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2017 †N7-8(148-149)
The day marking the thirty-day countdown to the start of the largest continental sport event turned into the unique demonstration of the Turkmen capital's readiness for the Asian Games. The festival of youth, health and sport was supported by all the attributes highlighting Ashgabat's readiness to welcome the dear guests, such as the elegant appearance of the city of new buildings, the generosity of the Turkmen dastarkhan and the atmosphere of extraordinary enthusiasm. The head of state's personal participation in the festivities gave them the status of national importance.
The day started with the large-scale environmental action "A Day without Motor Transport". President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov led the mass bike ride through the streets of Ashgabat. He rode in the company of the Deputy Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, the leaders of the military and law enforcement agencies and the Ashgabat city mayor.
The cyclists enjoyed a picturesque panorama of the white marble city of Ashgabat and a beautiful view of its new architectural ensembles, modern avenues and highways, parks and squares along the cycling route from the foothills of Kopetdag to the center of the Turkmen capital. The Turkmen capital has been dynamically developing in recent years. The population of the city has been growing, and the territorial boundaries of the city have been expanded too. High living standards of the population have been ensured thanks to successful urban policy. As a result of the balanced development, Ashgabat is turning into one of the most beautiful and comfortable cities in the world.
Another architectural complex was inauguration on that day. The white marble buildings erected along Ankara Street harmoniously blended into the architectural ensemble of Ashgabat. It includes the Health Facility and two 12-storey 72-apartment houses with underground parking. They were ordered by the enterprises of the fuel and energy industry. Each of the skyscrapers has comfortable apartments with improved layout. The total cost of the project exceeds manat 220,347 million. The project was financed by the oil and gas complex and private investments.
After viewing the new buildings, the cyclists led by the President of Turkmenistan headed for the ceremony of inauguration of the newly erected Center for Public Organizations of Turkmenistan. Six public associations of the country moved into the new building, including the Democratic and Agrarian parties, the National Trade Union Center, the Women's Union, the Magtymguly Youth Organization and the Peace Fund of Turkmenistan.
Speaking to the audience, the head of state cordially congratulated everyone on the landmark event - the opening of the Center of Public Organizations of Turkmenistan - that was taking place exactly one month ahead of the start of the Asian Games. The President of Turkmenistan expressed strong confidence that the Center for Public Organizations will successfully address the important tasks facing the country that inspire the people to new labor victories and creativity. To the applause of the audience, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov cut a symbolic ribbon. The Center of Public Organizations has been officially opened!
The culinary exhibition "Cuisines of the Asian Games - 2017" at the Olympic village was another striking event of the day. The Olympic village was also the venue of celebration of the Day of Turkmen Melon that glorified the queen of the Turkmen dastarkhan. On this occasion, the territory of the sports town was decorated with melon stands and pavilions, where melon growers and breeders from all the regions of the country presented their best products - the elite varieties of golden melons, watermelons, weighty pumpkins, some of which were really gigantic, and the products of processing of the gifts of the Turkmen land.
According to the legend, melon was bestowed on humanity as a gift from paradise. Turkmen melons are considered the best in the world for their taste, aroma and visual appeal. For centuries, many travelers used to leave the most flattering reviews of Turkmen melons. There is evidence in the historical chronicles that in the 7th-9th centuries Turkmen melons were supplied to the palaces of the Arab caliphs, and they were highly valued.
The cultivation of the sunny fruits has ancient traditions and, on the one hand, it is part of national culture. On the other hand, melon, as a valuable food product, occupies an important place in the hierarchy of national food values. It is no accident that it is very rewarding to be a producer and breeder of melons and gourds in Turkmenistan. Local melons have always stood out from other types of melon by their taste and variety of breeds. The task of breeders is to preserve and, to the extent possible, improve the best qualities of the fruits. Turkmen breeders do not give cause for doubting their qualifications.
The culinary exhibition "Cuisines of the Asian Games - 2017" was held in the canteen of the Olympic village. In fact, this central point of catering at the Olympic village does not look like a simple dining room. A large two-storey building with spacious halls for 2064 seats on the ground and first levels, elevators, escalators, stylish decorative elements of interiors has all the features of the first-class restaurant.
The gastronomic exhibition presented the culinary traditions of 64 countries participating in the Games, as well as two other fraternal countries - Azerbaijan and Turkey. The festival of national cuisines has been facilitated by the leading Turkmen chefs from "Gl Zaman" company with the support of Swiss company "Gourmet Sports Hospitality AG". These two companies have been entrusted with providing catering services for the participants of the V Asian Games.
The chefs had to pass a serious professional exam exactly a month before the start of the main Asian sports event. The dishes of Turkmen cuisine were the first to meet the guests in the elegantly decorated hall. They occupied the largest space at the show. Each of the participating countries presented from 4 to 6 or more dishes under their flags. The guests had the opportunity not only to taste the unusual or, on the contrary, the most favorite dishes cooked by the Turkmen chefs, original salads and desserts prepared with great inventiveness and imagination, but also order from the menu the favorite dishes, while sitting with comfort at cozy tables.
In the evening of the same day, the head of state attended as the guest of honor a gala concert of masters of Turkmen and foreign variety art. Sport is about moving, i.e. the life itself! Sport is the way to friendship, health and beauty! These themes were reflected in the program of the festive action that unfolded on a special stage assembled in the Olympic village.
The cheerful concert was the final chord of the eventful festive day marking the last thirty days countdown to the start of the continental sports forum. A number of performances on topic of the Asian Games were presented to the spectators. They were accompanied by the demonstration of new video clips that showed the country's achievements in developing the high performance sport, mass sports movement, creating high-tech sports infrastructure, as well as Turkmenistan's tourism potential and Ashgabat's preparations for the upcoming regional sports forum. The wealth and uniqueness of modern Turkmen art, the variety of its genres and continuity of cultural traditions were reflected in the colorful festive concert.
The festivities concluded with grandiose fireworks that lit the evening sky over Ashgabat with the myriad of sparkling constellations.

Ahmetdzan NURIEV

©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005