On October 31, 2023, which also happens to be World Cities Day, Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, announced the addition of 55 cities to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), according to the official UNESCO website. Making history, Bukhara has become the first city in Uzbekistan to join this prestigious international program, recognized for its dedication to preserving and promoting culture through handicrafts and folk art. Additionally, the city is set to make waves in the art world by hosting the inaugural Biennale of Contemporary Design and Crafts in 2025.
The UCCN champions cities from across seven creative fields: gastronomy, crafts and folk art, music, design, literature, cinema, and media arts. Through this network, UNESCO aims to facilitate dialogue and foster cooperation between the participating cities, creating a space to share experiences and leverage creativity for cultural, economic, and social development.
Among the new additions to the network this year are Ashgabat, making its mark in design; Kutaisi, celebrated for its literary contributions; and Veliky Novgorod, recognized for its musical scene.
Since its inception in 2004, the UCCN has grown to include 350 cities from over 100 countries, with new cities welcomed into the fold every two years. This network boasts participation from a variety of cities including Baku, Tbilisi, Batumi, Almaty, St. Petersburg, Ulyanovsk, and Kazan.