When we landed at the bright shining new Ashgabat airport with no planes we thought we might be in for something different.
With a government actively encouraging tourism and a more open society Uzbekistan is a great country to visit. There’s fabulous mosques, medressas (Islamic schools), minarets and mausoleums in beautiful still-alive cities. Mathematics, medicine, astronomy, arts and architecture developed here. The Silk Road brought wealth and cultures.
After a night on the train we arrived at Khiva, a well-preserved mud-walled city established in the beginning of the Christian era and once a major slave trading center. Noah’s son Shem found water here and called it “Kheyvak” which became Khiva.
Samarkand is an old city, one of the oldest in central Asia and only 50 years younger than Rome. The city was taken by Alexander the Great in 329 BC then ruled by a succession of Persians, Turks, Mongols and others.
On to Tashkent
Thursday 25th October – we visited a mountain village for a folkkoric preformance, Temur’s huge summer palace which was completed in 1404 and on to Tashkent overnight.
Crossing from Uzbekistan into Kazakhstan at 2am, we were woken by the border officials who came into the cabins, took our photographs and issued visas. Two minutes later we were back asleep.