Saturday, 15 September 2018

Stan 1: Uzbekistan

I am just about recovering from the jetlag of my holiday on on Silk Road! Here's a pic of me sweltering in the Registan Square in Samarkand, which gives you an instant flavour of what Uzbekistan feels like for the tourist - it's all about Islamic era historical monuments; it's big, bright, clean and orderly.

Modern Uzbekistan is the descendant of a vast Islamic empire created by this guy, Timur:

Kill total: probably about 17 million

and then put through the modernising grindstone of the Soviet Union:

Kill total: dunno, but high. But also universal literacy, hospitals, roads, and "Praise be to God, opening the faces of the women". Our guide was pretty positive about the results of the Soviet era.

Many of the monuments we saw were in fact restored by the Russians from ruins:

It has in recent years suddenly started to embrace private enterprise and is in the midst of vast social change yet again.

Tea, anyone?

It's Muslim but secular, not fundamentalist - our local guide says most don't even observe Ramadan. 

Lots of pre-Islamic motifs even in religious buildings - this is the Simurgh, the Zoroastrian "bird of compassion" - which I wrote about in Heart of Flame!

I'm struggling not to give you twenty pics of architecture, because OMG words cannot do justice to the beauty:

The necropolis in Samarkand

Bukhara - my HoF heroes went there!

The four towers  of this mosque represent the founder's four daughters :-)

I really liked Uzbekistan - I'd definitely go back.

If only for the string cheese:


Jo said...

Oh, just amazing. And I have no words for yer bag o cheese.

Rachel de Vine said...

Wonderful pictures. Must put it on my travel plans for the future. It looks very interesting.

Janine Ashbless said...

Rachel, there has probably never been a better time to visit as the country is undergoing a certain amount of liberalisation. If you buy travel guides or look online, they are full of dire warnings about rigorous bag searches, lists of pharmaceuticals etc at the borders - this all seems to have changed since April 2018, when a new system was introduced with the usual green and red channels. We were just waved through :-)

Lily Harlem said...

Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures. It's on my bucket list!