Uzbekistan Day 10

First up today was the Afrasiyab Museum. The main attraction was a large mural that had been discovered as part of an archaeological dig near the museum which is located on a hilltop next to the old city walls. I suspect some artistic license was taken on what exactly the frieze showed as it was quoted damaged in places. The rest of the museum showed artifacts discovered at the site along with examples of how people lived back then. After leaving the museum we attempted to cut through the Jewish cemetery. It…

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Uzbekistan Day 9

First on today's wander around Samerkand was the Observatory of Ulughbeg. Built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer Ulugh Beg it was destroyed in 1449 and only rediscovered in 1908. Ulugh Beg determined the length of the tropical year as 365d 5h 49m 15s, which has an error of +25s, making it more accurate than Nicolaus Copernicus' estimate which had an error of +30s. Not much remains today of the original building apart from the sextant arc which has been partially excavated. However there is a great little museum next to…

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Uzbekistan Day 8

After what was probably just 2-3 hours sleep I got up at 5.30am and braved the freezing cold showers. The sun was just up and the rest of the camp was quiet. After a basic breakfast we set off for Lake Aidarkul. The Lake Aidarkul site seemed half built and unfinished but is presumably owned by the same company that owned the yurt camp. However it was on the edge of the lake (which is very large) and had a sandy beach, complete with sun loungers. Clearly in a few years there…

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Uzbekistan Day 7

The first stop of the day was to visit the Gijduvan Ceramics Museum. It's been run by the same family for many years and recently the father Abdullo Narzullaev, has been awarded a National Master Artisan award by the current Prime Minister of Uzbekistan. They've been creating pottery, embroidery and carpets for many, many generations and the quality and scope showed their experience. It was particularly amazing to see them doing the pottery on a really small wonky wheel. The guy was throwing pots from the hump and after creating a large…

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Uzbekistan Day 6

This morning we headed off on a short drive to just outside the main Bukhara city in order to see the Sitora-i Mokhi Khosa or the Summer Palace of Bukharan Emirs. The term Sitora-i Mokhi Khosa means the palace of the star like the moon and is named after one of the Emir's wives who died in childbirth. The palace grounds are filled with many peacocks and most of the buildings now - reception room, secretary room, guest house, etc - are now small museums on a particular topic or history. As…

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Uzbekistan Day 4 & 5

Day 4 was pretty uneventful. A long drive from Khiva to Bukhara. The drive started okay with a new concrete road cutting through the Khorezm desert. However after lunch this all changed. The road isn't completed, so just over 100km from our destination it turned into a combination of potholes surrounded by a little tarmac, half dusty dirty track, half road remains, or in some places seemingly no road at all. Despite this, after a 9 hour drive (and with all the bumps, feeling like my internal organs had all shifted around)…

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