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Opening ceremony of "Nakhchivan - Capital of Islamic Culture 2018"

Nakhchivan State Musical Drama Theater hosted the opening ceremony of "Nakhchivan - Capital of Islamic Culture 2018" on June 20.

Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan Abulfas Garayev, Minister of Culture of Algeria Azzadin Mihobi, Minister of Culture, Sports and Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Guinea Sanosi Bantama Sou, Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia Muhajir Afandi, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan Shamsaddin Shodibek, Minister of Culture of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyar Seyfullayev, Secretary General of the International Organization of Turkic Culture Dusen Kaseinov, President of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Akif Alizadeh and other guests visited the monument of our national leader Heydar Aliyev and laid flowers at the statue of the great leader.

Then the participants of the event visited the Heydar Aliyev Museum and viewed exhibits related to the life, political and statehood activity of this great person.

Before the event,  "My Nakhchivan" photo-exhibition of photographer Huseyn Baghirov  was viewed at the foyer of the theater. Photographs reflecting all the beauty, unique nature and modern development of Nakhchivan were met with interest.

Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov presented Hachadag's photo to Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, General Director of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and Batabat's photo to Dusen Kaseinov, Secretary General of the International Organization of Turkic Culture.

The event started with the recitation of the Koran.

Then the film "Nakhchivan - Capital of Islamic Culture" by Nakhchivan State Television was watched.

Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Chairman of the Organizing Committee established due to the declaration of Nakhchivan city as the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2018 Vasif Talibov welcomed the participants of the event, saying that these were significant historical days in the Nakhchivan city, the capital of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan and said: Nakhchivan city was declared the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2018 at the sixth conference of ministers of culture held in Baku in October 2009.

The Chairman of the Supreme Majlis thanked the guests for involving in the opening ceremony of the city of Nakhchivan as the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2018 and noted that national leader Heydar Aliyev, who paid special attention to cooperation with Islamic countries, said: "Islam is based on peace, brotherhood and cooperation ... This has been the case in Azerbaijan throughout history". The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev also pays special attention to the preservation of our religious and moral values ​​and presents the model of state-religion relations regulation to the world. Religious tolerance and multicultural values existing in our country ​​are taken as examples.

In such circumstances, the adoption of the decision of Nakhchivan's declaration as the Capital of Islamic Culture is a historic event. As the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev noted, "This decision is a manifestation of the high value of the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of this ancient land of Azerbaijan, which makes a significant contribution to the dialogue among civilizations. Nakhchivan has played a significant role in maintaining and preserving the centuries-old achievements of Islamic culture throughout its history, as one of the most magnificent cities in the Middle East".

The Chairman of the Supreme Majlis said: Nakhchivan, a city of five thousand years' history, has historically been one of the centers of monotheism. The Azeri Turks living here before the Islam were close to Islamic religion in terms of religious beliefs, traditions and moral values. Therefore, the local people accepted Islam in 653 voluntarily. Islam is a religion of science, culture, peace and mercy; moral purity and justice. Islamic education, science and culture play a major role in forming and developing of world civilization. Thanks to this, a rich historical and cultural heritage has also been formed in the ancient Nakhchivan city. Momuna Khatun, Gulustan, Garabagh tombs, ice houses and bath-houses, ancient mosques and other monuments are unique examples of numerous Turkic-Islamic culture created in this land. All this shows that Islamic culture has spread in the place of strong statehood, peace and tranquility and had great creative power. Turkic-Islamic culture in Nakhchivan mostly developed in the twelfth century - at the time of Azerbaijan Atabegs. The art of architect Ajami Abubakr oghlu Nakhchivani laid the foundations of a new school not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the Middle East and Islamic architecture.

It was noted that Nakhchivan had already become one of the main centers of Islamic culture in the Middle Ages. Nakhchivan's name was noted in "Map of World Islamic History" compiled in the fifteenth century: "Nakhchivan is one of the main supports of Islam... Nakhchivan settlement is a miracle for Azerbaijan with its closeness to God". In the eighteenth century, during the Nakhchivan khanate, Islamic values ​​existed in this land, and the historical and cultural heritage continued and developed. After the independence of Azerbaijan, the new approach to Islamic values ​​in  Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic - the basis of scientific views was formed, the monuments of Turkic-Islamic culture were studied and Nakhchivan once again became the main development center of Islamic culture.

The Chairman of the Supreme Majlis once again expressed his gratitude to the guests for their participation and declared open the events of the "Nakhchivan-Capital of Islamic Culture 2018".

This program, carried out by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is carried out within the framework of co-ordination of the member states and demonstrates the most important cultural projects, civilization and commitment of human values to Islam.   Selection of these capitals is carried out within religious philosophy. There exist concrete special country criterions here. The selected capital should have a rich history, from cultural point of view, and at the same time to contribute to Islamic culture and human values. Today, we see mankind facing individual challenges. Therefore, some cultural and humanitarian programs are being implemented.   This program tries to return historical past to people throughout the religion. That is the attempt to connect the past and the current period to each other. Thus, the goal here is to contribute to the creative, scientific and other fields by means of special mechanisms in society.  ISESCO contributes to this work through global peace, harmony, intellectual creativity, and science and research.  The implemented programs are different and varied.   Various events will be held within the framework of ISESCO's programs during the year, fighting against extremism and Islamophobia. 

