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UZBEKISTAN


Location - Central Asia; Capital - Tashkent; Population - 32 million; Currency - Som MORE UZBEKISTAN

An overnight flight to Tashkent with Uzbekistan Airways (flight was fine but zero legspace!) was the start of just over three weeks in Central Asia. And I'd certainly recommend a visit to this country, which has recently relaxed its entry requirements and improved its frosty and bureacratic reputation among foreign visitors - September 2018.

 

uzbeknote1There used to be a huge black market for the Som, but it vanished in 2017 after the official rate was placed above the black market rate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek3The Tashkent metro stations are pretty fancy, this one being Kosmonavtlar (aka Cosmonaut). Photography was banned until 2018, possibly because the network can double as a nuclear shelter - Tashkent

 

uzbek5Among others there's a mural of Yuri Gagarin at Kosmonavtlar, the first man to travel to outer space - Tashkent

 

uzbek12But not everything's futuristic in Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek13Walking through the water park with the TV Tower behind - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek15A 10 minute walk from Bodomzor station is the Minor Mosque, built in 2014 - Tashkent

 

uzbek16Uzbek women leaving the Minor Mosque - Tashkent

 

uzbek17Follow the river south from the mosque and you'll come across Cafe Olympia, which has a great setting in a park, settled among the trees - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek19 Near the cafe is the Monument of Courage - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek22The Crying Mother Monument is dedicated to the 400,000 Uzbek soldiers who died in World War II - Tashkent

 

uzbek21Next to the monument are several prayer wheels, usually associated with Buddhism - Tashkent

 

uzbek25First ruler of the Timurid dynasty Amir Timur, aka Tamerlane, stands outside the Soviet relic that is Hotel Uzbekistan - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek29The 'souvenirs of Uzbekistan' fair was taking place, featuring food stalls, weaving, rugs and lots of clothes & accessories - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek32Former president Islam Karimov took Uzbekistan to independence in 1991. He was known to the outside world for his poor human rights record, plus his supporting of a US airbase in Karshi until their forced withdrawal following the Andijan massacre. The statue stands outside the Aqsaroy Presidential Palace, his workplace until he died in 2016 - Tashkent

 

uzbek36On Khast Imom Square are the Hazroti Imom Friday Mosque, the Barak Khan Medressa and Abu Bakr Kaffal Shoshi Mausoleum. I'd say if you're going to Samarkand & Bukhara and you're short of time in Tashkent, skip the mosques and madrasahs in the capital (you'll see plenty of them!) - Tashkent

 

uzbek37A different take on McDonald's - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek47The streets leading to Chorsu Bazaar are lined with traders - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek42Chorsu Bazaar was the best market I visited in Cerntral Asia, bustling and with plenty of atmosphere - Tashkent

 

uzbek41I thought these were semi-precious stones but it's sugar - Tashkent

 

uzbek46 It's mainly food but there's a smattering of clothing and souvenirs on sale - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek48You''ll see these signs all over Central Asia - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek50The Uzbek flag flies in front of Istiklol Palace - Tashkent

 

uzbek52Another Soviet relic on the edge of Navoi Park is the Olly Majlis, the country's parliament - Tashkent

 

uzbek55A short walk from the train station is Assumption Cathedral, an Orthodox church - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek58The 250km/hr Afrosiyob is a fast and comfortable way around the country, linking Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara. There's also a new trainline to Khiva soon to be opened - Tashkent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek59Breakfast tables in my slightly quirky hostel in Samarkand

 

uzbek63The big draw in Uzbekistan and all of Central Asia is the Registan - Samarkand

 

uzbek64The Registan comprises three madrasahs (the Arabic word for school): Ulugbek (left), Tilla-Kari (centre) and Sher Dor (right) - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek68The 15th century Ulugbek Madrasah is the oldest of the three - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek72The 17th century Sher Dor Madrasah is also called the Lion Madrasah after the lions (or tigers?) depicted on the entrance - Samarkand

 

uzbek126The amazing blue and turquoise tilework adorning the Registan - Samarkand

 

uzbek89A lovely photo of Uzbek women from the Fergana Valley on holiday in Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek90Walk through Tilla-Kari Madrasah to a courtyard edged with this mosque - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek84Inside the mosque, which also has a small museum - Samarkand

