Varanasi nominated as the first SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital

The temple city of Varanasi was nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital during the recently held SCO Summit.

Key facts

  • During the 22nd Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Varanasi was nominated as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital for the period of 2022-23.
  • This would promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and other SCO member states.
  • Under this framework, various events will be organized in Varanasi in 2022-23.
  • These events bring together musicians, authors, scholars, Indologists and artists as well as other invited guests.
  • The regulations for the nomination of the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital were adopted at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in 2021.
  • The purpose of this initiative is to promote cooperation between the SCO members in the area of culture and tourism.
  • It also highlights India’s ancient civilizational links with SCO members, especially those from the Central Asia.

Background

During the 2019 Bishkek Summit, President of Uzbekistan suggested the establishment of an annual SCO tradition of nominating a city in the country presiding the SCO as the SCO tourism and culture capital. The objective of this proposal is to realize the tourism potential of cities and promote the cultural and historic heritage of the SCO member states.

Varanasi

Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh dates back to the 11th century BC. It is considered to be the “spiritual capital” of India. It hosts some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath. It is situated at the left bank of River Ganga in the middle-Ganges valley.

About Shanghai Cooperation Organization

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a political, economic and security alliance established in 2001. It is headquartered in Beijing. Its members are China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan became members in 2017. The SCO is currently the world’s largest regional organization.

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