ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: This weekend saw a three-day celebration of Saudi Arabian culture take place in Turkmenistan.
Saudi “Cultural Days” opened to visitors on Friday and concluded Sunday. On Thursday night, an official opening ceremony took place at Al-Maqam Palace.
The event included a number of exhibitions, displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat.
The pavilion of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research took visitors on a virtual-reality journey through the Two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Madinah and the holy sites, highlighting their expansion and development. It also featured photos and models of projects dating back to the founding of Saudi Arabia, in addition to a number of research papers produced by the institute.
Elsewhere, a pavilion of traditional Saudi costumes displayed dresses from several regions of the Kingdome, which visitors could try on for themselves, and the Darah Foundation provided a history of Saudi-Turkmen relations, with a particular focus on cultural ties, and exhibited artworks that reflected society and the environment in the Kingdom.
A pavilion dedicated to the Zamzam Project explained the evolution of the methods of extracting water from the historic well and distributing it to the Two Holy Mosques.
The College of Agriculture at Qassim University hosted a palm and date exhibition at its pavilion, and there were also pavilions dedicated to Arabic calligraphy; hospitality; the art of henna; and traditional folk dances and music.
On Saturday, the Saudi delegation for “Cultural Days” — which included Saudi Ambassador to Turkmenistan Khalid bin Faisal Al-Sahli, and the Ministry of Media’s general supervisor for international cultural relations, Omar bin Mohammed Al-Aqeel — visited Magtymguly State University in Ashgabat.
During the visit, Dr. Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al-Muzaini and Dr. Hamoud bin Mohammed Al-Najidi of the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University delivered a lecture titled “The importance of the Silk Road, and historical and cultural relations between Turkmenistan and the Arabian Peninsula.”
Al-Muzaini described Turkmenistan as “the jewel of Asia Minor and the essence of history and civilization,” noting that the country is home to historical and archaeological sites dating back to the early Islamic era.
He explained that trading routes traditionally passed through Turkmenistan on their way to the Arabian Peninsula and other parts of the Islamic world.
Al-Muzaini proposed establishing a center to document relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan.
Al-Najidi highlighted the cultural ties between the two countries, focusing on the Arab presence in Turkmenistan as well as scientific, economic, and trade ties between the Kingdom and Turkmenistan, in addition to Hajj routes between the two countries.
He also discussed the Turkmen presence in Saudi Arabia through the Khurasan Road, emphasizing the developments and changes the road has gone through.
Ambassador Al-Sahli said in a press statement: “We aspire to assist those who promote and support Arabic language departments in Turkmen universities, and I look forward to agreements that support teaching Arabic in Turkmen universities through the employment of Saudi specialists.”
The dean of the College of Foreign Languages at the university, Dr. Awraz Qaldi Awad Saad, emphasized his country’s desire to include Arabic in its educational curricula, and to teach Turkmen heritage in foreign languages, including Arabic.