U.S. Embassy and Local Partners Complete Conservation Project at Burana Tower

On June 30, 2023, the U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic celebrated the conclusion of a project to conserve the historic Burana Tower, joined by representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy and other local partners.  The project included resurfacing of damaged tiling on the observation deck, seismic evaluation of the Tower’s resilience to earthquakes, capacity building for conservation workers, and community outreach on the Tower’s history and cultural significance.  Local NGO Center for Museum Initiatives implemented the project with funding from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).

The ceremony included remarks by U.S. Ambassador Lesslie Viguerie, who noted that the project demonstrated the United States’ deep respect for Kyrgyz culture and history and commitment to partnership with the Kyrgyz government.  Representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Center for Museum Initiatives Director Cholpon Turdalieva, and Stephen Battle, an expert from the World Monuments Fund who consulted on the project, also joined the event.

Since the project’s opening in September 2021, local and international experts have guided the restoration process to replace damaged tiling on the Tower’s observation deck, which will mitigate water damage to its walls.  After a competitive tender process supervised by the Ministry of Culture, Ayaks-Telomanit company was selected to produce and install historically accurate restoration tiles.  Extensive capacity building trainings for conservation and museum workers and public outreach supplemented the restoration work.  Through a series of “Burana Day” and “Burana Camp” events, the Center for Museum Initiatives cooperated with young alumni of the Embassy’s English Access Microscholarship Program to promote the Burana Tower’s significance as a cultural landmark, raising awareness to attract more visitors.  The project also funded assessment of the Tower’s seismic resilience by a local expert and installation of new video security cameras for the museum territory’s perimeter.

The U.S. Department of States created the AFCP program in 2001 to celebrate mankind’s shared cultural heritage.  Through the AFCP, the U.S. government each year funds projects around the globe that protect unique cultural heritage sites.  Previous AFCP-funded projects in the Kyrgyz Republic include conservation of the Uzgen Mausoleum, restoration of the unique gold collection at the Kyrgyz State Museum of History, and preservation of the 11th century Shakh-Fazil mausoleum in Jalal-Abad oblast.