As the Leader of Turkmenistan highlights, the culture is an endless source of power which promotes the formation of national peculiarities of every nation and serves as a spiritual bridge for unity.
The Ministry of Culture is functioning in Turkmenistan, the activities of which are aimed at the accomplishment of the tasks in accordance with the State Programme for the Development of Cultural Sphere of Turkmenistan with a conceptual meaning of establishing 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 the State is implemented through the organization of educational and promotional activities, various events, including those at the international level.
Consistent work is undertaken to widen the range and improve the quality of cultural services, increase their exposure to population, renew the repertoires of art groups, as well as the 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. The 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 region, there are major regional libraries and several libraries under the Ministry of Culture.
The tasks on improving and modernizing the library system, linking them with other aspects of country's life were determined by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov during his visit to the main building of the State Library of Turkmenistan on November 7, 2018 when one of the departments of the State Museum were transferred to it and where the book exhibition center is now located.
The Head of State focused on the establishment of electronic and internet services in libraries, further digitalization of the library activities and, in this regard, the provision of methodological assistance and scientific advices to libraries in the regions.
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.
Speaking about the effective development of cooperation between Turkmenistan and UNESCO, it is important to note that the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was ratified by Turkmenistan on September 30, 1994, is a fundamental document in the cooperation of our country with UNESCO. Within the framework of this document, work on including the cultural and historical sites of our country that have global significance and value in the UNESCO World Heritage List has been done. These include the state historical and cultural reserves "Ancient Merv," "Kunya-Urgench" and "Nissa." The first object was listed in 1999, the second in 2005 and the third in 2007.
Another promising area of cooperation with UNESCO is the sphere of the spiritual heritage of the Turkmen people. In this regard, the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, ratified by Turkmenistan in 2011, is a working tool. In the framework of this convention, in 2015 the epic art of the Turkmen people “Gorogly” was included to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, in 2017 - the Turkmen national rite of singing and dancing Kushtdepdi, and in 2019 - the Turkmen traditional art of carpet making.
The year 2019, which was held under the slogan “Turkmenistan – Home of Prosperity,” was marked by large-scale events in the field of culture, highlighting the priority of the humanitarian component of the national development strategy.
Opening ceremony of 2019 events was held in the Mukams Palace of the State Cultural Centre with participation of the members of the Government, heads of ministries and departments, high educational institutes, art masters and cultural personnel, representatives of public organizations and mass media on January 9. Similar events were held in all the regional centres as well.
In February, the Head of Turkmenistan met with the representatives of social-political organizations and the cultural sector, during which the President proposed to perpetuate the names of some prominent characters of Turkmen art and literature.
The events of March were determined by events in honor of the legend of the national opera, National Artist of the USSR, Hero of Turkmenistan Maya Kuliyeva - by initiative of the President of Turkmenistan and in accordance with the Resolution of Mejlis, national conservatory was named after this singer, and on November 1, a museum dedicated to her life and work was opened.
The events of the past year reflected the enormous creative potential of national culture. Various creative events - thematic conferences, meetings, art and book exhibitions, competitions, concerts, theater premieres and creative meetings provided by the Programme of Development of the Cultural Sphere of Turkmenistan in 2019-2025, marked significant dates and holidays in the country.
On March 12, the Conference “Museum Values and Cultural Relations” was held at the State Museum of the State Cultural Center. During the meeting, the subject of protection of national heritage and its popularization, as well as the archaeological exhibition “Margiana - the Kingdom of the Bronze Age in Turkmenistan” organized by the Federal Republic of Germany, which was held from April 25, 2018 to June 13, 2019 at the New Museum of Berlin, Hamburg Archaeological Museum, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museum Mannheim was discussed.
Rich and original character of traditions of our people and modern art were reflected in the events of the International Nowruz Day – National Spring Holiday, which is observed on March 21.
The concerts, literature and music performance, scientific and practical conferences, contests, exhibitions, circus performances, theatre plays and other events have been organized on the occasion of the National Turkmen Horse Holiday on April 24 – 28. Guests from numerous countries have come to Turkmenistan for participation in these events.
The XIV Forum of Cultural and Scientific Intelligentsia of the CIS countries in Ashgabat held on May 14 – 17 under the chairmanship of Turkmenistan in the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2019 was another evidence of the important role of cultural diplomacy in strengthening of friendly relations and fruitful cooperation. The success of the event was highly appraised by the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation of the CIS Member States (IFES).
On October 12, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was awarded with the IFES Medal for the Merits in Development of Humanitarian Cooperation.
