Day 8: Kampyr Tepe – Alexandria Oxiana

In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great was extending the reach of Hellenic influence eastward during his conquest of Central Asia in the area known in the classical era as Transoxiana, that is the land beyond the Oxus, an area today shared by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.  Wherever Alexander went, settlements and fortifications were … Continue reading Day 8: Kampyr Tepe – Alexandria Oxiana

Day 9: Zangiata Complex

In 12th and 13th century Tashkent there lived a well respected Sufi mystic, Sheikh Ay-hoja Zangi-Ata, literally "Dark Father" owing to his dark complexion, who was revered by the local people, and subsequently by 14th century Uzbek national hero, Amir Timur.  Having hailed from abroad, likely from a noble family in Saudi Arabia, Zangiata spent … Continue reading Day 9: Zangiata Complex

Day 10: Buddhist Stupa of Zurmala

We never got our Uzbek cotton field experience until we decided to visit the archeological wonderland of Termez and vicinity in June 2018.  After a short drive from the 3rd century AD Buddhist monastery of Fayoz-Tepe into the dusty countryside, we turned off the main road and down to the end of a dirt track … Continue reading Day 10: Buddhist Stupa of Zurmala

Day 11: Mirobod Bazaar

Mirobod was our first "Bazaar" experience in Tashkent when moved here in 2015.  Bizarre would be good way to describe our initial visit, and it still isn't my preferred shopping method, but if you want access to the best quality produce and don't mind bargaining for every single item on your shopping list, a trip … Continue reading Day 11: Mirobod Bazaar

Day 12: Mausoleum of Al-Hakim al-Termizi

The Al-Hakim al-Termizi complex on the edge of old-Termez is a conglomerate of several structures built from the 11th to 15th centuries dedicated to the 9th century Sufi mystic, great early Islamic author, and most important representative of Central Asian Sufism, Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Ali bin Hasan bin Bashir Al Hakim At-Termizi.  Born in … Continue reading Day 12: Mausoleum of Al-Hakim al-Termizi

Day 15: Buddhism in Uzbekistan

Before there were Chinese Buddhists, before there were Korean Buddhists, and before there were Japanese Buddhists, there were Uzbek Buddhists, or at least late Greco-Bactrian and Kushan Buddhists.  As Mahayana Buddhism spread out of India through Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan, Termez became a center of Buddhist teaching at an essential hub on the silk road.  From … Continue reading Day 15: Buddhism in Uzbekistan

Day 16: Kyr Kyz Fortress

Across the Turkic world the legend of the kirk-kiz is associated with any number of places.  The Kyr Kyz fortress in Termez is one of these, but the legend is just that... a legend.  The common theme with all of these local legends involve the so-called "forty virgins" depending on the version of the story … Continue reading Day 16: Kyr Kyz Fortress

Day 17: Jarkurgan Minaret

Jarkurgan is a small dusty town about 60km north of Termez, the last place you'd expect to find a standalone medieval minaret, but in the early 12th century, this place was a bustling stop along the ancient silk road, and the minaret served as a beacon to travelers guiding them to the safety of the … Continue reading Day 17: Jarkurgan Minaret

Day 18: Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge

Just east of Termez, on the second most fortified border in the world, is the ironically named "Friendship Bridge" which has linked the two countries of  Uzbekistan and Afghanistan since 1982.  Built during the peak of the Soviet-Afghan War, it is the only crossing on the Afghan-Uzbek border.  This spot was chosen specially due to … Continue reading Day 18: Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge

Day 19: Greater Chimgan

Charvak is a great place for a lake holiday, but if you continue a bit further up the twisting mountain roads you'll eventually meet the tallest point in eastern Uzbekistan, the 3309 meter (10,856 feet) Chimgan peak. Snow capped until early June, with snowfields preserved on its northern slopes year round, this mountain retreat serves … Continue reading Day 19: Greater Chimgan