16. Travel report: Uzbekistan 26.6.2008 - 19.7.2008
Bukhara, Kiva, Samarkand, Tashkent
The town of Bukhara is Central Asia’s holiest city with buildings showing a thousand years of history, masterpieces of oriental architecture, full of medressas with beautiful tiling work and a massive royal fortress. One night at two o’clock, just a day before our departure, the windows and doors were shaking from a shockwave. The reason was an explosion of a military warehouse 20 km away. This was for locals and tourists a frightful experience, because at that time, nobody knew what was happening.
Visiting the town of Kiva was very rewarding; even so there was a strenuous bus drive of 12 hours to be endured. Kiva is the only city in Central Asia which is preserved in its entirety with city walls and gates, mosques, medressas and minarets. The city was famous up to the 19th century for the slave market. For the slave caravans it meant a terrible journey across deserts and steppes infested with wild tribesmen.
Samarkand – when we heard this word before, it meant dreaming of the orient. And now we reached this city and were able to see all the historical monuments with its centre piece, the Registan.
To Tashkent, the modern capital of Uzbekistan, we only visited to pick up visas for the traveling on. This visa story would easily fill another page. But there was also a sunny to this. Being 7 cyclists, all having the same problems, and spending the evenings together, having a great time.
On 20th July we will cycle on to Tajikistan,. We are glad to leaving the hot plain and soon being in the mountains.