Samarkand, Uzbequistan

A Monumental Legacy of the Silk Road


Registration Silhouettes
Two passersby pass through the shadows on Praça do Registão, the historic heart of Samarkand and the dynasty founded by Timur.
blue dome
Dome of the Madrassa de Tilla Qori, one of those that make up the Registão Square complex.
women's tour
Uzbek women visiting the Shaki-Zinda necropolis.
tiger chases goat
The famous mosaics of the tiger, present on the facade of the Madrassas do Registão against the precepts of Islam.
Skirt Rest
Women of several generations rest on a garden bench in Praça do Registão.
Mortuary Alley
Women pass in front of two mausoleums in the Shaki-Zinda necropolis.
About to leave
Visitors abandon the Sakhi-zida necropolis.
Car race
Children drive toy cars in a park adjacent to Praça do Registão.
Raifa Egamnazarova
An Uzbek babushka obsessed with grandchildren and children rests on a park bench in Registão Square.
Twilight Registration
The colors of the Praça do Registão in a twilight.
back to the sun
Visitors leave an old religious building on the edge of a Samarkanda madrassa.
Apricots, walnuts and others
Showcase of dried fruits in a city market.
Uzbek bread
Bread sellers in one of Samarkand's markets.
Photo with Timur
Two visitors to Samarkand are photographed by the statue of the national historical idol Timur.
In a Funeral Penumbra
Foreigners visit a tomb room in a mosque on the outskirts of Samarkand.
Grooms under stars
Grooms at a museum mural dedicated to astronomer Ulugh Beg.
An Uzbeq necropolis
Buildings of Shaki-Zinda, a necropolis that groups eleven mausoleums of prominent Samarkanda figures.
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.

The long summer in Central Asia has barely begun.

The sun rises over the horizon. It reinforces the golden cross of the eight-branched cross of the Orthodox Church of St. Alexei and the green of the trees on the Avenida da Universidade.

It has been 21 years since Uzbekistan seized the opportunity given by Gorbachev and freed itself from the yoke of the Kremlin. Many Russians chose to ignore the flow of history. They stayed where they were.

Like all over the country, in Samarkand, they took advantage of the social and economic advantage previously gained by their families and filled vacancies in the best businesses and jobs. We see proudly beautiful young women walking along the sidewalks on their way downtown, on high heels, in tight dresses.

And men of haughty bearing concerned with making their investments profitable, whether they are Soviet misfits or the recent ones of the new era of the almighty President Karimov.

The Old Warehouse of Cultures and Commerce of Samarkand

Samarkand has always been seen as a crossroads of cultures. It welcomes people from all over, starting with national visitors who take advantage of the short summer vacation periods to pay tribute to the city.

statue, Timur, Uzbeq hero, Silk Road, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Two visitors to Samarkand are photographed by the statue of the national historical idol Timur.

We reach the northeast end of the avenue and find the imposing black statue of Timur, the emir of Mongolian-Turkish lineage who, in the fourteenth century, conquered one of the greatest empires in the world and founded an ambitious Islamic dynasty.

We take it unhurriedly as three Uzbeks get out of a taxi and cross the surrounding roundabout incautiously.

For one of them, a street photographer, the morning had started better than he expected. The two compatriots were about to leave town.

They rescued him from his work place so that they could take as a souvenir an image of companionship and veneration, at the feet of the great monarch, terror of the Mamluk enemies, the Ottomans and even the Knights Hospitaller.

Registão Square, the Monumental Legado Timurida de Samarkanda

Registão Square, less than a kilometer away, celebrates the splendor of the Timurid era. When we find her, she receives the caress of a battalion of dedicated gardeners and the promiscuous supervision of several “cucumbers”, as the Uzbeks call their nation's policemen, for wearing all-green uniforms.

We see colorful groups of Muslim pilgrims arriving, excited to be at last in front of the most emblematic madrassas of the mystic Turkestan. We follow their solidary movements until they disappear through the imposing porticoes.

Registration Square, Twilight, Night, Silk Road, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The colors of the Praça do Registão in a twilight.

The Ulugh Beg (1417-1420) and the Sher-dor (1619-1636) were the first to be built. They face each other and dispute the architectural prominence of the square with the youngest, Tilya-Kori (1646-1660) who appears in front of whoever arrives.

They once functioned as prominent Islamic schools to which the population was called to hear royal proclamations and attend public executions.

And the Astronomical Legacy of Emir Ulugh Beg

Ulugh Beg, the last of the emirs of the dynasty, had much more to convey. In addition to being a leader, he proved himself a master mathematician and astronomer. It turned its madrassa into one of the best universities in the Muslim East.

It also built a pioneer space observatory.

silhouettes, registration square, silk road, samarkand, uzbekistan

Two passersby pass through the shadows on Praça do Registão, the historic heart of Samarkand and the dynasty founded by Timur.

Nowadays, the authorities have turned it into a museum, complete with open gardens that the city's inhabitants have adapted to their earthly uses.

