The Head of the State highlights the role of culture in wide coverage and artistic approach to progressive changes in the country and their support.

In Turkmenistan there is a Ministry of Culture, whose activities are aimed at the accomplishment of tasks in accordance with the State Programme for the development of cultural sphere in Turkmenistan, which has a conceptual meaning for the formation of favourable cultural environment, which, in turn, will help to realize the cultural and spiritual potential of every individual, people and the country as a whole.

The cultural policy of a State is implemented through the organization of educational and promotion activities, various events, including the ones at the international level.

Consistent work is undertaken to enhance the range and improve the quality of cultural services, improve their coverage by the population, renew the repertoire of creative groups, renovate museum and library funds and coordinate the activities of the cultural institutions. As of today, there are 10 state theatres (6 of them are in the capital), 1 circus, 2 cinema-concert centers and 36 state museums. State libraries: The State Library of Turkmenistan, the State Children's Library named after B.Amanov, Library for the Blind and Deaf (3 branches and 1 point for books delivery), Centralized Library Network of Ashgabat (1 center, 21 branches). Also in each velayat there are major velayat libraries and several libraries under the Ministry of Culture.

In particular, special groups were created to render assistance in organizational matters. These groups are designed to ensure the effective work of these institutions and raise professional level of the personnel. This is particularly relevant on the regional level. These groups visit regions and analyze the work in the cultural sphere. They arrange seminars, give consultations and provide assistance.

Under the Ministry of Culture there are 3 higher educational institutions, 8 secondary specialized educational institutions, 1 specialized music boarding school, 12 art schools and 80 children's art schools.

The events of 2017 reflected huge creative potential of national culture. Topical conferences, arts and book exhibitions, concerts, theatre performances, opening ceremonies of new social and cultural facilities marked important dates and national holidays.

It is worth mentioning that the subject of international partnership in cultural and humanitarian field received its development during the event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and a number of foreign countries. Thus, Magtumguly Turkmen National Music and Drama Theatre hosted joint art activities like the concert of Turkmen and Chinese art masters, the State Symphonic Orchestra of our country and musicians of “American Voices” organization, bakhshys, Miras band from Turkmen State Institute of Culture and Korean dance band of Gugaka National Centre as well as the performance of famous French duet “Arar”.

Iran Cultural Week held in Ashgabat in February 2017 was aimed at the expansion of humanitarian cooperation. The State Museum of Visual Arts presented the works of Mexican photographer in the last decade of March 2017.

The Days of Turkmenistan Culture in Qatar timed to the state visit of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to this country were another evidence of important role of cultural diplomacy in improvement of interstate relations. Concerts of national stage masters, exhibition of decorative and applied arts and museum values and printing media were held in Doha on March 10 – 14.

The Days of Culture of the State of Palestine were held for the first time in the capital in May 2017. Concert of Turkmen popular singers was organized in the PRC on occasion of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and the China in May by the Embassy of our country. There was the photo exhibition from the Country of the Rising Sun held in the Museum of Visual Arts and dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Turkmen – Japanese diplomatic relations in rich palette of cultural events in May. The same museum hosted the exhibition “World of Indian Textile” on occasion of the 25 year of Turkmen – Indian diplomatic relations in the second decade of May. Besides the garments, the textile was represented by the tapestries, carpets and tablecloths embroidered with decorative stones and made in different states of friendly country.

Play with the participation of leading Russian artists held in Alp Arslan National Drama Theatre in May as well as the concert of the musicians of Sankt Petersburg Music House in Turkmenistan cinema hall in June among international events on occasion of the 25th anniversary of Turkmen – Russian diplomatic relations.Performance of Turkmen and Italian opera singers in Magtumguly Turkmen Music and Drama Theatre in the first decade of June 2017 marked 25 years of diplomatic relations between two countries. The Days of Tajikistan Culture held with great success in Ashgabat on June 14 – 16 brought new colours to traditional humanitarian relations of Turkmen and Tajik nations.

