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ASTRAKHAN, July 18. /TASS/. A four-meter-tall bronze statue honoring the Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam is slated to be unveiled on August 4. This is the first monument in Russia dedicated to the much-beloved poet, whose words of wisdom are often quoted from bloggers to President Vladimir Putin, who said Khayyam was among his favorite poets.
"There are monuments to Omar Khayyam in Tehran, Dushanbe, Bucharest, and Ashkhabad, the Astrakhan monument to the Iranian cultural figure will be Russia’s first," said a representative of Astrakhan's Ministry of International and Internal economic affairs.
Funding for the monument, according to the ministry, has come from the Chamber of Commerce of the Iranian province of Gilan. At one time, that territory was a soviet republic for a short period.
While the 1.5-tonne sculpture is currently hidden under a veil, the word is that the wiseman is depicted standing, with a book and quill in his hands. The official monument plot is in the student's square right in front of Astrakhan state university, where Khayyam will have a neighbor - Turkmen poet, Makhtumkuli Fragi.
The opening ceremony will take place on August 4, as part of an official state visit by the Iranian delegation from Gilan, headed by Governor General, Mohammed Ali Nadjafi.
Astrakhan's ties to Iran are more than cultural, there are 160 Iranian companies working in the region including a branch of an Iranian bank. According to the Astrakhan governor's office, trade turnover between Iran and the region has totaled $74.2 million in the first half of 2016.