A ceremony was held on 5th September with participation by Rector Ilshat Gafurov.
Sviyazhsk, a popular tourist destination in Tatarstan, has long been known primarily as a Russian settlement. However, archaeological research, mostly undertaken by Kazan University experts, has helped discover Tatar heritage as well. Namely, a territory near the contemporary Sviyazhsk River Station was a settled place as well. Some wood had been chopped down here before houses were built in the 16th century. Those particular remains are now on display at the new museum.
State Counsellor of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev noted during the opening ceremony, “Restoration of Sviyazhsk Island-Town objects is nearing its completion. There are already many museums here, and now we have one more. Our experts and our scientists have helmed this work. They are here today. I express my deepest gratitude to them.”
Immense preparatory effort and some luck factored in the creation of the exhibition. Suffice it to say that the works lasted seven years. Thankfully, a unique soil ecosystem helped preserve organic material, including leather, textiles, and plant fiber.
The exhibition is centered around almost 40 wooden remains of various buildings, mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries. The perimeter is filled with household exhibits, specimens of woodwork, and other items. There is also a 21-meter-long screen demonstrating various historical and scientific data and short films pertaining to Sviyazhsk and current restoration work.
The Intercultural Dialogue Forum itself is supported by UNESCO. The honored guests, among others, are First Deputy Head of Presidential Administration of Russia Sergey Kirienko and Assistant Director General of UNESCO Qu Xing.
Mr. Qu had high praise to spare about Kazan during his welcome speech at the plenary meeting in the City Hall, “In this city, we see churches and mosques in close vicinity, we see children striving for knowledge, we see people who have not faced any discrimination, and human rights are a priority. These are the results of constant effort and the reasons for us to gather here.”
Counsellor Shaimiev spoke about Tatarstan’s laudable diligence in working with UNESCO and other cultural organizations. So far, three heritage objects were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List – Kazan Kremlin, Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex, and Ascension Cathedral of Sviyazhsk.
Kazan Federal University has been a major contributor to this work. KFU’s World Heritage Center is a specialized entity in charge of research and cooperation in this field. Just several weeks ago, KFU held a summer school at Bolgar where 35 students from various countries honed their knowledge in Islamic culture and international dialogue.
The Forum takes up 4th – 7th September.
Source text: Kamill Gareev, Alina Iskanderova
Translation: Yury Nurmeev