By the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev
at the solemn opening ceremony of the International Tourist Center «Great Silk Road» in Samarkand
Dear compatriots, residents of Samarkand!
It gives me a great pleasure to meet you today at the solemn opening ceremony of the International Tourist Center “Great Silk Road”, which defines the face of New Samarkand, which is important to all of us.
Having been built owing to the intellectual potential and selfless labor of our people, this complex has become a remarkable achievement on the way of building the New Uzbekistan.
I congratulate you all on such a modern, magnificent architectural complex erected in the ancient and eternally young Samarkand. May it serve our people for ever and ever!
As it is well - known, Samarkand is a city that is the basis of our national statehood world civilization as a whole. This eternal city played an important role in the formation and development of the two Renaissance in our history.
It is no coincidence that the great Amir Temur chose Samarkand as the capital of the powerful state he founded.
In recent years, continuing the good traditions that have formed on this land, we are carrying out the large-scale work to revive the historical glory of Samarkand to make it even more beautiful and well - maintained, as well as to turn it into a real center of international tourism.
Completing the construction of the Great Silk Road Complex was another important step in this direction.
The structure of such a large multifunctional center, designed to serve up to 2 million tourists a year, includes the Eternal City ensemble, a Congress Hall, 8 modern hotels, an amphitheater and many other facilities.
We have engaged an international team of experienced architects and engineers to carefully develop this project. The prepared project has been repeatedly discussed and improved based on the experience of national architecture and modern urban planning technologies, as well as the climatic conditions.
This wonderful center is a continuation of the architectural traditions founded by our great ancestors.
I am confident that it shall become a symbolic bridge between our glorious history and the Third Renaissance, the foundation of which we are currently forming.
Our creative people, our specialists and engineers with great knowledge and experience, well - educated youth, together with foreign partners, selflessly worked on implementing such a complex, truly unique project.
In this regard, the active participation of highly qualified engineers and technical specialists from Turkey, Great Britain, and Italy in the construction should be particularly noted.
Taking this opportunity, I sincerely welcome the representatives of the diplomatic corps and international organizations at today’s solemn ceremony and express my heartfelt gratitude to them for their great contribution to the development of multifaceted ties with Uzbekistan.
I hope that further strengthening of cooperation with our republic, including the expansion of ties in the tourism, will take an important place in your activities in the country.
There is a deep meaning in the fact that we gave the name «The Great Silk Road» to this beautiful complex.
The transcontinental trade highway, originating in the ancient Chinese city of Xian, passed through the territory of many countries, including through Samarkand, and went all the way to Rome, becoming a means of developing economic, cultural and educational dialogue between the peoples of the world. As it is well - known, ancient Samarkand was one of the main centers on the Great Silk Road.
Taking this into account, the historical paintings of the Great Silk Road era were reflected on the buildings of the complex. Thus, designing the Eternal City ensemble, the plot of the fresco, preserved on the wall of ancient Afrosiab depicting the ceremony of receiving the ambassadors from Korea, China, India and other countries by the Sogdian ruler, was used.
I think that the current ambassadors of these states and foreign tourists will be able to see in this a piece of the history of their homeland.
Today we are striving to revive the historical traditions that developed along the Great Silk Road, which is a symbol of progress, cultural development, friendship and cooperation, to strengthen multifaceted ties with the world community, to attract achievements of modern science, high technologies, investments and new, advanced ideas to our country.
In general, it is fair to say that the Great Silk Road complex shall become another gateway to the past, present and future of Uzbekistan, which our country will open up wide to the whole world.
Dear participants of the ceremony!
The Eternal City architectural ensemble plays a particularly important role in transforming Samarkand into a major center of tourism. I am confident that it will become a kind of hallmark of the city of Samarkand.
The ensemble is indeed a unique project, as if every tourist is transported here to the magical world of legends of ancient architectural monuments.
All 40-handicraft workshops, built in the traditions of ancient architecture and reflecting features of 14 regions of our country, have inimitable look.
The skilled craftsmen will conduct master classes of woodcarving, pottery, silk paper, jewelry and carpet weaving in front of many tourists. In particular, such gems of applied arts as Rishtan ceramics, Bukhara gold embroidery, Karakalpak yurts and Margilan atlas will be presented here.
Stepping on this land as if one would see not only the ancient Samarkand, but also the entire Uzbekistan, feel the greatness and infinite attractiveness of our homeland.
A total of 280 thousand ornamental trees and bushes have been planted, 170 hectares of green areas have been landscaped.
Establishing this center will create the new opportunities for tourism development in our country. In this regard, draw your attention to a single figure. Just 3-4 years ago, the number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Samarkand did not exceed 500 thousand. Currently, as a result of reforms aimed at developing the sphere and efforts to create the favorable investment environment, the flow of foreign tourists to Samarkand has doubled.
Today we have all opportunities to reach even higher milestones. In particular, the concrete plans have been developed to bring the number of foreign tourists coming to Samarkand to over 1,5 million in the coming years.
For this purpose, the plans to restore about 50 objects of cultural heritage and construction of more than 600 modern hotels and guest houses on the territory of the region have been drawn up. The city will radically reform the system of public transport and set up the movement of electric buses.
The newly built airport - the air harbor of Samarkand, is undoubtedly one of the most important links in the development of tourism. The concept of the new airport is in tune with our goals of building the Great Silk Road Center.
At the beginning of the year, we adopted a program called «Travel around Uzbekistan». In addition, today we see the first tangible results of its implementation in Samarkand. The same modern complex will be built in Bukhara. We plan to implement the similar projects in all regions of the country. Thus, the domestic and foreign tourists will have even more opportunities to get acquainted with more than 8 thousand unique objects of cultural heritage of our people.
In general, the flow of foreign tourists to Uzbekistan, according to estimates, will increase from 2 to 9 million people in the next five years.
Most importantly, the number of people employed in tourism will exceed 500 thousand. The International University of Tourism and Cultural Heritage «The Silk Road» operates in Samarkand for their education and advanced training. At present more than 1 thousand students from six countries are educated at the university, foreign professors teach there. A modern library has been established here with about 20 thousand books, including unique manuscripts.
As you remember, a year ago we set a goal to turn Samarkand into the most beautiful and well-maintained city – «an ornament on the face of the Earth».
For this purpose, among other things, the majestic memorial complex of Imam Bukhari is being built anew. I am confident that this place of worship will be worthy of the great authority that our outstanding ancestor enjoys in the Muslim world.
We are on the eve of important dates and major political, cultural, and educational events. A few days remain until the celebration of the 31st anniversary of Independence of our Motherland. In the coming months, Samarkand will host such prominent international forums as summits of Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Organization of Turkic States. Next year the city will host the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization.
The new complex that is opening today will also serve to hold these major forums at a high level.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the constructors and specialists, ministries and agencies, foreign partners, respected residents of Samarkand and all our multinational people - all those who have worked selflessly and conscientiously to accomplish this grandiose project that has cardinally changed the face of Samarkand, as well as turned a dream into reality.
May the ancient and eternally young Samarkand, our native Uzbekistan, be glorious for centuries!
May our people – the creator of all our successes and achievements, be happy!
Thank you for your attention.