Book Review

“Turkmenistan – the heart of the Great Silk Road”: Dialogue Of Times and Civilizations

Turkmenistan devotes high importance to transport and transit sectors. The country has been developing transit routes in view of its favorable geographical location. In the same context, the new book of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov ‘Turkmenistan is the heart of the Great Silk Road’ was officially launched on the eve of 26th Anniversary of Independence of Turkmenistan. According to the Press Center of the Turkmen State Publishing Service, the book has been published in Turkmen, English and Russian languages which is intended for a wide range of readers.

The book consists of six chapters: 1) Along Jeyhun, 2) Ancient Merv, 3) Between Sarakhs and Anau, 4) From Nisa to Dehistan, 5) On the Ancient Land of Dashoguz and 6) In a Fairy World. This unique survey of the territory of Turkmenistan, from the East to the West, represents the geography of the Great Silk Road, connected with the cities and sign places of Turkmenistan, from ancient times located in the center of trade and cultural routes. Evidence of this are the numerous monuments of different eras and people’s memory, which still preserves amazing legends and tales.

The main idea of the book is the understanding of initiative and creative position of neutral Turkmenistan in international arena through the prism of its history. Multi aspect analysis of civilization phenomenon of the Great Silk Road, which has played great role in development of economic, diplomatic, scientific and cultural connections between the East and the West, stipulates the role of Turkmenistan that has favorable geopolitical location in integration processes of the present.

As noted in the introduction to the new edition, “One of the fundamental roles in the origin and active functioning of the Great Silk Road, each branch of which deserves to be included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO, belongs to the Turkmens. Fate originally intended the Turkmen to build, create, develop, establish friendly relations among peoples, to rally them, to keep peace, to value the dignity of people above all.”

The new book by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has been published in three languages in the context of understanding by wide reading auditory including the foreign one, the meaning of democratic, social and economic changes in the country as well as international initiatives of the Head of the State.

The importance of the new edition is marked by popularization of spiritual, historical and cultural component of the Great Silk Road phenomenon, particularly its Turkmen part where great monuments like Ancient Merv, Kunyaurgench and Parthian strongholds of Nisa, which are registered in the World Heritage List, are located.

Evidence of this are the numerous monuments of different eras and people’s memory, which still preserves amazing legends and tales. The narrative concludes with the chapter “In the Fairy World,” in which President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov notes: “I consider it is our duty to inform about these ancient legends to our coming generations. Thanks to examples from them, our knowledge of the ancestors’ life experiences that created great epochs.”

The books emphasises that the Great Silk Road has played huge role in dialog of two great civilizations of the East and the West. It were not only the goods but also knowledge that have been spread by caravan routes; active exchange of culture, spiritual values, discoveries, practices and craft secrets has also taken place. Economic diplomacy formed back then became an important tool in achievement of understanding, political consensus and progress.

The author highlighted the Great Silk Road as a unique phenomenon in world history, which connected dozens of countries with trade, information and cultural contacts, is considered in the book not only in the context of the history and spiritual values of the Turkmen people, but also the future of this country. The unique material, collected under the cover of the new work, allows the author to tie together history and modernity, gradually opening to the reader his idea, his reflections on the past, present and future of his native people.

The new work objectively assesses the historical path of the Turkmen to get acquainted with their national and cultural identity, traditions, customs and life standards whereby deeply realizing the invaluable contribution of the Turkmen people to world’s scientific, economic and cultural progress.

Page by page, the author reveals the importance of the ancient caravan line in the formation of national and spiritual values. As if traveling along the caravan roads of the Silk Road, the reader along with the narrator slowly goes through the pages of the history and cultural traditions of Turkmen people. This spiritual, lyrical mood is emphasized by magnificent photos and illustrations of works of fine art from the funds of the Union of Artists, the Museum of Fine Arts and the State Academy of Arts of Turkmenistan.

The book allows its readers to consider initiative and constructive position of neutral Turkmenistan in international arena, its endeavor for regional and global integration. It is evident that the name of the book became the slogan of 2018 in Turkmenistan.