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Phespirit goes to Uzbekistan
tour     May/June 2006

AROUND UZBEKISTAN

Map of Uzbekistan

1 Tashkent

Phespirit goes to Tashkent - sightseeing checklist:

# = admired from the outside only

  1. Alisher Navoi Opera & Ballet Theatre  #
  2. Earthquake Memorial
  3. Abdul Khasim Madrassah
  4. Oliy Majlis (parliament building)  #
  5. Palace of People's Friendship  #
  6. Barak Khan Madrassah
  7. Telja Shiekh Mosque (home to the Osman Koran)
  8. Museum of Applied Arts

Aside from the Osman Koran - a credible candidate for the title of 'oldest koran in the world' - there is nothing in the capital city that can be considered to have a genuine international significance.

Even so, Phespirit enjoyed his wanderings.

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2 Urgench

Phespirit goes to Urgench - sightseeing checklist:

# = admired from the outside only

  1. Nothing whatsoever

Passing through its outer edges by coach, en route from Urgench airport to nearby Khiva, Phespirit observed that Urgench is not the typically soulless Soviet cityscape that is often depicted; but then again, he equally observed no reason to stop for a look around.

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3 Khiva

Phespirit goes to Khiva - sightseeing checklist:

# = admired from the outside only

  1. City Walls (including the south, north and west gates)
  2. Kalta Minor  #
  3. Zindan (city gaol)
  4. Kukhna Ark
  5. Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum
  6. Islam Khoja Madrassah  #
  7. Juma Mosque & Minaret
  8. Allah Kuli Khan Madrassah  #
  9. Tash Hauli Palace
  10. Islam Khoja Minaret
  11. Mohammed Amin Khan Madrassah
  12. Mohammed Rakhim Khan Madrassah  #

The tops of the mud walls of old Khiva can be reached via a slope by the North Gate, but sadly only the northern half can be walked. Good views across the city can also be appreciated from the tops of minarets, although their staircases can be dark and trecherous; beware the plank fixed at the top of the Juma Mosque's minaret!

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4 Bukhara

Phespirit goes to Bukhara - sightseeing checklist:

# = admired from the outside only

  1. Ark Fortress
  2. Bolo Hauz Mosque
  3. Zindan (city gaol)
  4. Kalon Mosque & Minaret
  5. Mir-i-Arab Madrassah  #
  6. Jewellers' Bazaar
  7. Cap Makers' Bazaar
  8. Moneychagers' Bazaar
  9. Magok-i-Attari Mosque  #
  10. Lyab-i-Hauz & Nadir Divanbegi Khanagha  #
  11. Nadir Divanbegi Madrassah
  12. Sitorai Makhi Khosa (the emir's summer palace)
  13. Ismael Samani Mausoleum
  14. Chashma Ayub (Spring of Job)

Like Tashkent, the ancient city of Bukhara is situated at the heart of an earthquake zone. Reassuringily, Phespirit had a copy of the Hotel Bukhara Palace's "safety measures in case of earthquake".

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5 Shakhrisabz

Phespirit goes to Shakhrisabz - sightseeing checklist:

# = admired from the outside only

  1. Victory Park
  2. Ak-Serai Palace
  3. Dorus Siadat
  4. Dorut Tilovat

The colossal twin entrance towers of Ak-Serai - the ruined palace of Timur (also known as Tamerlane) - are still the most imposing structures in town. They stand at one end of Victory Park, which is a popular location for newly-weds and their entourages to pose for wedding photographs. Phespirit observed three such groups in the space of an hour.

Also favoured for Uzbek wedding photographs are the Earthquake Monument in Tashkent and Polvon Qori Street in Khiva.

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6 Samarkand

Phespirit goes to Samarkand - sightseeing checklist:

# = admired from the outside only

  1. Gur Emir Mausoleum
  2. Registan
  3. Bibi Khanum Mosque
  4. Bibi Khanum Mausoleum  #
  5. Bazaar
  6. Ulug Beg Observatory
  7. Shah-i-Zinda
  8. Khazret Khyzr Mosque
  9. Afrosiab  #
  10. Tomb of Daniel
  11. State Museum

Having arrived at Samarkand and checked in to the Hotel Afrosiab Palace, Phespirit walked ten minutes up the road to the Registan. This magnificant ensemble of madrassahs built between 1417 and 1664 is surely peerless. Such a wonder to see. Phespirit visited it again in the evening for the 'sound and light show' (in French), but this succeeded only in making the spectacular appear mediocre.

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  1. Tashkent
  2. Urgench
  3. Khiva
  4. Bukhara
  5. Shakhrisabz
  6. Samarkand
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Tashkent Urgench Khiva Bukhara Shakhrisabz Samarkand