Year of city of Mary as 2015 Cultural Capital of Turkic World kicks off in Turkmenistan
The year of the city of Mary designated as the cultural capital of the Turkic world in 2015 was officially launched in the Turkmen city of Mary. The official opening ceremony marked the start of a series of activities to be held in this city in accordance with its honorary status.
An impromptu Turkmen village was set up in the city square in front of the Palace of Ruhiyet (spirituality), which was chosen as the venue of celebrations. Traditional crafts, folk costumes, fabrics, carpets and felt mats, ceramics and jewelry, old musical instruments, as well as works by skilled craftsmen placed in the yurt-pavilions were demonstrated in all their diversity at this unique exhibition.
The official part of the opening ceremony of the year of the city of Mary as the cultural capital of the Turkic world took place at the Palace of Ruhiyet. It brought together members of the Mejlis (Parliament) of Turkmenistan, representatives of the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Coordination (TIKA) under the Prime Minister of Turkey, delegations of artists from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Bulgaria, Gagauzia (Republic of Moldova), as well as regions of the Russian Federation, such as Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Khakassia, Tuva, Sakha-Yakutia, Kalmykia and Altai.
The ceremony participants listened to the welcoming message of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Congratulating them on the occasion of designating the Turkmen city of Mary as the cultural capital of the Turkic world in 2015, the President of Turkmenistan stressed the importance of the ancient city of Mary in the history of human civilization, noting that the rich history, cultural and spiritual values of the Turkmen people serve the mutual enrichment of peoples and cultures and bringing them closer to each other.
Then, the floor was given to General Secretary of TURKSOY Dusanbay Kaseinov. He expressed deep gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for development of constructive international cooperation contributing to the preservation and development of culture and arts of the Turkic peoples.
He noted that the ancient city of Merv, currently called Mary, enlisted as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, picked up the honorary baton as part of the project "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World." According to him, here one can witness the value of common cultural heritage and feel the significance of one of the oldest centers of world civilization.
As part of the celebrations, artists of the Turkic-speaking countries performed at a gala concert at the Palace of Ruhiyet.
The audience cheered the skills of artists of dance group "Jangi" from Azerbaijan; the folk ensemble from the Turkish city of Eskisehir; Kazakh musical group “Ak zhayyn.” The folk group of Cultural Association "Gayrat" from Bosnia and Herzegovina performed stirring “National Dance of Sarajevo." Their colleagues from the Republic of Hungary - folk group “Majar Turan” - presented its vision of the ancient history in “Dance of Nomads.” The Bashkir Academic Folk Dance Ensemble named after Faizi Gaskarov, folklore group "Rodop Ellery" from Bulgaria, dance groups "Dusava" from the Republic of Moldova (Gagauzia), "Sayan" from Tuva Republic of the Russian Federation, "Yeni Dunya" from Macedonia also performed the dances of their people.
Kazakh, Tatar, Turkish, Yakut, Khakas, Tuva, Altai melodies and songs sounded majestically from the stage of the Palace of Ruhiyet.
The artists’ performances were accompanied by videos reels narrating of the historical and cultural heritage and modern achievements of the countries they represented.
By tradition, the festive concert finished with the ancient Turkmen dance "Kushtdepdi" whose powerful energetics emanate harmony and spiritual power of the Turkmen national culture.
An international exhibition of fine arts, crafts and photography was one of the first activities held in the city of Mary as the cultural capital of the Turkic world in 2015. It was inaugurated at the Regional History Museum of Mary province with participation of the leaders and representatives of TURKSOY, numerous foreign guests and general public of the city.
The exhibition featured works by painters, potters, photographers from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Macedonia and Turkmenistan. The thematic palette of the exhibition was diverse, describing the way of life of the Turkic peoples, their customs, traditions, art and modern achievements in the field of culture and art. The exhibition visitors were pleased to see the collection of folk costumes, jewelry, carpets made by craftswomen, original wood and silk works. Paintings and photo works depicted wonderful scenes, historical images and our contemporaries, as well as important events organized in the framework of the project "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World" and others.
The guests of Turkmenistan were also taken on a tour of the Regional History Museum, whose funds account for about sixty thousand exhibits - monuments of history, culture and art of the Turkmen people. Old folk costumes, magnificent carpets, silver jewelry, works by folk craftsmen, a collection of items of ancient culture discovered by archaeologists at the site of the once flourishing civilizations, utensils, documents on regional history and many other exhibits multiply the wealth of the museum's collection.
After the tour, the guests were invited to the exhibition hall of the Mary branch of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, where they were shown the modern achievements of the province, including development of private enterprises. The exhibition presented the goods manufactured by the provincial private business enterprises, national clothes and souvenirs made by local entrepreneurs, as well as high-quality products from natural raw materials made by the textile complexes of the country.
The cultural program prepared for the guests included a visit to the State Historical and Cultural Reserve “Ancient Merv”, where they got acquainted with the unique architectural monuments – the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar, the Mosque of Khoja Yusuf Hamedani, the ancient fortresses of Erkkala and Gyzgala. The participants of the cultural event also visited the Library of Mary province that became the center of spiritual life of the region, its scientific and methodological center. The guests got acquainted with numerous halls of the library and its modern facilities. Of particular interest was the observatory, located under the dome of the magnificent building.
The guests also toured the multipurpose market, a modern prototype of an oriental bazaar, which in ancient times was the center of social and cultural life of big cities along the Great Silk Road.
On their return to Ashgabat, the ceremony participants continued acquainting themselves with historical and cultural heritage of the Turkmen people by visiting the museums and sights of the capital city.
The project "Cultural Capital of the Turkic World" is designed to unleash the cultural potential of the Turkic peoples and draw public’s attention to their heritage. It provides for the annual gathering of creative forces in various cities of Turkic-speaking countries, holding various colorful and rich-in-content cultural and humanitarian activities based on strong historical and cultural ties and ongoing dialogue between the distinct cultures of sovereign states.