Voted by the May 2009 New York Times Travel Magazine as one of “29 places around the world to blow your mind”, the Savitsky Collection, at Rzayev Street, hosts the world's second largest collection of Russian avant garde art (after the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg). It is also home to collections of archeological objects from Khorezm’s ancient civilization and of Karakalpakstan folk, applied and contemporary art.
Igor Savitsky (1915-84), a Russian born in Kiev and the Museum's founder, first went to Karakalpakstan in 1950 as the artist in the Khorezm Archaeological and Ethnographic Expedition led by the world famous scientist, Sergei P. Tolstov. Fascinated by the culture and people of the steppe, he stayed on after the dig (1950-57), methodically collecting Karakalpak carpets, costumes, jewelry, and other works of art. At the same time, he began collecting the drawings and paintings of artists linked to Central Asia, including those of the Uzbek school, and, during the late-1950s/early-1960s, of the Russian avant garde which the Soviet authorities were then banishing and destroying. Today, the Collection totals about 90,000 items, including graphics, paintings and sculptures, as well as thousands of artifacts, textiles and jewelry, ranging from the antiquities of Khorezm’s ancient civilization to the works of contemporary Uzbek and Karakalpak artists.
Savitsky’s collection would ensure that an entire generation of artists and their work would be saved, allowing future generations to see many artists who would have otherwise been lost. Indeed, with the advent of the Savitsky Collection, the history of the avant garde needs to be reexamined.
The museum is open as follows:
Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., with a 1 hour break from 1-2 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Tel: (+998-61) 222 25 56.
Please note that the "old" Savitsky Collection building at 2 Karakalpakstan Street has been demolished. However, the main Museum (on Rzaev street) continues to be open and has been supplemented with the paintings from the building at 2 Karakalpakstan street.
For further information regarding the Collection’s history, the biographies of artists, as well as information on the Friends of Nukus Museum’s Foundation (which supports the Savitsky Collection), please see the following website: www.savitskycollection.org .
Museum of Regional Studies of Karakalpakstan
Located in the “old” Savitsky Collection building at 2 Karakalpakstan Street, the Regional Studies Museum holds an impressive display of Karakalpak folk culture, antiquities and several unique pieces, including the last Turan tiger. The museum’s 21 halls concentrate on three themes: the region’s nature, Karakalpak archaeology and ethnography, and its modern history. This museum is worth a visit to understand more about Karakalpak culture and ornaments before a trip to the souvenir shop. Equally, it is a good introduction to Karakalpakstan’s biodiversity, which is being increasingly understood and appreciated.
The museum is open as follows:
Monday―Friday: 9 a.m.―5 p.m., with a 1 hour break from 1-2 p.m.
Saturday―Sunday: 10 a.m.―4 p.m.
The Museum of Amet and Aiymkhan Shamuratov, on Saraev street (next to the Jibek Joli museum), offers a unique glimpse into the private lives of two cultural icons of Karakalpakstan. Amet Shamuratov (1912-1953) wrote prose, poetry and drama which is still popular today, while his wife Aiymkhan (1917-1993) was a stage performer, playing more than 100 roles developed by playwrights from Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. She was additionally a singer, famous for her arias. Visitors to this museum should contact the Jipek Joli hotel, which manages it.