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CHA helps reopen Uzbek museum in aid push

By Choi Si-young

Published : March 14, 2024 - 15:09

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A 7th-century royal mural depicting Goguryeo envoys attending the coronation of King Varkhuman at the Afrasiab Museum of Samarkand, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. (Cultural Heritage Administration) A 7th-century royal mural depicting Goguryeo envoys attending the coronation of King Varkhuman at the Afrasiab Museum of Samarkand, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. (Cultural Heritage Administration)

An Uzbekistan-based museum housing some of the country’s oldest archeological artifacts reopened Wednesday with the help of official development assistance from South Korea.

The first-floor exhibition halls at the two-story Afrasiab Museum of Samarkand -- located at the historical site of Afrasiyab, an ancient city in Uzbekistan -- underwent a two-year renovation led by Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration.

The makeover included halls featuring royal murals or wall paintings that depict Goguryeo envoys attending the 7th-century coronation of King Varkhuman. Goguryeo is an ancient Korean kingdom.

Wednesday also marked the opening of the Heritage Management Center at the Samarkand Archaeological Institute. Thanks to the CHA, the center has become the first Central Asian research institute that can X-ray artifacts, one of the coveted techniques employed to better understand and preserve objects of cultural importance.

Earlier this week, the Samarkand Archaeological Institute and the Silk Road International University of Tourism and Cultural Heritage received from the Korean agency 980 books detailing know-how on preservation and utilization methods.

“Those books will be on display at the institute and the university,” the CHA said in a statement, reaffirming its commitment to push for intergovernmental coordination over cultural projects.

Official development assistance projects have been undertaken for some time in Korea to raise its global profile by extending help overseas. For the next three years, the CHA will help preserve the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, a joint task the agency says was also taken up by the US, Germany, Italy and Japan.