Academician Mikhail Piotrovsky conferred the Order of Felicitation of the Sultanate of Oman
In Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, a ceremony has been held to confer the Order of Felicitation on Academician Mikhail Piotrovsky, Dean of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of St Petersburg University and Director General of the State Hermitage Museum. He is the first Russian representative to receive this high honour.
Academic, educational and cultural institutions in St Petersburg have been actively involved in developing bilateral relations in recent years. At present, Russia and Oman are partners in the preservation of national heritage in Syria, in particular in the restoration of Palmyra. The Sultanate of Oman is engaged in the restoration of unique antique bas-reliefs of the ancient city.
The Order was handed over by His Excellency Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal bin Saud Al Busaidi, Minister of Diwan of Royal Court of Oman. The ceremony was also attended by His Excellency Jamal Hassan Al-Musawi, Secretary General of the National Museum of Oman.
Orientalists, restorers, architects and archaeologists from St Petersburg are taking part in this work. The main project for Russian specialists − the restoration of the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra − requires a lot of expert work. Trips to the Syrian Arab Republic have therefore become almost routine for many scholars. Researchers from St Petersburg University are not left behind: in particular, in May this year, Academician Mikhail Piotrovsky and Igor Gerasimov, Professor in the Department of the History of the Middle East Countries, made a business trip to Palmyra.
St Petersburg University is starting cooperation with the largest university in Oman − Sultan Qaboos University. It is planned that the cooperation will cover not only the spheres of humanities, but also natural sciences and mathematics.
Earlier, in 2018, representatives of St Petersburg University paid a working visit to Oman. At that time, in addition to seeing the sights of this Arab country, they managed to visit Sultan Qaboos University. One of the outcomes of this trip was the opening of a book exhibition in the M. Gorky Scientific Library of St Petersburg University It featured books on religion, history, and culture of the Sultanate and works of contemporary Omani literature donated to the University by the Omani side. The donor was His Excellency Jamal Hassan Al-Musawi, Secretary General of the National Museum of Oman. The exhibition was complemented by national costumes and photographs.
The results of the trip to Oman aroused the interest of students and faculty members of the University. Speaking at the opening of the exhibition of Omani books, Igor Gerasimov shared his impressions of that business trip, including of his public lecture at the National Museum of Oman. Apart from him, the meeting was also addressed by Professors and experts in Arab studies Nikolai Diakov and Mikhail Suvorov, who spoke about the economy, literature, nature and society of Oman.
Cultural ties with Oman are developing through the State Hermitage Museum. Thus, in 2018, an exhibition of decorative arts of this country ‘Jewellery and Book Art from the Arabian Peninsula’ was organised. Later, the Winter Palace hosted the exhibition ‘Oman: The Land of Frankincense’. It was prepared jointly with the National Museum of Oman.
Additionally, as part of the exhibition ‘Omani navigators. Ahmed bin Majid as-Sa’adi’ of the National Museum of Oman, a rare manuscript from the Arabic collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences was also on display: an early 16th-century collection of poetic pilot charts by Aḥmad Ibn Mājid (circa 1421 − circa 1500), the Arab seafarer and pilot of Vasco da Gama. Aḥmad Ibn Mājid was from the city of Ras Al Khaimah, then part of Oman, and his works are considered a cultural and historical treasure of the Arab country.
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