Registan 600x280mm

Uzbekistan – A Traveller’s Tale

 

Lucy and Chris Costas recently travelled with Byroads on a 13 day Uzbekistan adventure and discovered the wonderful highlights of the ancient Silk Road. Their story is below …………

Uzbekistan – A Silk Road Adventure by Chris Costas

For Lucy and I, our first trip with Steve and Byroads started with uncertain expectation but as we traversed China on our flight to Tashkent our excitement built. Below us was astonishing scenery and as we flew west we reflected on, and imagined that we were passing over ancient trading routes that were part of the Silk Road’s Eastern sections. As a transition to our Silk Road adventure it was perfection.

 

Over the next 13 days we visited Tashkent and the great Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva as well as many places around and between them. Gorgeous turquoise domed mosques, throbbing markets, caravanserais, museums, yurts, weathered ruins and monuments all added to more than satisfy this keen photographer and lover of history.

 

Many of the astonishing architectural and cultural achievements of the past centuries have recently been restored in Samarkand where we visited the magnificent Registan Square and marvelled at its beauty and that of Ulugh Beg’s madrassa, as well as his extraordinary scientific achievements. At night, we were excited to see the Registan again, as a backdrop to a spectacular light show. The Shah I Zinda Complex, was hypnotically beautiful with its glorious ceramic facades and interiors and the intricacy of its layout.

Khiva 600x280mm

In Bukhara, we visited the Arg, the ancient citadel with its massive walls and bastions and learnt of its grim history during the era of ‘The Great Game’. We also visited, and shopped at, the three ancient vaulted and domed markets and their interconnecting squares, which was great fun, especially the purchase of hats!

 

The welcoming character of Uzbeks was brought home to me at Urgut where we visited a huge regional market where anything conceivable was for sale. Good-natured, hard sell was in evidence and bargaining expected and there were displays of honesty which were powerful in cementing our positive perceptions of Uzbeks, who were unfailingly friendly over the whole trip.

 

There were many more sights and experiences than those outlined here and all of them contributed to a memorable trip. Uzbekistan is an absorbing country that is clearly in transition both as a tourism destination and an emerging regional economy. To this foreigner, its foundation stories and post-Soviet history reflect a changing self-perception and confidence. Our initial uncertainty was quickly forgotten and we were enthralled with the trip. I would love to return to this fascinating and friendly country.

Lucy bargaining in the Market

The next 13 days Byroads adventure along the Silk Route starts in Tashkent on the 18th of August 2019. Click here for full details.

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