Messages from the depth of centuries: Uzbekistan’s architectural epigraphy

On October 17, 2016 Regional Dialogue representatives Mjusa Sever, Petra Gorjup and Bekhzod Sharipov were invited to the presentation of the project “Arhitectural Epigraphy of Uzbekistan” aimed at the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence and 10th anniversary of Uzbekistan Today News Agency, organized by Uzbekistan Today News Agency, the UNESCO Office in Uzbekistan and the National Association of Electronic Mass Media of Uzbekistan. The event was also attended by members of the Uzbek scientific community, representatives of governmental and public organizations as well as international organizations, diplomatic missions and media outlets.

The round table began with the congratulatory words on anniversary of Uzbekistan Today (UT) foundation. Dilbar Babadjanova, chief editor of UT, delivered her welcoming speech.

The event was moderated by Akmal Saidov, Chairman of the Commission for preparation of regulations for the reformation of the informational sector, ensuring of freedom of speech and information. A summary of the project, presented by the scientists and faculty members of several institutions of Uzbekistan was presented.

The organizers of the event presented 12 recently published books in Russian, Uzbek and English, dedicated to epigraphic inscriptions on architectural monuments of all regions of Uzbekistan.

As it was said during the event, epigraphy is the most significant and spectacular part of the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan and entire Muslim civilization. Uzbekistan is one of the world leaders in terms of the amount of architectural epigraphy. However, due to some circumstances, these inscriptions have not been studied and published until recently. The research covered inscriptions on more than 1500 epigraphic landmarks, including poems, edifications, calligraphers, religious issues, historical dates, edicts of the rulers. As mentioned by Firdavs Abdukhalikov, an Honored journalist of Uzbekistan, head of the project and Chairman of NAESMI, this was the first project supported by the Government and First President Islam Karimov, that no other country in the Muslim world had done before.

For many years, experts and scholars have struggled to decipher inscriptions, and scientific debates about the correctness of the reading of these monograms are continuing to this day. However, according to the experts, only 10% of them have been done so far.

Positive reviews and high evaluations of world-famous scholars bear testimony to the cultural and scientific importance of this major project. Pilot editions of the books presented in the event won several awards at prestigious international book fairs in 2014 and 2016. The series of books will be continued. 25 volumes are expected to be published in the next years.

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