International Forum of the 50th Anniversary of Convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage opened in Kazan

5 December 2022, Monday

On December 5, in Kazan, Tatarstan President, Chairman of the Russia – Islamic World Strategic Vision Group Rustam Minnikhanov, Russian Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova, the State Counselor of the republic, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mintimer Shaimiev and Executive Secretary of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO Grigory Ordzhonikidze and delegations of a number of foreign states took part in the opening of the International Forum of the 50th Anniversary of Convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

Welcoming the forum participants, Minnikhanov emphasized that Tatarstan has a long history of interaction with UNESCO. The Republic takes an active part in the preservation of cultural heritage. Today, three sites located on the territory of Tatarstan are inscribed in the World Heritage List. Cooperation is also carried out in a number of other areas of UNESCO.

Speaking at the meeting, Tatarstan President said that the republic is an important link between the West and the East.

“The values that UNESCO represents are incredibly important for humanity. The dialogue of cultures and civilizations, the building of peace through international cooperation in the field of education, science and culture, the priority of the spiritual over the material - all this requires constant reflection and multiplication.

Undoubtedly, cooperation of Tatarstan through UNESCO programmes has the immense horizons. These include associated school programmes, and cooperation in the network of UNESCO creative cities, as well as interaction in the field of information, bioethics, artificial intelligence,” he said.

Shaimiev briefed the forum participants on the experience of Tatarstan in the protection of historical and cultural monuments and cooperation with UNESCO. He said that the first important achievement on this path was the inscription of the historical and architectural complex "Kazan Kremlin" in the World Heritage List in 2000. In 2010, a large-scale project "Cultural Heritage: Ancient city of Bolgar and the island-town of Sviyazhsk" was launched. For this purpose, the Revival Regional Foundation was specially created, the activity of which received nationwide support. Due to a professional team of historians, archaeologists, restorers, builders about 60 historical and cultural monuments were restored.

The foundation was engaged in the construction of the Bolgar Islamic Academy and the reconstruction of the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. “The approach of simultaneous reconstruction of Muslim and Orthodox shrines has been time-proved, we have seen that people like it, this is the right direction, and it is fully consistent with the principle of preserving cultural diversity and moral values of UNESCO,” Tatarstan State Counselor said. He also informed about an important event of this year - the celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the voluntary adoption of Islam by the Volga Bulgaria at the federal level. “We are grateful to the leadership of the country for this wise decision. I believe that the revival of the ancient Bolgar and its inscription into the World Heritage List played a fundamental role in this. Recognition of the "Outstanding Universal Value" gave the Bolgar complex a special significance, and now it is becoming one of the main places of pilgrimage for Russian Muslims, as well as the center of tourism and the spiritual life of the republic. The same function is performed by the Kazan Kremlin and the island-town Sviyazhsk, which are also centers of attraction for pilgrims and tourists, representatives of culture, science, education and public organizations,” Shaimiev added.

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