Volume. 12234

International Congress of Ferdowsi opens in Mashhad
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A statue of Ferdowsi in Tehran’s Ferdowsi Square
A statue of Ferdowsi in Tehran’s Ferdowsi Square
TEHRAN -- The 8th International Congress of Ferdowsi commenced at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad on Sunday.
Groups of Iranian literati and experts from Tajikistan and Afghanistan are attending the congress, which has been organized to commemorate the Persian epic poet Ferdowsi just three days before National Ferdowsi Day.
A 2.5-meter-tall statue of Rustam, one of the Iranian heroes in Ferdowsi’s magnum opus Shahnameh (Book of Kings), was unveiled at the university on the sidelines of the congress. Iranian sculptor Ali Asadi has created the artwork.
In addition, an exhibition of cultural productions of Ghazni, the Afghan city which has been selected as the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2013, opened at the university.  
The Ferdowsi Hall of the University of Tehran will host the second day of the congress at 3 p.m. today. Several speeches have been arranged for this day.
Photos of 30 miniature paintings and calligraphy works on the theme of the Shahnameh stories have also been put on display in an exhibition on the sideline. The photos have been taken by Saeid Mahmudi from some rare copies of the Shahnameh on display at Iranian and foreign museums. 
Several Iranian institutes also plan to celebrate National Ferdowsi Day, which will be on May 15 this year.
Tehran’s Arasbaran Cultural Center will be playing host to a meeting on Ferdowsi, which has been organized by Ershad Hosseinieh, one of Tehran’s prestigious mosques.
The library of the mosque has also showcased a number of its books on Ferdowsi in an exhibition, which will run until May 16.
Tehran’s Book City Institute also plans to hold a meeting at 4:30 p.m. on May 15 to discuss connections between Ferdowsi and Abul-Fazl-i Bayhaqi (995–1077), who wrote a remarkable history of the Ghaznavids that was the first major prose work in New Persian,.
Ferdowsi is famous for his Shahnameh Persian national epic, which has remained one of the most popular works in the Persian-speaking world for nearly 1000 years.  
Completed in 1010, the Shahnameh is a poem of nearly 60,000 verses. Ferdowsi versified and updated the story to the downfall of the Sassanid empire (mid-7th century).

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