Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Saleswoman displays a loaf of bread in a market in Samarkand.
Sellers bring more bread to a roadside market in the Fergana region.
Maruf' Jon
Baker Maruf'Jon and an assistant bake bread in their bakery in Margilan.
A window in a roadside bakery in Fergana.
young saleswoman
The youngest of the sellers in the market shows a loaf of bread with exuberant decoration.
Pasta, flour and mobile phone
Baker kneads more bread in a family bakery.
A saleswoman displays another prodigious bread.
lunch with bread
Fabric factory workers accompany your meal with bread.
Breads from the Fergana region in great quantity and diversity.
Maruf' Jon
The baker Maruf'Jon holds the shovel he uses to pluck loaves from the ceiling of his oven.
New Load
Salespeople transport a new shipment to the stand where they work.
in gown and apron
Young saleswomen pose for photography in a short moment of relaxation.
Part of a long string of saleswomen working in a roadside market dedicated only to bread.
Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.

Ravshan and Nilufar never started their shur'va (vegetable and meat soup) without thickening it with pieces of non.

followed lagman (pasta with other vegetables and meat) or dimlala (stew). Given their restrained physique, we were surprised that the diners continued to take care of the yellow bread placed on the table.

It confused them that we were not bakers. "Sure you don't want?" We were asked through insistence. "Here, we always eat a lot non to the meal,” reiterates Nilufar. "Actually, all the time... possibly even a little too much." and laughs at the spontaneity of her prolonged adolescence.

lunch after lunch, dinner after dinner, we ended up realizing how much truth there was in those words. And that could not be otherwise.

Uzbekistan: the Granary of Central Asia

Ukraine has always had the reputation of a mega-producer of cereals, a prodigious booster of the USSR's capacity. If we take into account the sizes of territories, even if the main crop in the country is cotton, Uzbekistan has become a prolific breadbasket.

During his despotic era, the almighty President Islam Karimov congratulated the nation's farmers on the bountiful 2011 harvest that, with 7 million tons of grain, surpassed the previous one by almost 300.000.

Even so, the price of social bread – the simplest – rose 10%, 50 sums (2 cents). The population felt the new increase like a stab in the back. “It seems little…” says Farida Akhmedshina to the national press “. In reality, the increase was 100 sums. Store employees have always given us candy as small change and that's what will happen when we pay the 550 with 600 or even 1000 sums".

bread in abundance, nation, bread, uzbekistan

Breads from the Fergana region in great quantity and diversity.

More than the satiety of the Uzbek people that is affected by these annual increases, it is their life, starting with social relationships.

The Social Preponderance of Uzbekistan Bread

In more traditional areas, the first thing people take to someone else's house as a gift is a non. When saying goodbye, the hosts make a point of offering a return to visitors.

In the houses who have their own ovens, the women prepare the bread that the family consumes and will offer. Beat, caress, knead the dough again until they reach the desired consistency.

Then, they sink the center and draw the decorative pattern typical of the area, the village or even the familiar one. Each region has its varieties, the obi non most common the shirma de Samarkand and those from Bukhara, sprinkled with sesame or nigella and that they have an unmistakable aroma.

Os folding de Andijon and Qashqadaryo – prepared with cream, butter and crunchy flakes – are equally aromatic. According to tradition, they were and still are served during matchmaking meetings.

The lochira from the capital Tashkent are shaped like a plate. They are made with milk, butter and sugar. Others incorporate meat, onion, crushed nuts, tomatoes, raisins and different complements.

Each region, or village or even baker, can have its own special yeast that it preserves and protects from competition whenever it can.

factory workers, nation, bread, uzbekistan

Fabric factory workers accompany your meal with bread.

Most lepyoshkas (the Russian name for bread) are finalized in tandyres, powerful ovens made of reinforced clay that guarantee the ideal cooking point for just 4 to 8 minutes.

The types don't tandyr oven of bread, rarer, were perfected by the nomadic tribes who, faced with the impossibility of transporting large ovens, baked them in kazans (cauldrons) on a milk base.

We had already covered a significant part of the country. We moved for a few days to the Fergana valley and the vicinity of Andijan.

It was in Fergana that, in the mid-2000s, a strong opposition to President Karimov was cooked up and which ended up being the scene of a brutal response to the allegedly responsible Islamic extremist movement. The resulting slaughter became known in the world as Andijan massacre.

Eight years passed. We are witnesses that all this political-military commotion did not affect the famous hospitality of the province.

Margilan's Grand Uzbek Bakery

Nilufar had heard us boast about the beauty of their homeland's bread over and over again. As we pass Margilan, he asks new driver Muhit Din to park on a street known for its abundance of bakeries and ovens. tandyr oven.

baker kneads bread, nation, bread, uzbekistan

Baker kneads more bread in a family bakery.

