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Asia » Uzbekistan » Samarkand March 30th 2019

It is already our last day in Samarkand. I was hoping to step into a desert scene, complete with camel caravans, colorfully wrapped traders, and a bustling marketplace. We found two out of three. Mostly what Samarkand is today is a large and vibrantly modern city. The population in these cities in Uzbekistan is slowly growing; as it was in Turkmenistan, new construction is everywhere. So many cars, fine restaurants, young students, beautiful city parks with fresh green grass and flowering trees can be seen, but also old blocklike USSR buildings dot the streets; all this is Samarkand today. But one can also see domes, mosques, tombs, mausoleums and minarets in Samarkand; it is an ancient city that, like Bukhara, was totally destroyed by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, and rebuilt to become the capital ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Bukhara March 28th 2019

Yesterday we rode our second bullet train, this time from Bukhara to legendary Samarkand. One and a half hours on the train was far preferable to six hours riding in a bus (which is what our luggage did). We passed from desert to fertile lands, seeing acres of fruit trees recently planted and starting to grow. One of the nicest surprises I have found in this part of the world is a blossoming springtime. Expecting mostly desert and seeing flowering apple and cherry trees is an unforeseen delight. But we are still in the northern hemisphere, so spring should have been expected; I had just forgotten about it living in early springtime's frozen white country of northern Maine where we won't find blossoms until May. Seeing a lovely spring here now is a wonderful treat! Several ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Bukhara March 24th 2019

Riding six hours in a new bullet train from Khiva to near Bukhara was an experience. The cars were new, the wide and comfortable assigned seats were new, but the bathroom in car #2 was as smelly as any poorly kept outhouse. Our tour director, Anait, cleverly circumvented part of the potential problem of boredom leading to complaints by offering us "morning coffee": paper coffee cups filled with vodka and juice, heavy on the vodka. It certainly mellowed people, and predictably led to many of us falling asleep for a long morning's nap. Still, a few of us were ready to deboard much earlier than the train trip's end. Watching the desert as we rode along was the first time I felt we were in Silk Road countries; that train route truly follows the Great Silk ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan May 27th 2017

Heiß, eng im Van, weil unser uzbekischer Führer brettlbreit im Bus sitzt, ohne Gedanken an.... Aber das erwähnte ich ja schon. Riesige Schläge mit Baumwolle. Sie ist momentan etwa 20 - 30 cm hoch und man muss Unkraut jäten. Meist steht da EINE Person mit einem Hackl und arbeitet in der Gluthitze. Und wie immer: die Männer treffen die wichtigen Entscheidungen, wie Beitritt zur Union Asiatischer Staaten etc, während die Frauen die Arbeit machen. Das Teehaus für die Mittagspause näherte sich, wir hielten., weil da MR standen. Und dann große Freude: Peter ging's schlecht, er konnte nicht weiterfahren, ob ich...? Die Umstehenden meinten, dass ich vier Nanosekunden gebraucht habe, um ja zu sagen. ich bin mir aber völlig sicher, dass es nicht so lange gedauert hat. Es ist natürlich sehr peinlich, dass ich zugeben muss, dass ... read more
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Asia » Uzbekistan » Samarkand May 26th 2017

aus völlig unerfindlichen Gründen, hatte ich keine Lust, zu schreiben. Siehe gestrigen Eintrag.... Hier eine Kurzzusammenfassung. Tag 32, 22.05.17, nach Khiva, Grenzübergang Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan wir brauchten sieben Stunden für die Abwicklung. Unsere Prinzessin flippte aus und begann die Grenzbeamten zu beschimpfen. Weil die Dame ja aus Neuseeland kommt, ist sie der englischen Sprache mächtig. Einige Grenzbeamten auch. Daher kam es zu einem diiplomatischen Konflikt, denn die Männer waren zu Recht grantig. Sie machten halt einfach ihre Arbeit. Und die dauert halt. Kann man nichts machen. Die Gruppe war alles zwischen sprachlos und wütend. Trevor, ihr Wärter, zwang sie dazu, sich zu entschuldigen bei allen. Und nun beten wir, dass sie die Sache nicht nochmal kompliziert. Tag 33, in Kiva, 23.05. eine der wichtigen Städte an der Seidenstraße. Die gesamte Alt... read more
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Asia » Uzbekistan February 22nd 2017

