. Uzbek president Islam Karimov and his cabinet of ministers last week approved resolutions on the celebration of the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of Bukhara and Khiva. The resolutions create ministerial-level organizing committees and allocate funds for restoring historic and architectural sites in the two cities. An infrastructure for national and international tourism will be created in Uzbekistan; local water supply, transport, and communications will be improved in both cities; and international conferences to mark the anniversaries will be organized. The Uzbek measures follow UNESCO’s decision to celebrate the anniversary of the two cities, which for centuries played a major role as centers of Muslim and Turkic culture. In recent weeks, Uzbekistan also decided to celebrate in 1996 the 650th anniversary of the birth of Timur Lenk (Tamerlane), ruler of a powerful Central Asian state centered on Samarkand.
In Turkmenistan last week, President Saparmurat Niyazov replaced the management of state television after admonishing against the showing of Russian entertainment shows and Soviet films on Turkmen TV. Niyazov instructed the new team to take guidance from a special presidential commission tasked to promote Turkmen cultural heritage in television programming. Turkmenistan also took measures last week to protect the country’s carpet handicrafts. (22).