October 27, 2016
On October 17, 2016, Uzbekistan Today News Agency, the UNESCO Office in Uzbekistan and the National Association of Electronic Mass Media of Uzbekistan hosted a presentation of the project ‘The Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’. The event was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence and the 10th anniversary of Uzbekistan Today News Agency.

The presentation was attended by members of Uzbekistan’s scientific community, representatives of governmental and public organizations as well as international organizations, diplomatic missions and media outlets.

The event kicked off with congratulations on the 10th anniversary of Uzbekistan Today News Agency and those gathered were shown a video about the news agency’s activities.

The presentation summarized the first results of the project and included film demonstration and speeches by leading scholars, who have contributed to the project, as well as representatives of the international public.

‘The Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’ is the only project of its kind that has seen the government explore, collate and sum up all the architectural epigraphy found in the country, something that no country in the Muslim world has done before. It is noteworthy that this work became possible thanks to the advent of Uzbekistan’s independence, which reinstated the monuments’ worthy place in history.

The publication of the series of albums marks the end of the first phase of the project which will be continued. The albums highlight the epigraphy of Karakalpakstan, Andijan, Namangan, Fergana, Samarkand, Navoi, Khiva, Surkhandarya, Kashkadarya, Bukhara and Tashkent city.

The ancient monuments of Uzbekistan, especially the architectural ones, have lived through hard times. Due to various circumstances and events they have often been destroyed or obscured, and individual samples were buried in the ground with a single purpose to save them. Not only history was destroyed, but also the very age-old memories and the ancient culture, of which epigraphy is an inalienable part. The meaning of many inscriptions still remains a mystery not only for residents of Uzbekistan and its visitors, but also for professionals. Independence had given back those monuments their deserved place in the history of the country and the region, and emphasized our forefathers’ contribution to the treasury of global civilization. It is thanks to Uzbekistan’s acquisition of its sovereignty and special attention paid to its cultural heritage that had created an opportunity for emergence of decent presentation of those monuments in the books and albums.

Time has passed down a fascinating treasure trove of medieval architecture that captivates millions of people worldwide. The sophisticated décor is complemented by remarkable calligraphic inscriptions. Many people have wondered what these writings say and what kind of wisdom our forefathers perpetuated through them. Today, an opportunity has arisen to unravel these mysteries. Today, an opportunity has arisen to unravel these mysteries thanks to the efforts of Uzbekistani scholars.

Epigraphy is the most significant and spectacular part of the cultural heritage of not only Uzbekistan and the Muslim world, but also the entire global civilization. Moreover, Uzbekistan is one of the world leaders in terms of the amount of architectural epigraphy. However, due to certain circumstances, these inscriptions have not been studied and published until recently. According to our estimates, only 10% of inscriptions on monuments of Amir Temur’s era have been explored, read and partially published. Consequently, the most remarkable and significant pages of our cultural legacy remained out of the reach of science as well as our nation and visitors to our country.

The research has helped to read and translate inscriptions on more than 1,500 epigraphic landmarks (most of them for the first-ever time), which include over 200 poems, edifications, maxims, names of over 100 masters and calligraphers, 300 religious and 150 dedicatory inscriptions, 150 chronograms, 100 historical dates and around 100 edicts by rulers of the days gone by.

For many years, experts and scholars have struggled to decipher the inscriptions, and scientific debate about the correctness of the reading of the centuries-old monograms and other texts made by talented craftsmen continues even today. However, as it has been stated above, a complete deciphering of epigraphy monuments located in the ancient Uzbek land, and a publication thereof, has still not been made. The publication of ‘The Architectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan’ series is the first full-scale project of its kind that encapsulates architectural epigraphy in Uzbekistan.

The series of books represent the first phase of the project which will be continued. The next series will encompass the remaining unexplored epigraphic inscriptions across Uzbekistan. All told, 25 volumes are expected to be published.

(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)


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