Days of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan were held in Ashgabat and Dashoguz in November 2017. At the end of that month Days of Romanian Culture dedicated to the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between two countries were held in Turkmen capital. Days of Turkmenistan Culture in Japan were held on November. Cultural palette of November included the concert of French pianists Maxim Zekini and David Bismuth as well as the performance of Indian ensemble “Nepangar Jagruti Kala Kendra” presenting popular folk dances of Central India. Days of Culture of Turkish Republic were held in Ashgabat in December.

Subject of international cooperation in cultural and humanitarian sphere was reflected in concert programmes dedicated to Ashgabat 2017 Games and organized by the Ministry of Culture with diplomatic missions of number of states accredited in our country.

Number of actions held in foreign countries in December 2017 with the participation of artistic intelligentsia of Turkmenistan was aimed at the popularization of national culture. In this regard, we would like to note the exhibition of national painters organized by the Museum of Visual Arts under cultural programme of III International Book Vernissage in Jeddah (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) in December 12-22. Turkmen folk and modern music was presented in the Republic of Korea in December 2017. Concerts with the participation of singers and folk bands of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea were held under creative cycle “History of national music of Korea and Central Asia”.

The President of Turkmenistan directed national science and cultural sphere to further expansion of international cooperation as humanitarian channel of diplomacy. In this aspect, the participation of the delegation of our country in XII Forum of Artistic and Scientific personnel of the CIS members held in Russian capital in the second half of December 2017 is very indicative. The main subject of the meeting was the “Role of humanitarian cooperation in consolidation and support of family values and traditions in the CIS”.

Honouring of foreign representatives of cultural sphere is vivid confirmation of the openness of our state and national culture as well as actively developing international dialog in this sphere. Thus, in 2017, Honorary title of People’s Artist of Turkmenistan was conferred to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Azerbaijan Republic to the Russian Federation Polad Bulbul Ogly for special merits in consolidation of brotherhood, friendship and cooperation between people of our country and Azerbaijan, for improvement of the relation in humanitarian sphere, for talent and success in the development of song and music art.

The Day of Turkmen Horse was observed traditionally extensively in the capital and the regions. Award ceremonies of the prize winners of international competition “The Best Horse of the Year” and artistic contest among the painters and sculptors, carpet makers and jewellers, photographers and videographers, designers for the best imaging of ahalteke horse were held under the events. Actualization of the subjects of protection of the phenomenon of this breed as an occurrence of national and world heritage is remarkable especially the initiative of the Head of the State on application to the UNESCO for inclusion of ahalteke horses to the World Heritage List.

In April 2017, a series of presentations of the books by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on Akhalteke horses was held in Astana, timed to coincide with the state visit of the Turkmen leader to the Republic of Kazakhstan. The readers were presented with books "Akhalteke - our pride and glory", "Flight of heavenly horses" and "Swift Pace of a Horse", published in the Kazakh language and transferred to the library funds of the regions of a friendly country, as well as to educational institutions.

Restoration works of the tiling of the dome of Il-Arslan Masouleum – medieval architectural construction, which is included to the list of historical and cultural monuments of Turkmenistan and the UNESCO World Heritage List, started in March 2017 are worth to be mentioned under the subject of protection of the heritage.

With regards to protection of old monuments on the territory of the country, we would like to mention the event held in the State Museum of Visual Arts, which is the completion ceremony of another project of Turkmen restorers supported by the Fund of USA Ambassador on Protection of Cultural Heritage. Restoration works and classification of unique mosaic panels discovered several years ago during the excavation of Bronze Age monument Gonur-depe were completed last year. The exhibits from Gonur-depe were presented to the public at the exhibition in the Museum.

In terms of the multidimensional work carried out in Turkmenistan to study, protect and popularize the national heritage, the adoption of the new Law of Turkmenistan "On Libraries and Library Work" in April 2017 is of great importance.

Among the books published in the first quarter of 2017 year - the work of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov (The Bold exalt the Motherland) "Mertler Watany beýgeldýär", dedicated to the Armed Forces of the country.

