03.10.2011 - UNESCO

UNESCO preserves cultural heritage in Uzbekistan

Group of national musicians, Samarkand, 1927 (unknown author) – © Samarkand’s State Regional Historical Artistic Museum-Reserve

The unique photo-exhibition, Digitized History: Memories, has been launched in the Tashkent House of Photography. Open to a large audience, the exhibition showcases printings of rare glass-negatives (1920-1930) from the collection of Samarkand’s State Regional Historical Artistic Museum-Reserve.

Almost 100 most striking pictures, witnesses of the history, culture, arts and education of Uzbekistan in the beginning of 20th century, were selected for the exhibition. A part of glass-negatives represent holy sites and mosques in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva in 1920-1930. They portray changes of unique architectural forms of those ancient cities, and also moments of social-economic, political and cultural life in the end of 19th – beginning of 20th centuries.

This photo exhibition is a result of the project on Preservation of Rare Old Glass-Negatives through Digitization, jointly implemented by UNESCO’s Office in Tashkent and the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Within this project, UNESCO provided support to the museums in Khiva and Bukhara to preserve their glass-negatives collections.

At the opening of the exhibition, which was attended by representatives of Embassies, UN, international organizations accredited in Uzbekistan and general public, Tursunali Kuziev, Minister of Culture and Sports of Uzbekistan, expressed his gratitude to UNESCO for supporting this project. He also thanked all experts who made their contribution to the preservation of these invaluable documentary collections that transmit to us knowledge about the culture of the beginning of 20th century. “I encourage this kind of initiatives to be continued in the future. They can benefit historians, ethnographers, architects as well as the general public, allowing them to explore huge layers of cultural heritage held in museums of Uzbekistan,” he said.

Jorge Espinal, Head of UNESCO’s Tashkent Office, noted that the exhibited photos passed through years to transmit us a unique knowledge about the past. They have not only an aesthetical value, but also a historical one.

As these unique photos were never published before, their digitization opens new possibilities to historians, anthropologists and other experts for extensive research about historical and cultural heritage of Uzbekistan.

UNESCO supports its Member States in preservation and dissemination of their valuable documentary heritage in order to raise public awareness of the importance of memory. Heritage preservation and access to knowledge are among UNESCO’s main priorities aimed at promoting freely accessible multilingual content on the Internet.

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