The Uzbek Social Urgency of Marriage and Procreation

We join the entourage at a wedding. We have fun accompanying the photographers on duty as they position the couple against a sky painted on a wall and rehearse poses as passionate as they are saturated with the bride's veil hovering supported by an illusory absence of gravity.

Grooms, Ulugh Beg Museum, Silk Road, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Grooms at a museum mural dedicated to astronomer Ulugh Beg.

Marriage and families without end are sacred in Uzbekistan. Native women ask us again and again if we are married and how many children we have. The answer almost always leaves them shattered. Some cannot even conform.

Raifa Egamnazarova moved from Fergana Valley to spend the weekend in Samarkand. He wears a white handkerchief that frames the worn face of slob tender.

It allows us to photograph it and shows off its steel irises and gold teeth.

woman, garden bench, registration square, silk road, samarkand, uzbekistan

An Uzbek babushka obsessed with grandchildren and children rests on a park bench in Registão Square.

The photo session generates some apprehension in the lady: “You see there! My husband still sees this in magazines and he's going to ask me if I went shopping after all or dating to Portugal".

He ends up adopting us as children and, for a good half hour, insists that we have to give him his first grandchild the following year.

The importance of marriage and family ties came out unscathed from the communist experiments, but during the Russian colonial era and, later, in the Soviet era, several sacred buildings of Islam were destroyed and its influence on society nullified.

President Karimov's Absolutism and the Control of Islam

President Karimov has adopted part of the Soviet recipe and keeps the religion under control. There are few madrassas in the country that continue to serve the old purposes.

Those in Samarkand are no exception. In several, they house different families and occupy the students' former ground floor rooms with handicraft bazaars and other memorabilia.

Inside Sher-dor, a salesman with a portentous look from Nikhita Mikhalkov approaches Nilufar – the young guide who accompanies us. In Russian, he tries to foist him a visit to his photography shop first.

Soon, dusty video tapes that he claims to illustrate the glory of the city to which he has remained faithful: “Tell them there that they are of great interest to them.

No need to have so much work with these huge machines! It only costs 20 euros…”. Infected, therefore, other Uzbek-looking sellers try to summon us to their mini-markets and shop windows.

visitors, madraka building, silk road, samarkand, uzbekistan

Visitors leave an old religious building on the edge of a Samarkanda madrassa.

The Prosperous Era of the Silk Road

In Silk Road times, commerce must have flowed much better than it does now.

Samarkand was halfway between China (Xi An), and the civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially Rome. Valuable products from Asia and Europe traveling in both directions on long camel caravans, finding buyers on the way and at their final destinations.

The exotic silk justified the long journey of the Venetian Polo family, who came to live in neighboring Bukhara, until they continued to the east and fell into the goto of the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan. Years later, Kublai khan he appointed the Polos ambassadors for his messages to the Pope. He made them his diplomats for other missions.

According to Marco Polo, sometime after his father and uncle's second visit to the China – Marco's first –, the three Poles asked the Emperor several times to return to Europe.

tiger chases goat, madraka, registration, silk road, samarkand, uzbekistan

The famous mosaics of the tiger, present on the facade of the Madrassas do Registão against the precepts of Islam.

The Khan so enjoyed their company that he would have postponed their departure time and time again. With no alternative, the Polos resigned themselves to respecting his will.

Stalin and other Soviet leaders pursued different whims.

The Age of Cotton, the White Gold that Takes the Place of Silk

At the time of the Stalin, cotton was known as Ouro Branco, it had an enormous commercial value. Attracted by the fortune they could cultivate in the then Uzbek colony, Kremlin politicians decreed the diversion of water from the Aral Sea and from the country's main rivers to irrigate endless crops in the Kyzyl Kum and Aral Kum deserts.

The experiment proved to be as catastrophic in environmental terms as it was profitable. Cotton is, even today, the main production in Uzbekistan and in the Samarkand region.

Women, Sakhi-zida Necropolis, Uzbeq, Silk Road, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Visitors abandon the Sakhi-zida necropolis.

But not all Soviet heritages generated such controversy. A fleet of Lada cars continues to circulate in Samarkand and resists replacement by newer Chevrolet models.

We soon learn to value this longevity. The city's secondary roads prove to be destructive like few others, and Uzbek men – usually calm and courteous – are often enthusiastic behind the wheel of your aged bolide.

For some reason we can't find out, they seem to generate more adrenaline and testosterone – and, as a result, a lot more honking, arguments, collisions and dents – in Samarkand than in the rest of the country.

