On August 27, 2020, SPPT and the Institute of History and Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan received a grant from U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan Matthew S. Klimow through the Ambassador Fund for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (AFCP) program for a project to preserve underground water reservoirs at the historic Shahrislam Monument.
The award ceremony, hosted by the US Embassy in Turkmenistan, was held online. This award has made Turkmenistan a world leader in the number of AFCP projects (it is the 27th project of the Foundation in the country), which demonstrates the fruitful cooperation of our state and the USA in the sphere of protection of historical and cultural heritage.
Activities to protect cultural monuments will be carried out through innovative cooperation between the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan and SPPT. This is the first project of this profile with public-private participation.
The USA grant assumes allocation of $195.6 thousand for works on preservation (restoration, strengthening, protective procedures) of underground reservoirs-sardobes of ancient Shakhrislam (IX-XV centuries) in Karakum desert, located 20 km to the north of Bakharden. Unique in Central Asia, the sardobes were filled from Kopetdag springs by means of special tunnels (kariza). The historical site is characterized by significant tourist potential.
The U.S. Ambassador noted that he was amazed to see the site of the research work of Turkmen archaeologists. He also emphasized that U.S. funding for the preservation of Turkmenistan's historic reservoirs is an example of strategic cooperation between the two powers as Turkmenistan expands its tourism industry and preserves the world's cultural heritage sites.
The U.S. has paid attention to funding the protection of historical and cultural sites in Turkmenistan through the AFCP since 2001. Projects from around the world are considered for funding. The designation of the Shakhrislam Tanks as a grant recipient demonstrates the importance of the site on a global scale.