabovsky and I.F. Belansky.

Uzbekistan is the only country in the world all of whose neighbours have their names ending in STAN. This is also the only country in Central Asia that borders all of the countries of this region

Uzbeks are the third populous Turkik ethnicity in the world after Turks and Azeris (leaving both in Azerbaijan and Iran)

Did you know that there was silk money in Khiva? Super interesting right? Of course, but the best part of having silk money was that it could be sewn into your clothing.

Famous Islamic physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna in the Latin world) who was born near Bukhara was the one of the first people to advocate using women’s hair as suture material – about 1400 years ago.

Uzbekistan has a long and bloody history. The most notorious leader of Uzbekistan was Timur (or Tamerlane) who claimed descent from Genghis Khan. His military campaigns have been credited for wiping out some 5% of the world’s population at the time.

If you have thought that some of the Islamic architecture in Uzbekistan resembles that from Northern India, then that is because Timur’s great great great Grandson, Babur Beg, was the founder of the Moghul Empire that ruled much of India for almost four centuries! Babur’s great great Grandson was Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.

Uzbekistan was once a rum producig country. There is still a real arboretum in Denau (city near Termez on the border with Afghanistan), grown from a selection station that studied the prospects of plant growing in the unusual for the Soviet Union subtropical climate of Surkhandarya region: only here in the whole of the USSR sugar cane was grown and even rum was produced!

Uzbekistan has been ranked one of the safest countries in the world, according to a new global poll. The annual Gallup Global Law and Order asked if people felt safe walking at night and whether they had been victims of crime. The survey placed Uzbekistan 5th out of 135 countries, while the UK was 21st and the US 35th. Top five safest countries:

  • Singapore
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Finland
  • Uzbekistan
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