Goodbye Uzbekistan and our guide Frikat. Hello Turkey - We flew to Istanbul where we met our fellow travelers for Turkey’s Magical Hideaways and were greeted by our new Trip Leader Fikret. (Do you remember that our Uzbek guide’s name was Frikat? Talk about confusing!) More about Turkey in my next post.
We spent 8 days in Uzbekistan learning about this fascinating Central Asian country. We discovered a highly diverse population who live peacefully and respectfully of one another. They are immensely proud of their history and hopeful for their future. They welcomed us with open arms. I can’t tell you the number of people who approached us and welcomed us in English or in their own language translated through our guide. They weren’t happy to know we were from the US, they wanted to know what state and what city.
Our visit started in Tashkent, the modern capital. From there we flew to Bukhara, the ancient city with wonderful ruins of the glory days of the Silk Road, where we explored an ancient citadel, mosques, mausoleums, and trading domes and more. From there we drove to Samarkand, where we learned of 15th century astronomers and sultans and visited more mosques, mausoleums and madrassahs (historic educational centers, now used as souvenir shops). From there we took a side trip through the mountains to Shakhrisabze the birthplace of Timberlane, the most influential military leader of the Mongol Empire.
These ancient cities were not nearly as developed as Tashkent, so when we returned to Tashkent we felt we were “back in the modern world”.
We had a wonderful experience. Wouldn’t have missed it for anything… But we’ve seen enough ancient mosques, mausoleums and madrassahs for while.
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