Uzbekistan

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.
Dunhuang, China

An Oasis in the China of the Sands

Thousands of kilometers west of Beijing, the Great Wall has its western end and the China and other. An unexpected splash of vegetable green breaks up the arid expanse all around. Announces Dunhuang, formerly crucial outpost on the Silk Road, today an intriguing city at the base of Asia's largest sand dunes.
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.
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.
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack 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.
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.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
safari
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Thorong Pedi to High Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Lone Walker
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 12th - Thorong Phedi a High camp

The Prelude to the Supreme Crossing

This section of the Annapurna Circuit is only 1km away, but in less than two hours it takes you from 4450m to 4850m and to the entrance to the great canyon. Sleeping in High Camp is a test of resistance to Mountain Evil that not everyone passes.
Traditional houses, Bergen, Norway.
Architecture & Design
Bergen, Norway

The Great Hanseatic Port of Norway

Already populated in the early 1830th century, Bergen became the capital, monopolized northern Norwegian commerce and, until XNUMX, remained one of the largest cities in Scandinavia. Today, Oslo leads the nation. Bergen continues to stand out for its architectural, urban and historical exuberance.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Adventure
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.
MassKara Festival, Bacolod City, Philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
gaudy courtship
Cities
Suzdal, Russia

Thousand Years of Old Fashioned Russia

It was a lavish capital when Moscow was just a rural hamlet. Along the way, it lost political relevance but accumulated the largest concentration of churches, monasteries and convents in the country of the tsars. Today, beneath its countless domes, Suzdal is as orthodox as it is monumental.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Meal
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.
Conversation between photocopies, Inari, Babel Parliament of the Sami Lapland Nation, Finland
Culture
Inari, Finland

The Babel Parliament of the Sami Nation

The Sami Nation comprises four countries, which ingest into the lives of their peoples. In the parliament of Inari, in various dialects, the Sami govern themselves as they can.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Sport
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.
Cambodia, Angkor, Ta Phrom
Traveling
Ho Chi Minh a of Angkor, Cambodia

The Crooked Path to Angkor

From Vietnam onwards, Cambodia's crumbling roads and minefields take us back to the years of Khmer Rouge terror. We survive and are rewarded with the vision of the greatest religious temple
Horseshoe Bend
Ethnic
Navajo nation, USA

The Navajo Nation Lands

From Kayenta to Page, passing through Marble Canyon, we explore the southern Colorado Plateau. Dramatic and desert, the scenery of this indigenous domain, cut out in Arizona, reveals itself to be splendid.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Christiansted, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands, Steeple Building
History
Christiansted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

The Capital of the Afro-Danish-American Antilles

In 1733, Denmark bought the island of Saint Croix from France, annexed it to its West Indies where, based at Christiansted, it profited from the labor of slaves brought from the Gold Coast. The abolition of slavery made colonies unviable. And a historic-tropical bargain that the United States preserves.
Camiguin, Philippines, Katungan mangrove.
Islands
Camiguin, Philippines

An Island of Fire Surrended to Water

With more than twenty cones above 100 meters, the abrupt and lush, Camiguin has the highest concentration of volcanoes of any other of the 7641 islands in the Philippines or on the planet. But, in recent times, not even the fact that one of these volcanoes is active has disturbed the peace of its rural, fishing and, to the delight of outsiders, heavily bathed life.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Literature
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Canoe fishermen, Volta River, Ghana
Nature
Volta, Ghana

A Tour around Volta

In colonial times, the great African region of the Volta was German, British and French. Today, the area east of this majestic West African river and the lake on which it spreads forms a province of the same name. It is a mountainous, lush and breathtaking corner of Ghana.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
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.
travelers contemplate, monte fitz roy, argentina
Natural Parks
El Chalten, Argentina

The Granite Appeal of Patagonia

Two stone mountains have created a border dispute between Argentina and Chile. But these countries are not the only suitors. The Fitz Roy and Torre hills have long attracted die-hard climbers
Tiredness in shades of green
UNESCO World Heritage
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.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
Characters
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
Promise?
Beaches
Goa, India

To Goa, Quickly and in Strength

A sudden longing for Indo-Portuguese tropical heritage makes us travel in various transports but almost non-stop, from Lisbon to the famous Anjuna beach. Only there, at great cost, were we able to rest.
One against all, Sera Monastery, Sacred Debate, Tibet
Religion
Lhasa, Tibet

Sera, the Monastery of the Sacred Debate

In few places in the world a dialect is used as vehemently as in the monastery of Sera. There, hundreds of monks, in Tibetan, engage in intense and raucous debates about the teachings of the Buddha.
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
On Rails
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.
city ​​hall, capital, oslo, norway
Society
Oslo, Norway

A Overcapitalized Capital

One of Norway's problems has been deciding how to invest the billions of euros from its record-breaking sovereign wealth fund. But even immoderate resources don't save Oslo from its social inconsistencies.
herd, foot-and-mouth disease, weak meat, colonia pellegrini, argentina
Daily life
Colónia Pellegrini, Argentina

When the Meat is Weak

The unmistakable flavor of Argentine beef is well known. But this wealth is more vulnerable than you think. The threat of foot-and-mouth disease, in particular, keeps authorities and growers afloat.
Asian buffalo herd, Maguri Beel, Assam, India
Wildlife
Maguri Bill, India

A Wetland in the Far East of India

The Maguri Bill occupies an amphibious area in the Assamese vicinity of the river Brahmaputra. It is praised as an incredible habitat especially for birds. When we navigate it in gondola mode, we are faced with much (but much) more life than just the asada.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
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.