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Mauritania celebrates Nouakchott as cultural capital of Islamic world

Desert in Mauritania, August 2019 [Özkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency]
Desert in Mauritania, August 2019 [Özkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency]

Mauritania on Friday commenced the first events since Nouakchott was chosen as the capital of culture in the Islamic world for 2023.

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, ministers of culture from many Arab and Islamic countries and professionals from the fields of culture, literature and media attended the opening ceremony held at the Conference Palace in Nouakchott.

The opening ceremony, organised under the supervision of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ICESCO) and the Mauritanian Ministry of Culture, included artistic performances and cultural exhibitions besides a pavilion devoted to manuscripts and another for sites registered on the Islamic Heritage List.

Mauritanian Minister of Culture Mohamed Ould Soueidatt shared in a speech that the declaration of Nouakchott as the capital of culture of the Islamic world: "Represents an occasion to present the Mauritanian culture and provide a bright picture of the essence of the Islamic religion and is attributed to the honourable scientific role played by our historical cities (Chinguetti, Tichit, Walatah, and Ouadane), which qualified them to be registered on the list of the World Heritage Sites."

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"In these cities and others, treasures of rare manuscripts have accumulated in official and private libraries. Recognising some of them constituted a great cultural success, as it revealed rare valuables, some of which were semi-extinct. These cities also reveal architectural and aesthetic features that are worth stopping at," the minister added.

He affirmed that choosing Nouakchott as the cultural capital of the Islamic world: "Constitutes a proper opportunity for deep cultural communication between our Islamic peoples, and an opportunity for the joint investment between them and the peoples of the world."

Ould Soueidatt continued: "It is an occasion to establish a cultural dialogue through which we emphasise the depth and purity of our Islamic culture and its saturation with the values of tolerance, coexistence and peace."

Director-General of ICESCO Salim Mohammed Al-Malik spoke about the most prominent cultural events that the organisation will supervise throughout the year, foremost of which is: "Preserving and valuing heritage sites registered on ICESCO's list of heritage in the Islamic world, contributing to the restoration of many heritage sites and launching the ICESCO Forum for Young Poets."

In his speech during the opening ceremony, he affirmed: "Nouakchott deserves the title of Capital of Culture in the Islamic World for the year 2023, due to its glories in poetry, literature and jurisprudence as well as the country in general."

Al-Malik confirmed that ICESCO: "Is ready to provide full cultural support this year through various activities."

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