Shahr I Zindah

Phallic towers of the Shahr i Zindah shrine in Samarkand

Bibi Khanum mosque Samarkand
The Bibi Khanum mosque in the Samarkand old town is one of the four great Timurid monuments in Timur's power base.  Though the rest of the modern city has been thoroughly sovietified, the electric colours and persian-style mosaics of these masterpieces were well restored and maintained by the Soviets and continue to be among the finest examples of their kind in the world.  The word for the colour turquoise stemmed from this light blue, deriving from the Turkic peoples that lived here in Uzbekistan, and before that, the historic land of Transoxiana.


Registan Samarkand

The Registan complex is the trademark emblem of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Central Asia, and the entire Silk Road.  Nothing, including the corrupt guards who let you climb one of the minarets for a small bribe, detracts from its magnificence or grandeur.  Timur himself thought so highly of its beauty that he later had the eyes plucked out of the artists whom he had brought in from the distant reaches of his empire to build  these  sublime creations.


 Tashkent Tezykovka

Tezykovka Market, Tashkent.  "everything from nails to nukes"


Tashkent trumpets

Traditional Uzbek trumpeters heralding a theatre performance in Tashkent



Shakhrisabz market

Onion sellers in the farmer's market of Shakhrisabz, the hometown of Timur (Tamerlane)

Mosaic Bukhara

Mosaic design in the Persian tradition, in Bukhara

bukhara bolshoi rynok Broom merchants at the bolshoy Rynok (great market) of Bukhara

Bukhara carpet market

Carpet market in Bukhara

Ismail samani shrine Bukhara

Ismail Samani shrine in Bukhara

Bukhara madrassah

Madrassah in Bukhara

Khiva by night

The old city (Ichon Qala) of Khiva by night.

Moynaq boats

Rusting fishing boats abandoned at the former port town of Moynaq by the recession of the Aral Sea in the 1980s

Moynaq fish market

Fish merchants in the makeshift market of Moynaq.  The fish comes from nearby lakes and not the salt-poisoned Aral Sea.

Mutant ted
Two years on the road takes its toll on world travellers.  This one has been transformed into a mutant whose eyeballs have been converted into the ultra-sour yoghurt balls called kurut that Uzbeks love to eat.  Vendors carrying pails of these balls walk through public buses and business is horrifyingly brisk.