 

uzbek86Blue and gold are the colours of choice in this part of the world, this being the mosque ceiling - Samarkand

 

uzbek105Pier down from the top of Ulugbek Madrasah's minaret - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek97Past Tilla-Kari Madrasah on the horizon is the huge Bibi-Khanym Mosque - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek141Lining the madrasahs are the dormitory rooms - Samarkand

 

uzbek117Most of the rooms have been converted to souvenir shops - Samarkand

 

uzbek80..though a couple have made a stab of replicating a 19th century student's dormitory - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek108Arabic script mixes with azure mosaics - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek122When the Registan lights up at night it looks stunning - Samarkand

 

uzbek124I gather the evening entry is a relatively new introduction - it's a separate entry fee and opens an hour or two after the site closes for the day - Samarkand

 

uzbek143A view of Sher Dor Madrasah from Ulugbek Madrasah - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek130The ornate dormitory rooms - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek135Only a few souvenir shops were open in the evening, though I guess that depends on the number of visitors - Samarkand

 

uzbek125The evening ticket is different from the Sound & Light Show, which is held on special occasions (or presumably when a tour group pays for it!) - Samarkand - Samarkand

 

uzbek148The Tilla-Kari Madrasah - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek151In the centre of a roundabout is a statue of Amir Timur, who was born near Shakhrisabz, an hour's drive south of Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek155The entrance to Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum - Samarkand

 

uzbek162The mausoleum is the resting place of Amir Timur, aka Tamerlane, who conquered much of Central Asia and the Middle East towards India at the end of the 14th century - Samarkand

 

uzbek163Blue and golden mosaics adorn the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek165A mural on the side Registon ko'chasi building - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek167A popular restaurant with tourists, on the main road close to the Registan - Samarkand

 

uzbek169A newly married couple pose for photos beneath a statue of former president Islam Karimov - Samarkand

 

uzbek174Gumbaz Synagogue serves the 200+ Jews living in Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek175You'll come across plenty of melons in Uzbekistan - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek184The small domed building in the centre of the Hazrat-Hizr Mosque complex houses the tomb of former president Islam Karimov - Samarkand

 

uzbek183Hazrat-Hizr Mosque was restored in the 1990s - Samarkand

 

uzbek185A great view of Bibi-Khanym Mosque from Hazrat-Hizr Mosque - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek198More lovely tilework, this time of Bibi-Khanym Mosque - Samarkand

 

uzbek187A cool place to relax for a drink is the Samarkand Art House, set beneath Bibi-Khanym Mosque - Samarkand

 

uzbek204But even better are taking off your footwear and sitting or lying on a tapchan, a Central Asian table-cum-bed - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek206Ulugbek was a 15th century Timurid leader more noted for his work as an astronomer - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek207The remaining section of Ulugbek's observatory, which would have been used to see the stars back in the 15th century - Samarkand

 

uzbek209The Afrosiab Museum houses a 7th century fresco from the Sogdian kingdom - Samarkand

 

uzbek222Shah-e-Zinda is a must-see series of mausoleums spanning several centuries - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek226There's as many pilgrims here as foreign tourists which makes it a busy place - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek228I wasn't expecting it to be particularly impressive but it's a highlight of a visit to Samarkand if you're an admirer of azure tilework

 

uzbek230Uzbek bread is a speciality, with different designs depending on which part of the country you're in. But with me being a Coeliac I didn't touch it with a bargepole - Samarkand

 

uzbek231I'm sure the stall-holder called these rectangular blocks halva, but it was a blend of milk and sugar more like fudge. Whatever it was it tasted good! - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek233I guess someone forked out for the Sound and Light show - Samarkand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek236A potted history of civilizations is projected on to Tilla-Kari Madrasah. Tickets are limited but there's plenty of space outside the ticketed roped-off area. I say plenty of space but it gets mighty busy with locals wanting a peak!- Samarkand

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2019 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

www.advantour.com - A Central Asian tour operator but website has a wealth of information

https://caravanistan.com - Main resource for all things Central Asian - extremely useful

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
   
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