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UZBEKISTAN


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

Over-budgeting meant I had some extra som, so splashed the cash on a private taxi from Khiva to Nukus, gateway to the Aral Sea and my border crossing to Turkmenistan - October 2018.

 

uzbeknote3The 10,000 Som note (just over $1) was only introduced in 2017. Before that changing money meant carrying a huge wad of notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbekoldnoteThe first post-Soviet Uzbek Som, from 1992

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek474Nukus is the capital of the autonomous region of Karakalpakstan

 

uzbek476After taking this picture of a newly married couple posing in front of the Savitsky Museum, I was brought in for a group photo by the boisterous guy on the right - Nukus

 

uzbek478The city is centred on the large square surrounding the Savitsky Museum. The museum is home to a huge art collection, much of which otherwise would have been destroyed during Soviet times - Nukus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek480 The Karakalpakstan flag flies to the left of the Uzbekistan national flag - Nukus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek472The picture painted of Nukus in guide books is of a down-at-heel, semi-deserted town. I wouldn't go out of my way to visit but the centre looks fine and, apart from several new but empty shops, there was plenty of activity and a couple of very good restaurants. Perhaps it's the discovery of oil that's revitalising the region, which has been hit hard by the Aral Sea's disappearance

 

uzbek486A statue of Karakalpak poet Berdaq stands in front of the legislative assembly of Karakalpakstan on Independence Square, a short walk from the Savitsky Museum - Nukus

 

uzbek489Crossing an offshoot of the Amu Darya River on the start of a one-day tour to Moynaq, on what was the edge of the Aral Sea - Nukus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek500First stop were the mausoleums, tombs and mosques of Mizdakhan, close to the Turkmenistan border at Hojeli

 

uzbek506Mizdakhan was settled around the 4th century BC but the necropolis continued to be added to through the 20th century, with many Russians from the Soviet-era being fenced off with metal railings

 

uzbek498Legend has it that Tchamun Nabi was a giant, hence the need for a 25m long tomb - Mizdakhan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek510On a hill opposite Mizdakhan are the ruins of Gyaur-Kala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek512The local public toilet is the common cesspit in the ground, but at least the straw surrounds are cute - Mizdakhan

 

uzbek516Gyaur-Kala was a fortress also built around the 4th century BC but its history is a bit vague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek517The hillside tombs of Mizdakhan with the ruins of Gyaur-Kala in the foreground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek358In the autumn you'll see many workers in the cotton fields on the drive from Nukus to Moynaq

 

uzbek520Standing on a mountain of cotton - Nukus to Moynaq

 

uzbek521Fooled! Keep an eye out for cardboard police cars, which have flashing lights at night. They're all over the country - Nukus to Moynaq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek526Standing beneath the welcome sign to Moynaq, which used to be one of the Aral Sea's major fishing ports (notice the fish on the sign), but is now a massive 150-200km away

 

uzbek546The museum and rusting ships are at the end of a long road through the centre of Moynaq

 

uzbek540Museum photos show the receding Aral Sea. In the 1960s the Soviet Union diverted rivers feeding the lake for crop irrigation, including cotton - Moynaq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek556What was the world's fourth largest lake began to shrink. This is the former sea bed, now overlooked by the Aral Sea Memorial - Moynaq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek562Beached ships around Moynaq have been moved here to form part of the memorial to the destruction of the Aral Sea. The desertification of the lake, mixed with salt and industrial pollution, created a toxic dust blown through the region, causing many illnesses including cancers and infant mortality - Moynaq

 

uzbek566Clamber aboard the rusting ships but mind your step! - Moynaq

 

uzbek569Kazakhstan has dammed the north section of the lake, which has seen a rise in water level - Moynaq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek570Two/three day tours by 4-wheel drive to the Aral Sea are available, usually involving camping at the water's edge - Moynaq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

uzbek571Don't understand this biscuit.. Lunch in Moynaq

 

ussr noteussr note2I found a Soviet 1,000 Ruble note as well as a Soviet coin in one of the Uzbekistan bazaars

 

uzbek572The following day I took a taxi past Mizdakhan and on to the Turkmenistan border at Hojeli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

LINKS

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

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

www.karakalpak.com - Guide to Karakalpakstan

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
   
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