Page 5 of Redheadpeter Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Uzbekistan » Bukhara September 26th 2014

Geo: 39.7659, 64.4223Sorry, another brief history lesson. Bokhara had been a city on the Silk Road for a long time but blossomed under the Samanids in the 9th and 10th century and at its height it had over 300 mosques and 100 medrassas (my other book says 250) which schooled pupils from as far away as Yemen and Andalucia and had a Royal Library containing 45,000 volumes. Here flourished many notable Islamic scholars, scientists, philosophers etc including Avicenna who at the age of 18 cured the ruler of a chronic illness and was granted access to the library - to which he later added many works. Wrecked by Ghengis Khan it flourished again in the time of Timur, though he had moved the capital to Samarkand.Suffering from a shortage of water the city was built around ... read more
40 column mosque - 20 are reflections
Domes of a covered bazaar
Char Minar - off the front of the guide books

Asia » Uzbekistan » Samarkand September 22nd 2014

Geo: 39.6576, 66.9476Samarkand - in the footsteps of TimurWhere do you start with Samarkand. Taken in 329BC by AlexanderThe Great who married Roxana, daughter of a local chieftain. A key city on the Silk Road, then sacked by Ghengis Kahn in 1220. In 1370 Timur decided to make it his capital and poured a vast fortune into creating buildings worthy of him. After his death his grandson Ulugbek ruled until 1449. Ulugbek was also a prominent scientist - he built a huge observatory.In the 16th Century the capital was moved to Bokhara and Samarkand went into decline. Over the years the great buildings decayed until the Soviets embarked on a huge programme of restoraton to promote the tourist industry. (see later)My arrival in Samarkand was not on a golden road but on the AfroSiaob bullet train ... read more
Timur's mausoleum
He rests under the black slab
Uzbeks admiring the dome

Asia » Uzbekistan » Tashkent September 20th 2014

Geo: 41.3052, 69.269Uzbekistan feels different, even before you've crossed the border. The customs people get you to fill in a double-sided customs declaration (in duplicate) listing the amount ofn every currency you are carrying and every item of value (camera, computer, phone etc). They looked up my medicines on the computer and insisted on listing them - how they will cope with my having usd them I don't know. They x-ray everything, they question every book, apparently if it has anything to do with the history of Uzbekistan it gets confiscated, but as only 1 of them speaks any English and none of them seem to read it you could tell them they were fairy stories and they would be none the wiser.Then in the 400 km drive from the border to Tashkent we had to ... read more
and that...and it's my hotel!
basketry at the market
the market

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Osh September 19th 2014

Geo: 40.5236, 72.799In the centre of Osh there is a 5-peaked mountain, considered sacred. It is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Kyrgyzstan. On top of the first peak there is a little prayer room supposedly built (well the original was built) in 1497 by Zahiruddin Babur who went on to be the progenitor of the Mogul Dynasty. It is said Mohammed once prayed there himself - without much supporting evidence. There are various other caves and ritual places and a cave on the far peak now accomodates a museum. So that's the number one sight in Osh.The people of Osh claim that as a city it is older than Rome. Whether that be true or not it was an important town on the Silk route though little remains of any architectural splendour. It's trading ... read more
The view from the top
Men in hats admiring the view
The Prayer Room

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Osh September 17th 2014

Geo: 40.5236, 72.799Compared to the lonely beauty of lake Song Kul the much larger and more populated Issyk Kul was a bit of a come-down. It's big - 170 kms long, but a lot of the time the road is some way from the lake so you don't get the views, you are also travelling through endless mall villages. On the southern side there were places where the road was close to the lakeshore and there were numerous examples of attempts to start a tourist industry by the construction of hotels - all of which seem to have failed and the now stand empty and ghostly by the shore. I did take a diversion into one of the alpine valleys in the mountains to the south which ended up in a park, with picnic tables, and ... read more
and the splendid isolation he is in
Lake Issyk Kul beach
red squirrel

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek September 16th 2014

Geo: 42.87, 74.5879... read more

Asia » Kyrgyzstan September 15th 2014

Geo: 41.7918, 75.2179... read more

Asia » Kyrgyzstan September 14th 2014

Geo: 42.5005, 78.4039Since last i wrote I've spent mot of my time in cities. Took a rather swish train from Shymkent to Almaty (second city of Kazakhstan) and looked around that for a day then took a share taxi to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan.Now in cities you do the normal city things, visit museums and galleries, churches and what-not, maybe a bit of shopping. And that's exactly what I did in Almaty and Bishkek.Almaty is a thriving, wealthy town (rich on oil money) and they flaunt it through their flash Bentleys and Mercedes - but they don't spend it on their museums and art galleries. The churches had also been closed and turned into museums during the Soviet period but they have now been returned to the Orthodox Church and, as always, money has been forthcoming ... read more
and the inside
stunning Soviet war memorial
Bishkek - games in the park

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek September 11th 2014

Geo: 42.87, 74.5879... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty September 9th 2014

Geo: 43.2551, 76.9126... read more

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