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 7: Minor Mosque

Situated along the left bank of the ancient Angor canal running through the center of Tashkent, the Minor Mosque is a brand new example of monumental architecture in the post-independence era of Uzbekistan.  The first President of the Republic, Islam Karimov, ordered its construction through an executive order that a mosque should be built within … Continue reading Day 7: Minor Mosque

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 20: Palace of Arts – Turkistan

Located between Independence Square and the Monument of Courage, directly across the street from Tashkent's Crying Mother Monument, the Palace of Arts "Turkiston" is another of the Uzbek capital city's most imposing Soviet era monuments visitors will find hard to miss. Construction started in the final days of the USSR, but was derailed by lack of … Continue reading Day 20: Palace of Arts – Turkistan

Day 21: Uzbek Wine

Uzbekistan is hardly world renowned for its contribution to the global viticulture industry, but grapes have been cultivated in Central Asia for more than 2,000 years.  Zoroastrians were famous for their wine making skills, and this tradition survived the muslim conquest into the later middle ages, under Russian Imperial influence, during Soviet times, and through … Continue reading Day 21: Uzbek Wine

Day 24: Tapchan

Uzbeks have relaxing down to an art form.  So much so that they invented a special piece of furniture that can be used all day and all night, without having to get up for anything... well, almost anything.  A staple of Central Asian culture, the tapchan is basically a raised platform used for relaxing and … Continue reading Day 24: Tapchan

Day 25: Manti

Rounding out the national food countdown, today we feature manti, an Uzbek stuffed dumpling, likely spread all over Eurasia by the Mongols in the 13th century, and ever since as a staple food of travelers along the great silk road.  Like lag'mon, manti features prominently as an ethnic cuisine across the Turkic speaking world, and … Continue reading Day 25: Manti

Day 26: Ayaz Qala

Newly independent from the Achaemenid Empire, the Ayaz Qala fortress was built by ancient Khwarazmian kings in the 3rd or 4th century BC to protect the fertile frontier from raiders on the edge of the vast expanse of the inhospitable Karakum Desert.  It was during this time that the Khwarazmians formed an alliance with Alexander the … Continue reading Day 26: Ayaz Qala

Day 27: Amir Timur Museum

If Amir Timur Square is a ring, the State Museum of the History of the Timurids is a precious stone decorating it, or so said the first President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, when he dedicated the museum in 1996.  After independence, Uzbekistan needed a national hero.  President Karimov was a fan of Amir Timur from early … Continue reading Day 27: Amir Timur Museum

Day 28: Tash-Hovli Palace

The Kuhna-Ark, which is located near the western gate of Khiva's Itchan Kala, served as the primary palace of the Khans for the better part of 400 years.  Built primarily as a fortress, the Ark was more purpose built for military use rather than as a lavish residence. Rather than have his residence in a … Continue reading Day 28: Tash-Hovli Palace