On 25 December, Beijing was the venue of a gala night dedicated to the Day of Uzbekistan Culture — Travel to the Pearl of the Great Silk Road.
The event was organised by the SCO Secretariat, the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in China and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
The gala night was one of the many impressive events of the SCO — Our Common Home project intended to enhance cultural and humanitarian ties between the SCO family countries, knowledge of member countries' traditions and customs and development of a dialogue of civilisations.
The event started with passionate sounds created by Uzbek doira percussion instruments and a colourful film about Uzbekistan's culture and traditions.
In his address to the guests and participants SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov said that the Great Silk Road stretching from China to Europe, Africa and India has been conducive to stronger friendship between peoples, as well as an exchange of knowledge and mutual enrichment of cultures for centuries. "Linking East and West, this major trade and cultural artery ran across present-day Uzbekistan via such world famous historical cities as Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Kokand and Shakhrisabz, which for years on end provided caravans and travelers with shelter and warmth."
Vladimir Norov emphasised that the trend towards regional rapprochement, which is developing in Central Asia, is an important factor for the revival of the past Great Silk Road potential and understanding of the shared values and indivisibility of the fraternal peoples' destinies. "Established on the initiative of Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the mechanism of regular consultative meetings between the leaders of Central Asian states brought the friendly and good-neighbourly relations of the countries in the region to a brand new level. Uzbekistan is making a weighty
contribution to the development of multifaceted cooperation within the SCO. Large-scale preparations for the summit of the SCO member states' leaders in the historical city of Samarkand in 2020 is underway," added the Secretary-General.
Vladimir Norov drew the guests' attention to the world-wide fame of Bukhara, which contributed a lot to the development of intellectual, cultural and religious values of the human civilisation.
Uzbekistan's Minister of Culture Bakhtiyor Saifullayev spoke about the intensive and ever growing cultural and humanitarian relations between Uzbekistan and China, including joint photo and picture exhibitions, art festivals, Cinema Days and many other events. "Thanks to the parties' consistent and relentless efforts friendly Chinese and Uzbek peoples have established long-term and multifaceted interaction, the dynamics of interstate and intergovernment visits is increasing and their international dialogue is becoming stronger," underscored Saifullayev.
Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Cheng Guoping greeted the guests and underlined that China and Uzbekistan are friendly neighbours, and have deep and vast ties in the economy, trade and cultural exchanges. "Uzbekistan, located in the very heart of Eurasia, is a universally known ancient country situated along the Great Silk Road. Bukhara is an ancient Uzbek city, that has a reputation of a Central Asian Mecca and has made a considerable contribution to the development of human civilisation," added Cheng Guoping.
The cultural event brought together over 300 guests. It was attended by the leadership of the city of Bukhara, the Uzbek Centre of the SCO People's Diplomacy, Uzbekistan's officials, ambassadors of the SCO member states, observer states and dialogue partners, high-ranking diplomats accredited to the CPR, representatives of Chinese ministries and departments, NGOs, business and scientific communities, and the media.
A concert of traditional music was one of high points of the day, which gave people an opportunity to listen to harmonious Uzbek melodies. The programme was presented by the Bukhoro Mavzhlari ensemble led by Rauf Avezov. It performed such songs and dances as Tanovor, Fargona Ruboisi, Bukhoro Zardustlari, Bukhorocha Zarb, Viloyatlar Guldastasi, Khorazm Lazghisi, Chorzarb.
Of great interest was the photo exhibition displayed in a special hall, which presented Uzbekistan's unique natural beauty, rich archeological legacy, tourist atractions and national traditions.
Participants and guests also enjoyed brilliant samples of applied art manufactured by Uzbek masters of metal chasing, miniatures, pottery, gold thread embroidery, as well as a display of the Eight SCO Wonders project, which has become a significant platform in setting up a single tourist space of the SCO member-states.
The beauty of traditional Uzbek garments was presented by models in the course of a specially prepared ethnic fashion show.
The Day of Culture also gave guests a unique opportunity to sample elaborate Uzbek food.