Presentation of book “Beautiful Epoch of Arkadag” in Turkmen, Russian and English language dedicated to the 60-year anniversary of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was held in Magtumguly Turkmen State University in the last decade of June 2017. The Book covering historical period of 2007-2017 presents journalistic narration of the most important events and significant facts in the country’s life. Works of the Head of the State “Music of Peace, Music of Friendship and Brotherhood” and “Source of Wisdom” were published in Turkish language on occasion of his anniversary.

The Head of the State was the initiator of modern look at the importance of ancient route, having described in his book “Turkmenistan – the Heart of the Great Silk Road” his vision of the phenomenon of this caravan route that connected dozens of states with trade, information and cultural contacts. The presentation of the book took place in the Mukams Palace on October 11. Taking into consideration numerous requests and wishes of the citizens, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed the Resolution, according to which 2018 is held in our country under the slogan “Turkmenistan – the Heart of the Great Silk Road”.

National printing production traditionally took part in international contest of the CIS countries “Art of Book” where all four issues presented by Turkmenistan had won the highest awards. The award ceremony took place in September 2017 during the 30th Moscow International Book Exhibition Fair. Book of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov “Turkmenistan” presented in nomination “My Country” won the first place. He is also the author of “Music of Peace, Music of Friendship and Brotherhood”, which received special diploma of the jury. Joint work of Turkmen linguists – the Dictionary of Turkmen language, won in the Grand Prix nomination. Book “Swift Pace of a Horse” by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov received the prize of honour.

Cultural Week, an annual event timed to professional holiday of culture and art personnel of Turkmenistan held in Ashgabat on June 22-27, was one of the brightest event in social life of the country. Concerts and performances with the participation of leading artists and groups, the State Symphonic Orchestra and bakhshys were held under the forum in different parts of the capital, in cultural centres, State Circus and open stages. The exhibition in the Museum of Visual Arts broadly representing valuable exhibits and samples of decorative and applied art introduced artistic searches of modern masters of painting. National printing production, particularly the books, brochure, booklets, photos dedicated to modern Turkmenistan, national art and recreation capabilities, preparation to Asian Games were demonstrated on exposition grounds of the Art Academy, museums and cultural centres of the capital. Modern Turkmen cinematography was represented by several movies, which leitmotif was the cultural heritage and eternal human values. Poetic readings were held in the "Ylham" square. The best children's groups, young readers, artists and musicians also took an active part in various events of the Culture Week.

On the last day of September 2017, the final round and gala concert of the young singers contests "Yaňlan, Diýarym! -2017" took place. This creative review of the good tradition takes place annually in our country within the framework of the "Türkmeniň Altyn asyry" contest, announced by the President of Turkmenistan, uniting popular musicians, entertainers, and beginning vocalists. In October, talented children performed in the final round of the contest "Garaşsyzlygyň merjen däneleri". As a result of the competition "Türkmeniň Altyn asyry", the ceremony of awarding its winners with well-deserved awards was held.

Subject of the Silk Route restoration in the context of versatile dialog with various states of the world was developed in the event of international importance. In this regard, high-level Turkmen-Russian talks on October 2 are very indicative, during which a solid package of documents was signed. Days of Culture of the Russian Federation held in Turkmen capital on October 2-3 were timed to the official visit of Russian President to Ashgabat.

Subject of study of historical and cultural monuments was highlighted in the context of the state policy on revival of the Silk Route. The State programme of archaeological excavations at the monuments along this ancient route in our country developed by the Academy of Science with National Department of Protection, Study and Restoration of historical and cultural monuments is to support this work. The Programme is designated for 2018-2021.

Important news from the Republic of Korea on inclusion of Turkmen national art of singing and dancing kushtdepdy to the UNESCO Representative List of Non-material Cultural Heritage came in December 2017. This decision was unanimously adopted during the 12th session of Interstate Committee on protection of non-material cultural heritage held in Jeju (the Republic of Korea) on December 7, 2017.

Hence, the events of cultural life of 2017 reproduce wide panorama of the achievements of our country.

Recently, big and efficient experience was gained in this sphere in Turkmenistan and it has to be implemented for study and popularization of the richest spiritual heritage of our nation around the world, the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stated.