This is my first to Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. When I discover Nakhchivan, I come to such conclusion that it is paradise.   Nakhchivan, a part of Islamic history, contributes to the promotion of Islam as it is. We are very pleased to be in this beautiful land of Azerbaijan. From here, we want to say to the whole world that it is unacceptable to identify Islam with terrorism. We take advantage of the fact that through knowledgeable, capable and constructive approach we will show people the true face and beauty of Islam.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Culture, the deputy chairman of Organizing Committee established due to the election of Nakhchivan the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2018 Abulfas Garayev said: “Today we are here to celebrate the historical event- selection of Nakhchivan the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2018. Nakhchivan is the holiest land of this geography and its culture, history shows that it is one of the ancient   cradles of the civilization of the Azerbaijani people. Nakhchivan as one of the magnificent cities of the Near and Middle East, played an unique role throughout its history to preserve centuries old achievements of Islamic culture. The existence of more than 1,000 historical monuments in this land and about 60 monuments in them is of global significance, in fact, an indicator of the ancient history of Nakhchivan. 

The special peculiarity of “Ashabi-Kahf Sanctuary” Religious-Cultural Monument, Gamigaya pictographies, Nakhchivangala, the tomb of Noah, tombs of Garabaghlar, Yusif Kuseyiroglu, Momuna khatin, Alinjagala and other monuments is that these heritage samples are related to holy values from the point of view either material-cultural or religion beliefs. Just these factors made grounding to adopt the decision to declare Nakhchivan as the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2018 at the VI conference of the culture ministers of member countries of Islamic Cooperation Organization held in Baku which was the capital of Islamic Culture in 2009. The very decision is the manifestation of high evaluation to the rich cultural-spiritual heritage of this ancient land of Azerbaijan. Taking the opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of all culture community to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev for his wise decision, Mr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri,who has shown great support for this initiative. The Organizing Committee has been established by the decision of the President of country. Important measures have been carried out by the Organizing Committee under the leadership of the Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov.

Nakhchivan is famous for its historical-cultural monuments, as well as its modern development, wise and intellectual people. But this land is native and dear to the people of Azerbaijan, great Islamic world not only for its monuments but also as Homeland of national leader of our people Heydar Aliyev.

Of course, we should emphasize the role of the Islamic Science, Education and Culture Organization in speaking of Islamic culture and history.  Azerbaijan is the member of ISESCO since 1991. These relations, which were established in 1991, embarked on a successful development stage by the wise policy of Mr. President, selection of First Vice President of our country, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva as Goodwill Ambassador of ISESCO on 24 November 2006. With the support of ISESCO, in the last 10 years, the Ministerial Conference on Culture, Education, Family and Women Affairs of the Islamic countries, the ISESCO’s General Conference and Executive Council, as well as the Baku Process and World Cultural Dialogue Forum initiated by Mr. President, Islamic Solidarity Games have been held. Also, over the past three years, our country has been chairing the ISESCO’s General Conference.

These factors have contributed to the signing of a special decree on the establishment of the National Conference on the ISESCO by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2016 and the close relationship with the Islamic world and the declaration of the year 2017 as the “Year of Islamic Solidarity”. These factors prove once again that Azerbaijan has been one of the main centers of Islamic civilization throughout centuries. It played an important role in spreading Islam religion and as well as establishing Muslim Renaissance. All these have created a grounding to form material and non-material heritage of Islam religion in the territory of Azerbaijan from the beginning of this religion. If there were only 17 mosques in Azerbaijan in the soviet era, when sharp prohibitions existed for the religion, now there are more than 2000 mosques in Azerbaijan. More than 300 of them are protected as historical-cultural monuments. There is not any religious and cultural conflict among Muslim Shiahs and Sunnites in Nakhchivan and other regions of Azerbaijan and this is an example living together for the whole world. The centuries old tolerant environment in this field in Nakhchivan defines the special place of it among the capitals of Islamic culture. We express our gratitude to the Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov.

At the end, the Nakhchivan State Philarmonic gave a concert. The opening event of “Nakhchivan the Capital of Islamic Culture-2018” broadcasted live on imp.nakhchivan.az site, the official website of “Nakhchivan the Capital of Islamic Culture-2018”, on Nakhchivan State Television and “Nuhchikhan” Information Agency.

* * *

On the day, an official dinner was organized in honor of the guests who came to Nakhchivan to attend the opening ceremony of "Nakhchivan the Capital of Islamic Culture - 2018" on behalf of the Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic at the "Araz" State Reception House.

Press Service of the Supreme Majlis of

Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic

“Sharg gapisi” newspaper, 21.06. 2018.

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Date: 20-09-2018
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