Day 3: Fayoz-Tepe

While Kara-Tepe may be the more exciting Buddhist monastical complex, located well within the sensitive border zone, requiring advance permission, nice view of Afghanistan, and shrapnel mixed in among the ancient pot shards, Fayoz-Tepe is decidedly the more monumental of the two.  They're even within sight of each other, and date from the same period, … Continue reading Day 3: Fayoz-Tepe

Day 4: Ming O’rik

With such an impressive history dating back to the very dawn of humanity, Uzbekistan's smaller, but nonetheless significant architectural sites are often forgotten in favor of the three big silk road highlights.  The Khiva, Samarkand, and Bukhara travelers see today represent only a fraction of the thousands of years of history worth exploring in this … Continue reading Day 4: Ming O’rik

Day 5: Kara-Tepe

The most extensive Buddhist monastical complex yet discovered in Uzbekistan, the Kara-Tepe archeological site is spread over three sections and dates from the second century AD when territory united under the Kushan Empire enabled Buddhism to spread from India northwards along the silk road.  The three sections represent three distinct architectural periods, with the uppermost … Continue reading Day 5: Kara-Tepe

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 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 41: Ulugbek Observatory

Affairs of the state often kept Ulugbek from his passion for the stars, but being Sultan comes with its perks.  In addition to founding three madrassas to advance the world's understanding of astronomy and mathematics, the Timurid ruler also built one of the most important observatories of the Middle Ages in his capital city of … Continue reading Day 41: Ulugbek Observatory

Day 59: Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum

"Tomb of the King" in Persian, Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum is the final resting place of Uzbek National Hero, Amir Timur.  Located on the former southwestern edge of Samarkand, the Mausoleum of Tamerlane fell into decay along with the rest of the city in the 17th century after Bukhara regained it's former prominence as the more important … Continue reading Day 59: Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum

Day 60: Itchan Kala

If you had to pick a quintessential silk-road storybook destination, one that preserves that ancient caravan route ambiance, massive walls rising out the desert, palaces and minarets poking up above the dunes into the sky over the horizon, Khiva's Itchan Kala is what you have been looking for. Khiva fulfills all the Central Asia expectations and … Continue reading Day 60: Itchan Kala

Day 26: Exploring Pompeii

Pompeii has been on my bucket list for a while because of the amazing aura surrounding it. How often does one get to take in a 7th-6th century BC city with Etruscan, Greek, and Roman elements inside of it? Or glimpse the evidence of Roman life and conquer, completely preserved due to the eruption of … Continue reading Day 26: Exploring Pompeii