All of a sudden, we find ourselves on a floured journey. Young people shape and line up the dough, chatting and always keeping an eye on their aging mobile phones.

Next door, an exotic-looking duo takes on the hardest work. The oven radiates an uncontrolled sauna temperature to the outside. Ma'ruf Jon, the most experienced baker resists. Put more and more loaves inside, as if it were immune to discomfort.

baker and helper, nation, bread, uzbekistan

Baker Maruf'Jon and an assistant bake bread in their bakery in Margilan.

His face is steamed from the heat, veins and other blood vessels dilated and bruised under thin, increasingly scarlet skin. The baker alternates with a colleague, probably an apprentice. Still, he assumes most of the sacrifice fate has imposed on them.

For reasons Uzbeks take for granted, the country's bakers are all men. Special men, with superior willpower. We feel that Ma'ruf Jon is a veteran of that craft.

baker, nation, bread, uzbekistan

The baker Maruf'Jon holds the shovel he uses to pluck loaves from the ceiling of his oven.

At some point, he suggests that we try him out, probably to give his craft its deserved value. Nilufar translates the challenge: “Go, get the shovel! Enough of photographs. Now it's your turn.”

At first glance, the task seems simple. All we have to do is rip out two or three already-baked loaves, glued to the ceiling and walls of the pre-fired oven, and throw them into a basket. But we couldn't get close to that hell for more than a few seconds.

As a result, we rushed the operation. We leave pieces sticking to the surface of the oven and damage the precious shape of the food.

When we return the shovel to the master, we are somewhat ashamed and have no great doubts: the profession could only be performed by bodies resistant to the scourge and by unshakable spirits. We would soon discover a less dastardly side of the business.

saleswoman displays bread, nation, bread, uzbekistan

A saleswoman displays another prodigious bread.

A Great Roadside Market, All Bread

We leave Margilan on our way back to Tashkent. Even before we cross the border into Namangan province, Muhit Din has to stop at a police checkpoint. Shortly thereafter, we found a road market, with vendors organized to provide the best Fergana products to those traveling to the capital.

There, we see dozens of women in traditional costumes behind a long makeshift bench on cement blocks and crates, filled with examples of the region's bread, golden as the sun.

row of saleswomen, nation, bread, uzbekistan

Part of a long string of saleswomen working in a roadside market dedicated only to bread.

Suppliers and customers are stopped by the roadside. The former balance trays with more specimens. The latter travel the entire length of the stand to assess the merchandise offered.

That's when, in turn, each saleswoman tries to capture them with pleasing calls and enchanting calls in Uzbek or Russian, depending on the targets.

young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan

The youngest of the sellers in the market shows a loaf of bread with exuberant decoration.

Customers need those breads for different occasions, more or less solemn. It is rare for them to return to the cars with empty hands.

sellers, new cargo, nation, bread, uzbekistan

Salespeople transport a new shipment to the stand where they work.

In Uzbekistan, many families remain faithful to ancient customs. They put a loaf of bread under the newborns' heads to wish them a long and trouble-free life.

Later, when the baby takes his first steps, the bread is moved between his legs as a blessing for the rest of the way.

If the baby is a boy, years later, when it comes time for military service or if he is conscripted into a war, his mother will make him eat a piece of bread so that he can return as soon as possible.

The importance of non it reaches the highest political and diplomatic levels.

bakery window, nation, bread, uzbekistan

A window in a roadside bakery in Fergana.

In 2011, the new country's 20 years of independence were celebrated in Tashkent's Bobur Park with a grand “Non Sayli”, a national bread festival.


Journey through the Uzbekistan Pseudo-Roads

Centuries passed. Old and run-down Soviet roads ply deserts and oases once traversed by caravans from the Silk RoadSubject to their yoke for a week, we experience every stop and incursion into Uzbek places, into scenic and historic road rewards.
Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia still Perfumed by the Rose Revolution

In 2003, a popular political uprising made the sphere of power in Georgia tilt from East to West. Since then, the capital Tbilisi has not renounced its centuries of Soviet history, nor the revolutionary assumption of integrating into Europe. When we visit, we are dazzled by the fascinating mix of their past lives.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Astronomer Sultan

The grandson of one of the great conquerors of Central Asia, Ulugh Beg, preferred the sciences. In 1428, he built a space observatory in Samarkand. His studies of the stars led him to name a crater on the Moon.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
Khiva, Uzbequistan

The Silk Road Fortress the Soviets Velved

In the 80s, Soviet leaders renewed Khiva in a softened version that, in 1990, UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site. The USSR disintegrated the following year. Khiva has preserved its new luster.

