Uzbekistan

June 3, 2012

Probably the most famous single "Silk Road" scene (minus me): Samarkand's Registan, the heart of the city during the Timurid dynasty.


Confession: Faced with so many dozens of spectacular mosques, madrases, minarets, and mausoleums, I failed to sufficiently record what was built when and by whom. I ought to spend a day precisely identify all these important historical treasures, but for now I'm just going to post some of the most beautiful and striking ones, along with some "human interest" pics.

KHIVA

Out in western Uzbekistan is an old Silk Road city that is a "must see" because it has so many buildings restored in the same area. Rather than scattered around a modern city, inside the old walls of Khiva are buildings that may not have looked so different a thousand years ago.








BUKHARA




On a later flight, I was showing my photos to an imam who said he lived for six years in the second room on the left (first floor) while studying at this Bukhara madrassa. (Visitors cannot enter the grounds.)



Shahrisabz

Every Uzbek city has a least one big statute of Amir Temur (aka Tamerlane) as you'll see elsewhere in Central Asia too. This one must be the largest, after all he was born here and these are the enormous gates to what is left of his palace here.

This is the enormous empire Tamerlane conquored in the 1300s. Every country seems to exalt its perceived "golden age" of maximum power and territory. This was the time when an Uzbek dynasty held its greatest sway — no longer being trampled by the Persians, Greeks, Mongols, Russians, or others.

SAMARKAND

These shy students and their shy teacher were visiting from a nearby village. We seemed to be on the nearly same loop and started laughing as we kept running into each other throughout the day. Later they started asking me to pose with them for some photos.


Her: Elegant traditional dress for special visit to Samarkand.
Him: Blue jeans.
With my Samarkand guide

Striking saleswoman matching the blues in the domes.

TASHKENT

I started and ended my Central Asia circle in Tashkent, a large (population 2 to 4 million depending on source) and surprisingly modern, green city with wide boulevards.

Dinner with nice guy Ilhom (who is a guide but was not my guide and his lovely wife whose name I was embarrassed to keep asking.

Tashkent's big statute of Temur (aka Tamerlane).

Across from my hotel was a lovely old opera house.  Every evening speakers played recorded semi-classical music while choreographed and colored waters danced and hundreds of people gathered to enjoy the show and the cool night air.

Always love wedding photos around the world.

In my hotel lobby, this cool couple was waiting for the running photographer to suggest the next pose, but he could not beat this one (amused that I wanted their picture)!