About Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s Historical and Cultural Heritage presented at the first Biennale of Islamic Art in Saudi Arabia
27 January 2023
Uzbekistan’s Historical and Cultural Heritage presented at the first Biennale of Islamic Art in Saudi Arabia

The grand opening of the first Biennial of Islamic Art exhibiting the rich Islamic culture of Uzbekistan took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Four pages of the Kattalangar Koran of the 8th century, a collection of hadiths of the 17th century, ceramics of Samarkand and Afrasiab of the 10th-12th centuries and other museum items were presented by Uzbekistan at the first Biennale of Islamic Art, which opened in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The first Biennale of Islamic Art opened on January 23 in Jeddah. It was organized by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia. Among the participating countries are Mali, Egypt, Tunisia, Greece, Oman, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, which is represented by the Foundation for the Development of Culture and Art.

The focus of the event is the connection of the past, present and future. Attempts to trace it formed the basis of studies of spirituality in Islamic art. The main theme of the biennale is "Aual Bait", which means "First House" in Arabic. This term comes from the Koran and is used to refer to the sacred place for Muslims - the Kaaba in Mecca.

The Art and Culture Development Foundation of Uzbekistan presents a unique exposition at the Biennale, consisting of 17 museum items of ethnography and textiles, which represent the rich Islamic culture and heritage of Uzbekistan to an international audience.

“Uzbekistan has a rich and multifaceted history, most of which is closely connected with the traditions of Islam. The selection of exhibits presented by our country is designed to interest the world community in their study,”  said Gayane Umerova, executive director of the foundation.

The exhibition showcases 17 museum items. Among them is the collection of hadiths of Imam al-Bukhari "Al-Jome as-Sahih" of the 17th century, ceramic jugs and bowls from Samarkand and Afrasiab of the 10th-12th centuries, as well as national clothes and shoes from the collection of the State Museum of Arts of Uzbekistan. A special place in the exposition is occupied by four pages from the Kattalangar Quran, two of which are being publicly exhibited for the first time.

In addition to the exposition, the foundation has prepared an extensive public program that includes discussions, musical performances, workshops and master classes in Uzbek ceramics and Uzbek suzani, as well as film screenings. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see the silent film "The Minaret of Death" (1924) accompanied by traditional musical instruments and the film "Al-Bukhari" (1998).

Participation of our country in such global cultural events and exhibitions indeed has a positive impact on developing the interest of tourists willing to visit Uzbekistan for its historical and cultural heritage.

The first Biennale of Islamic Art in Jeddah will host visitors until 23 April this year.

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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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