This was the title of an international academic and theoretical conference held on October 19-20, 2006 in Tashkent at the International Caravan-Sarai of Culture of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan.
The conference was organized by the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, “Forum for Culture and Art of Uzbekistan” Foundation, UNESCO office in Uzbekistan, the Ministry for Culture and Sports of the republic and the International Caravan-Sarai of Culture of the AAU. The project was implemented by “Khalqaro Madaniyat Komaklari” organization.
The Great Silk Road is one of the most remarkable achievements of the global civilization, a transcontinental path that for the first time in history connected East and West. The beginning of its functioning dates back to the second half of the 2nd century B.C. The name “Silk Road” was first introduced into academic use by German scholar Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen in 1877. The Great Silk Road not only became the way of transporting silk and exporting goods, but also facilitated exchange and interaction of spiritual values, religious ideas, artistic cultures and traditions.
In the 21st century the rehabilitation of the Great Silk Road becomes the topic of broad public discussion: meetings and negotiations are held at government level and official documents are endorsed; conferences and symposia are held and attended by politicians, economists, scholars and journalists; exhibitions dedicated to the Great Silk Road are organized. Some Oriental countries (India, China, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka and Japan) created specialized academic institutions studying the Great Silk Road; among them is the Ikuo Hiroyama Institute in Kamakura (Japan). Similar kind of institution has been founded in Uzbekistan – in Samarqand, and also in Tashkent there is the International Caravan-Sarai of Culture of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan.
The objective of the “The Great Silk Road: Culture and Traditions, Past and Present” conference was to contribute to the studies of the Great Silk Road phenomenon, to facilitate more active international academic links and the integration of Uzbekistan scientists into global research processes, and to introduce scholars from abroad to the country’s historical and cultural heritage.
The conference was attended by historians, culture students, art historians, archaeologists, political scientists, restorers and architects. In the course of preparation, the conference organizational committee received over fifty participation requests. During the two-day event, 32 presentations were made by scholars from Italy, France, Croatia, Romania, Turkey, Japan, Australia, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Among the interesting scientific reports one could mention presentations by Edvard Rtveladze (Uzbekistan), Fiona Kidd (Australia), Laura Urazbekova (Kazakhstan), Anca Nicolaescu (Romania), Konstantinos Politis (Greece), Tygran Mkrtychev and Natalia Kovaleva (Russian Federation), Pierre Leriche (France), Nargiz Khojaeva (Tajikistan), Roman Jagik (Croatia) and others. The presentation addressed various aspects of an extensive academic problem such as the Great Silk Road. These aspects include: study and periodization; research into its local manifestations and centres; the problems of East and West; cultural dialogue between various countries and the synthesis of artistic traditions; religious and social aspects of societal development during antiquity and medieval period; the Great Silk Road as an impetus for development and integration of contemporary art; the issues of preserving the Great Silk Road heritage; etc.
Based on materials presented at the conference it is planned to publish an extended collection of scientific reports on the subject.