Uzbekistan and China have been actively cooperating in the cultural field in recent years, continuing their millennia-old friendship and exchanges between Silk Road civilizations, said a senior scholar from Uzbekistan's Academy of Sciences.
"Uzbekistan and China have been close partners on the Silk Road throughout history and established long-standing and stable economic and trade relations," Abdullayev Masharib Saydamatovich, deputy director of the Center for Promotion of Science at Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Since establishing diplomatic relations over 30 years ago, the two countries have continued to develop their relationship and cooperation in various fields, including economy and culture, he noted, citing the joint effort to restore the ancient city of Khiva as the best example of cultural cooperation between the two countries.
As one of the ancient cities situated along the Silk Road, Khiva has been a center of education, science and culture, and served as a cradle of civilizations spanning millennia, with Ichan Kala, the inner city of the ancient oasis of Khiva, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1990.
However, due to a long-time lack of maintenance, some of the ancient buildings suffered damage of varying degrees. In 2014, Uzbekistan and China decided to jointly preserve and restore Khiva, and completed the project in 2019.
According to Saydamatovich, the restoration work was very difficult, requiring in-depth scientific research. At the beginning of the project, Chinese experts conducted a very detailed study of the original appearance of Khiva and used this to formulate the restoration plan.
"The restoration work on Khiva fully reflected China's experience in restoring cultural relics," said Saydamatovich, adding that during the restoration process, Chinese experts and scholars lived in Khiva and directly communicated and collaborated with local experts on how to better carry out the restoration work.
Under the principle of "restoration to the original," Chinese experts managed to use local traditional materials and techniques as much as possible so as not to change the appearance of the cultural relics, said the Uzbek scholar.
"Chinese experts worked meticulously and always strived to preserve the original style of the ancient city," said Saydamatovich, commending them for restoring all the relics to the original appearance.
He stressed that the restoration work by Chinese experts has been highly recognized in Uzbekistan, and China's expertise in restoring cultural relics has also been applied to the protection of other historical sites in Uzbekistan.
"After the joint restoration project in Khiva, cultural cooperation between Uzbekistan and China will continue, and joint restoration work will become an important direction for future cooperation between the two countries," he said.
Saydamatovich pointed out that Uzbekistan and China are now actively promoting cooperation in politics, society, culture, science and other fields under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Belt and Road Initiative.
"We believe that China's achievements in development will directly help Uzbekistan to further enhance its national strength. Uzbekistan looks forward to continuing to carry out extensive exchanges of experience with China," he added.