The activities of the International Centre for the Rapprochement of Cultures (ICRC), under the auspices of UNESCO (Category 2) in Almaty, aim to contribute to building the principles of UNESCO’s mandate for peaceful, equitable coexistence in the minds of people of various human communities regardless of racial, ethnic, or religious identity.
The Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, Iran has established the Iranian Research Center on the Silk Roads. The Center is a scientific and academic institution, and a unique academic research center in Iran to focus on the Silk Roads.
At the initiative of UNESCO and with the support of its former Director General, Mr Federico Mayor (1987-1999), the International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations was established by an agreement concluded on 16 September 1998 between the governments of Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Mongolia and Turkey.
The Kazakh Research Institute of Culture (KazRIC), established November 10th, 1934, was one of the first scientific institutions in Kazakhstan. Originally, it united several scientific and educational organizations: the Kazakh Central Archive, the Regional Museum, the Regional Bureau and the State Library.
Myanmar served as a significant ‘hub’ in the cross-cultural transfer of objects, traditions, techniques and artistic influences that flowed from China through Central Asia, Western Asia as far as Europe (and vice versa) – both by land and maritime routes. The reasons for this were Myanmar’s geographical location, long coastline with many ports and its river access to China.
From the 9th to the 15th century AD, Quanzhou was China’s major seaport for international trade. China entertained extensive relations with the Muslim world, and many Islamic monuments can still be found in Quanzhou. Among the Arabic and Persian inscriptions which were excavated in the city, 28 “nisbâs” (adjectives indicating a person’s place of origin or ancestry) were found.
The Malaysian region acted as a land bridge between the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea, linking mainland Southeast Asia with the rest of the islands. Archaeological data records prehistoric trade before and after the Pleistocene era. During this period coastal prehistoric sites developed into ports of trade and exchange, both intra-regionally as well as with mainland Southeast China. The abundant supply of minerals, such as tin and gold on the Peninsula, led to early settlements, including Hinduized Indonesian settlers, and to extended trading relations.
While there an overlapping of cultures of East and West via the Silk Routes usually occurred throughout history, the peninsula of Korea, however, restricted itself to mostly ‘absorbing’ cultural and artistic influences from far and wide and few traces of Korean culture have been found in Central Asia. Evidence of this cultural and material appropriation can be found in several tumuli, including buckled belts with a Scythian zoomorphic influence, Roman and Germanic glassware, central-Asian inspired metalwork, Chinese-inspired painting techniques.
Alexander, known as ‘the Great’ or ‘the Macedonian’, advanced his armies into Central Asia in the fourth century BC. Although originally at war with the Achaemenid monarch, Darius III Codomannus, his campaign soon expanded to become a wide-scale invasion of Asia, which was enormously successful until his retreat and death in 323.
The voyage of the Russian writer, Ivan Gontcharov (1812 -1891) on the frigate Pallada from 1852 to 1855 was a journey of symbolic importance. The author came from a wealthy background, working as a merchant in the family grain business; yet, disillusioned with this, he joined the Pallada and set off on a journey that took him to England, Africa, Japan, and then overland back to Russia.