Uzbekistan envisions a "new renaissance", drawing inspiration from its rich cultural heritage.
Over a thousand guests from 60 countries gathered for a week-long series of conferences and exhibitions in Tashkent.
“As the country opens up to the world, a community of scientists from various countries has formed, showing a keen interest in exploring Uzbekistan's cultural heritage. The findings from their studies are presented annually during the Cultural Heritage Week” said Firdavs Abdukhalikov, Chairman of the Board, WOSCU.
Uzbekistan, as a crossroads along the "Great Silk Road", has produced a vast collection of artefacts – treasures of applied arts, traditional music and attire, handwritten books and monumental architecture.
Today, this heritage inspires modern Uzbek artists, ranging from avant-garde paintings to cinematography.
"Cultural heritage serves as Uzbekistan's distinct 'brand' on the international stage," says Kamola Akilova, the Director of the Fine Arts Gallery of Uzbekistan. "Our heritage is extensive and diverse, tracing its roots back to ancient times, having encompassed various historical periods, including the Achaemenid and ancient eras, the early Middle Ages, the Islamic period, and the 20th century, which witnessed a fusion of Eastern and Western influences."
Officials are hoping that growing recognition of the country's heritage will lead to an influx of tourists. Last year, more than five million visitors visited Uzbekistan.
Now, it is investing in new travel attractions – another major theme of the Tashkent conferences.
"This will have an impact, this will create a lot of tourist attractions to see. I am confident that if Uzbekistan continues like this on tourism, I am 100% sure — 20 million tourists is not a dream, it can become a reality." Bulut Bağcı, the President of the World Tourism Forum Institute.
Uzbekistan's population has increased by a third over the past 14 years, reaching over 36 million people.
With more children in the country, modernising the education system has become crucial. The conference panels highlighted the need for modern schools and educational programmes that meet international standards.
By adopting this "new renaissance" in culture and education, technological innovation, sustainable economic development, and a favourable business environment: Uzbekistan is ready to share experiences to achieve these goals.