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
Suzdal, Russia

The Suzdal Cucumber Celebrations

With summer and warm weather, the Russian city of Suzdal relaxes from its ancient religious orthodoxy. The old town is also famous for having the best cucumbers in the nation. When July arrives, it turns the newly harvested into a real festival.
Samarkand, Uzbequistan

A Monumental Legacy of the Silk Road

In Samarkand, cotton is the most traded commodity and Ladas and Chevrolets have replaced camels. Today, instead of caravans, Marco Polo would find Uzbekistan's worst drivers.
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Aral Sea, Uzbequistan

The Lake that Cotton Absorbed

In 1960, the Aral Sea was one of the four largest lakes in the world. Irrigation projects dried up much of the water and fishermen's livelihoods. In return, the USSR flooded Uzbekistan with vegetable white gold.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Sheets of Bahia, Eternal Diamonds, Brazil
Architecture & Design
Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

Lençóis da Bahia: not Even Diamonds Are Forever

In the XNUMXth century, Lençóis became the world's largest supplier of diamonds. But the gem trade did not last as expected. Today, the colonial architecture that he inherited is his most precious possession.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
Jumping forward, Pentecost Naghol, Bungee Jumping, Vanuatu
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Pentecost Naghol: Bungee Jumping for Real Men

In 1995, the people of Pentecostes threatened to sue extreme sports companies for stealing the Naghol ritual. In terms of audacity, the elastic imitation falls far short of the original.
Museum of Petroleum, Stavanger, Norway
Stavanger, Norway

The Motor City of Norway

The abundance of offshore oil and natural gas and the headquarters of the companies in charge of exploiting them have promoted Stavanger from the Norwegian energy capital preserve. Even so, this city didn't conform. With a prolific historical legacy, at the gates of a majestic fjord, cosmopolitan Stavanger has long propelled the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
trip around the world, symbol of wisdom illustrated in a window at Inari airport, Finnish Lapland
Around the World - Part 1

Traveling Brings Wisdom. Find out how to travel around the world.

The Earth turns on itself every day. In this series of articles, you will find indispensable clarifications and advice for those who make a point of going around it at least once in their life.
Tulum, Mayan Ruins of the Riviera Maya, Mexico
Overall, Mexico

The Most Caribbean of the Mayan Ruins

Built by the sea as an exceptional outpost decisive for the prosperity of the Mayan nation, Tulum was one of its last cities to succumb to Hispanic occupation. At the end of the XNUMXth century, its inhabitants abandoned it to time and to an impeccable coastline of the Yucatan peninsula.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

on Stage, Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua (Antilles), Guatemala

Hispanic Guatemala, the Antigua Fashion

In 1743, several earthquakes razed one of the most charming pioneer colonial cities in the Americas. Antigua has regenerated but preserves the religiosity and drama of its epic-tragic past.
Singapore, Success and Monotony Island

The Island of Success and Monotony

Accustomed to planning and winning, Singapore seduces and recruits ambitious people from all over the world. At the same time, it seems to bore to death some of its most creative inhabitants.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
silhouette and poem, Cora coralina, Goias Velho, Brazil
Goiás Velho, Brazil

The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

Born in Goiás, Ana Lins Bretas spent most of her life far from her castrating family and the city. Returning to its origins, it continued to portray the prejudiced mentality of the Brazilian countryside
São Jorge, Azores, Fajã dos Vimes
São Jorge, Azores

From Fajã to Fajã

In the Azores, strips of habitable land at the foot of large cliffs abound. No other island has as many fajãs as the more than 70 in the slender and elevated São Jorge. It was in them that the jorgenses settled. Their busy Atlantic lives rest on them.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Cachena cow in Valdreu, Terras de Bouro, Portugal
Natural Parks
Campos do GerêsTerras de Bouro, Portugal

Through the Campos do Gerês and the Terras de Bouro

We continue on a long, zigzag tour through the domains of Peneda-Gerês and Bouro, inside and outside our only National Park. In this one of the most worshiped areas in the north of Portugal.
Selfie, Wall of China, Badaling, China
UNESCO World Heritage
Badaling, China

The Sino Invasion of the Great Wall of China

With the arrival of the hot days, hordes of Han visitors take over the Great Wall of China, the largest man-made structure. They go back to the era of imperial dynasties and celebrate the nation's newfound prominence.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
Parade and Pomp
Saint Petersburg, Russia

When the Russian Navy Stations in Saint Petersburg

Russia dedicates the last Sunday of July to its naval forces. On that day, a crowd visits large boats moored on the Neva River as alcohol-drenched sailors seize the city.
Coin return
Daily life
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Howler Monkey, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.