Below is a musical piece by the Yulduz Turdieva Musical ensemble from Uzbekistan. Yulduz Turdieva sings in Persian accompanied by Uzbek musicians composing Classical Persian music:


Western historians often refer to the non-Arabian civilizations of the Near East, Central Asia, Iran, etc. as “Islamic” . What is often not acknowledged is that there is a powerful and very unique culture shared by Iranian and Turkic peoples known as the Persianate or Turco-Iranian civilzation.

Uzbek Classical singer Yulduz Turdieva sings in both Uzbek-Turkic and Persian. This is testament to the resilience of  Persianate or Turco-Iranian civilization which spans a wide region including Central Asia, Iran, the Caucasus, the Kurds, and Afghanistan. Turkey too shares close links with the Persianate world.  

How is Persianate civilization defined? Persianate (or Turco-Iranian) civilizations are generally defined as those civilizations that are variously influenced by the cultural identity, music, arts, language of post-Islamic Iran and pre-Islamic Persia.

Persianate or Turco-Iranian culture is a symbiotic phenomenon that predates the advent of Islam – Turkic peoples have done much to promote the Persian culture and language over the centuries. Subsuming this ancient legacy under “Islamic” civilization is simplistic in that it ignores a major historical phenomenon. It is perhaps more  accurate to note that Persianate civilizations have done much to contribute to the rise of Islamic civilization. In this sense, one becomes aware of the critical role of the Persianate civilization in the development of Islamic civilization.

Hailing the onset of the Iranian New year or Nowruz in the city of Dushanbe in Tajikestan. Nowruz is not just celebrated by Iranian speakers such as the Tajiks but by many Turkic peoples, including the Uzbeks of Central Asia. Iranian and Turkic peoples in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Western Asia continue to share powerful historical bonds in architecture, music, the arts, cultural values and traditions.

One important people to share this ancient and enduring legacy are the Turkic Uzbeks of Central Asia. The Uzbeks continue to display their links to the Persianate civilization. Few are aware that the Uzbeks often wrote their chronicles,  court language and panegyrics in Persian rather than their native Uzbek-Turkic. Bilingualism or multi-lingualism is indeed a distinct feature of Persianate civilizations. The educated elite of the Uzbeks were bilingual in Uzbek-Turkic and Persian well into the early twentieth century.

The Yulduz Turdiev Musical Ensemble of Uzbekistan is a powerful testament to the resilience of Persinate civilization.