Numerous events of last year were dedicated to the Day of the Workers of Art and Culture and the Day of Makhtumkuli Fragi Poetry which is celebrated on June 27. Traditionally, the Week of Culture, which was held in Makhtumkuli province of the Balkan region was timed to this day.
The Gala concert of national and foreign art masters, which has become a bright final of the First Caspian Economic Forum, was held in Avaza National Tourist Zone on August 13.
Final tour and gala concert of the «Ýaňlan, Diýarym!» TV contest of young singers were held in the last decade of August in the capital Mukams Palace of the State Cultural Centre. This art review is organized annually in the country in the framework of «Türkmeniň Altyn asyry» contest initiated by the President of Turkmenistan. It unites popular singers and young artists.
In September, the final round of the talented children contest “Garaşsyzlygyň merjen däneleri” took place. Also, the objectives of popularization of historical heritage, in particular the role of mass media in this area, were reviewed at the Conference held in the capital of the Museum of Visual Arts.
The results of annual art contest of the President of Turkmenistan «Türkmeniň Altyn asyry» have been summed up, award ceremony of the winners, as well as the concert took place in the “Mukams” Palace on September 7.
On the 27th of September, the 28th anniversary of the country's independence was widely celebrated. According to the tradition, the festive events and horse races at the International Equestrian Complex have been timed to this date.
The new book of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov «Türkmen alabaýy» was a celebration present to the compatriots. The work of the Head of the State «Türkmen alabaýy» has also been presented in Ashgabat on 5-6 November at the XIII International Book Fair and Exhibition and Scientific Conference “Book – the Way to Cooperation and Progress.”
The III International Theatre Festival “Theatre Art of the Epoch of Happiness” was one of the major cultural events held in the country in 2019. On November 19-23, the bright art works of 14 creative teams from 12 world countries, including puppet shows, shadow theatre, musical, drama plays, opera, comedy, experimental stage plays were demonstrated at the stages of leading theatres of the Turkmen capital.
The “Glorious Margiana” exhibition took place in the State Oriental Museum in Russia for the first time. The event has been timed to the 90th birth anniversary of outstanding archaeologist, Honoured Academic of Turkmenistan Victor Sarianidi (1929 – 2013).
Another exhibition, which was organized in Russia, has been timed to the International Neutrality Day. The Exposition “Turkmenistan – Oasis of Inspiration” in the House of Nationalities of Saint Petersburg has demonstrated paintings, decorative and applied art items, books about cultural heritage and traditions of Turkmen nation and important events of the latest history of Turkmenistan.
Traditionally, the final round of young singers’ contest “Star of the Year 2019” was held on the eve of the New Year, in the capital.
Inclusion of traditions of Turkmen carpet art into the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage was a remarkable event of the year. This decision was made on December 12, during the XIV session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the UN Education, Science and Culture Organization in Bogota, the capital of the Republic of Columbia.
At the end of 2019, the Head of the State met with the members of “Galkynysh” National Equestrian Games group - a winner of numerous international reviews and world circus art festivals, who once again distinguished themselves, having proven their high skills at the tour to Changchun and Manama last year.
The content of international partnership in the cultural and humanitarian sphere also developed. The tour of American jazz quartet of Ari Roland, performance of prize winners of international contests, Professor, Honoured Artist of Russia, pianist Yuri Bogdanov, Romanian trio “Zemphiresku”, vocalists Adrian Noir, “Berlioz – 150 years of memory” Programme, Turkmen – Turkish concert of opera masters, as well as traditional Korean Week were organized.
The Days of Culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Days of Culture of Armenia in Turkmenistan were organized. The Days of Russian Movies took place in Ashgabat and Balkan Region. In the cinemas of the Turkmen capital and the city of Mary, the screenings of art, documentary and animated films took place within the framework of the III Festival of Japanese films.
The fourth Vienna Ball, which was timed to the celebration of the anniversary of Turkmen – Austrian Symphonic Orchestra “Galkynysh” contributed to the expansion of relations in the cultural sphere.
The Days of Turkmen Culture in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Turkey, Tatarstan (Russian Federation) and the Republic of Belarus (in Minsk and Mogilev) supported the popularization of spiritual heritage of the nation, success and achievements of the country.
The personnel of the national cultural sphere took part in various events in Germany, Austria, Japan, UAE, Switzerland, Iran, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, the Republic of Korea, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tatarstan, Armenia, Bangladesh and others.
A significant event was the participation of the art masters of our country in “Sabantuy” festival, held in Kazan.
Thus, the events of the cultural life of 2019, forming a single whole, reflected the achievements and dynamics of the progressive development of our country, supported to wide popularization of historical and cultural heritage and traditions of Turkmen people, which entered the new, 2020 year under the slogan “Turkmenistan – Home of Neutrality.”