Hello Everyone! I would like to share the details of my recent trip to Uzbekistan. Being from neighboring country, it was always in my mind to visit this beautiful and historical place. We have so much in common. Our traditions, our history, our origins have same root. By the way, I am from Kazakhstan. So let me inform you first of all, that my trip wasn't planned well in advance. It just happened that one snowy day I wanted to go somewhere sunny and warm. I started looking into many countries, but most affordable one appeared to be Uzbekistan. Number one, there was very good airfare offer, number two I was always in touch with my goof friends from Tashkent and finally, number three, I am big fan of historical places. I took my laptop and ... read more
Gur-e-Amir, Samarkand
Gur-e-Amir, Samarkand
Amir Temur

Asia » Uzbekistan » Tashkent November 9th 2016

After packing up and paying the B&B we headed back to Bibi-Khanym mosque. we liked it not being perfectly restored like all the others, it made it feel more authentic. You can’t really capture on a photo how massive they are. Knowing that we probably won’t see anything like it again for a long time we hung out and took our time. Aside from Khiva where we had a cold wet day and the first day in Tashkent which was the opposite, the weather had been perfect autumn days reaching about 18 in the day and dropping with the sun, until it disappears about 6pm’ish and then it gets distinctly chilly. Today it was sunny but there was a Siberian breeze so when we got too chilly gawking at the mosque we moved onto the bazaar. ... read more
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Asia » Uzbekistan » Samarkand November 7th 2016

We slept well but still had a leisurely start to the day – we’re on holiday. We reconsidered about breakfast being ok when it gave us both stomach ache so we took a very slow walk to the Registan, our first stop. The guidebook describes it as arguably the most awesome single sight in Central Asia. The 3 buildings are among the world’s oldest preserved madrassas (Genghis Khan having destroyed the older stuff), the oldest having been completed in 1420. They are huge. We paid the entrance fee and went into each, highlights were in Tilly-Kari Madrassa (the middle one); the mosque as it is intricately decorated in gold and the young girl who took us into her family’s shop in what used to be a professor’s room, where she explained the meaning behind the symbols ... read more
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Grapes

Asia » Uzbekistan » Samarkand November 6th 2016

We didn't need to leave for Bukhara train station until after lunch so we planned on taking the morning slowly. It was just as well as Marie had taken some antibiotics a couple of days earlier that had massively improved her stomach so her body decided it was safe to cough all of the Delhi pollution off her chest and so she coughed her head off all night, and sneezed, and got a runny nose (which is not very convenient as blowing your nose in public is considered rude). After checking out we dumped our bags off in the breakfast room and talked to the woman who owned it in broken English and broken Uzbek whilst her husband corrected an error on our registration slips. Uzbekistan has stricter registration rules than most of the other 'stans'. ... read more
photo gallery
the train
our room in Samarkand

Asia » Uzbekistan » Bukhara November 5th 2016

We got up at a leisurely time and after breakfasting in what looked like the boiler room (which was hot inside) we headed out to see the sights properly. We first went back to Kalon Minaret and after poking our noses into the medressa we paid to go into the mosque. With a large courtyard and deep sides with large arched ceiling it is big enough to hold 10,000 people. We had it almost to ourselves - tour groups had clearly had a more leisurely start to the day than us. Next we walked over to the Ark a royal town which is Bukhara oldest structure and has been occupied since the 5th century. We checked out the mosque, courtyard and each of the small museums but didn't think it was worth the hefty entrance fee. ... read more
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