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Roxana, a wife of Alexander the Great
Published: 16 april 2015

Alexander the Great longed for the Orient and he started all-Hellenic campaign. He was surprised by heroic resistance from the locals but it was ruthlessly suppressed. But all resistances were suppressed and one day among captives was a Bactrian noble man – Oxiart.  He had a daughter, named Roxana. She was very beautiful girl with luxuriant hair and sparkling eyes. Though she was a captive, Alexander decided to marry her. Alexander and Roxana There’s a famous picture “Wedding of Alexander and Roxana” by Greek artist Rotari. There the master depicted an episode of Alexander and Roxana’s encounter. He painted the picture by the books of Plutarch. We can see the Princess surrounded by crying maidservants - she was standing decently before the astonished commander.  It’s interesting that the master depicted a Greek girl instead of the daughter of...

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Central Asia сalligraphy
Rubric: Handicrafts
Published: 06 april 2015

In ancient times state and economic paperwork was based on the Arabic script on the territory of modern Uzbekistan. Central Asia calligraphers have been actively developing the craft and soon it became not only writing but the real art. Calligrapher was an honorable profession Calligraphers’ work was difficult but through it they could put into practice their creation. That’s why the profession was honorable and calligraphers belonged to intelligentsia. But not every calligrapher was talented – there were only few of them. The rumors about talented people spread rapidly around all khanates and high-ranking officers contacted with such kind of people. There were special schools in each city: Tashkent, Kokand, Khorezm, Samarkand and Bukhara. Each school has its particular qualities and specialists could determine who has written one or another inscription. Different s...

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Vanishing Asian Sea
Published: 27 march 2015

It is considered that the Aral Sea is just 10 000 years old. When the riverbed of Amu Dariya and Syr Dariya divided the Turan lowland was filled with their water. The scientist considered that during its existence the Aral Sea changed its borders 9 times. Now when the bottom of the Aral Sea is seen scientists discovered some trees which have grown here before. Just in the middle of 19th century it was known the borders of this Sea and it was researched properly. The reasons of the Sea vanishing The first and the main reason of The Aral Sea drying is unlimited usage of its water for watering cotton. At the start of 20th century Uzbekistan was the agricultural country where cotton was the base of economy. The second reason is raising land. This process started in 1965. And in 1983 the Sea lost its fishing meaning in Uzbekistan. The canning factory stopped working. Nowadays The Aral Sea w...

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Jewelry of Turkish women
Rubric: Handicrafts
Published: 16 march 2015

Turkish women liked jewelry very much and wore them from ancient time. Zargar (jeweler) was famous profession, but his work was very difficult. Master had to have a sense of colors, special taste and feel the beauty of nature. The jewelry of XIX century was very rich and could have different forms and colors. They were used for headdress and outerwear decoration. There were special schools of jewelers in Surkhandaria, Bukhara, Khorezm, Fergana and Tashkent. Kinds of jewelry At that time jewelry was very diverse. Turkish women wore chains, hanging caskets, brooches and small flacons on the chest and neck. To hairs women attached elegant pendants with gold and silver coins. Diadems and crowns were put on head. The main jewelry was earrings that manufactured in wide range. They could be short, in crescent form, with gems and others. Women’s wrists were decorated by wristlets that c...

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Emir Zindan
Published: 10 march 2015

Zindan (“zina” - "crime" and “dan” – “room”) in Persian means an underground prison. It’s the most mysterious monument of Bukhara built in XVIII century. It’s situated inside the city (Shakhristan) and consists of several wards, dungeon made of brick with a diameter of about 5 meters and a depth of 6.5 meters.   Zindan was accommodated not more than 40 people and it’s not a serious amount if compare it with population of medieval Bukhara. It means that crime rate was low at that time. The prisoners were usually debtors, criminals and condemned persons.   Punishment for the guilty   The Bukhara Khanate was the state where religion played a major role in the lives of citizens. One of these requirements was the daily five prayers. There was a special officer - Rais who kept order. He came to mosques every day and n...

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Uzbek bread
Published: 02 march 2015

Bread is a very important staple for Uzbek people at all times. The bakers are baking round bread with love and doing their best. That’s why round bread whether for wedding, holiday or for every day is beautiful and tasty. Breads There’re a lot of sorts of bread in Uzbekistan. The round bread with meat, onion and even pumpkin is very popular among Uzbek people. Bread was often made from cornmeal in ancient time. To make it more nutritious, bakers add pumpkin inside. The popular sort of bread is patir. Dough is made from milk with yeasts and butter. Then dough divided into small part and is rolled out. After making round share it’s baked in tandir (a special oven). There’s another sort of round bread – shirmoy non. The dough’s made from crushed peas and brewed by anis.  After it the bread are baking in tandir. At the end of XIX century there was...

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Uzbek straw art
Rubric: Handicrafts
Published: 24 february 2015

Straw is a popular nature material, which is widely used for furniture decoration and paintings. The craft goes from ancient time, when people had a cult of white straw crops.  People believed that the grain has divine power and tried to use it for home decoration. The art was widely developed in Poland. Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Belarussia and Russia. The straw was used for decoration of expensive furniture, creation of ornaments and decorated panels. Uzbek straw art More than ten years ago new methods and technology of straw art were developed in Uzbekistan by A. Solihov and A. Yuldashev. They presented unique work made from straw.  The brand name of “Uzbek straw art” appeared in 2004 and now is actively developed and improved. The artists first used multilayer composition, when each element has its own level and can be located on each other. So composition lo...

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Tashkent at the end of XIX century
Published: 24 february 2015

What was Tashkent at the end of XIX century? We can know about it only from the books of travelers, had visited Tashkent at that time.   Gabriel Bonvalot, famous French traveler, had been in the city in autumn 1880. He called Tashkent as the city of Stone, mentioned that its size was the same as Paris’s. The city was divided into 4 district – dacha. Each district was also divided into many blocks, called mahallya. The name of mahallya showed the profession of local people. So, casters were living in mahallya Dargez, smiths – in Takachi and so on. There were one-storied adobe houses with flat roof in the old city. They had one feature: theirs doors and windows faced only courtyard. Traditional clothing Bonvalot noticed that local people wore traditional clothing: cotton shirt, wide and short pants and long-sleeved gown. For shoes they used soft-leather boots. Rich...

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Traditional Uzbek houses
Published: 16 february 2015

The construction of Uzbek houses formed on the weather and relief of the region. That’s why each city of Uzbekistan has its own traditions and even school of architecture. Because of frequent rain, snow and also earthquake people build houses with double wooden frame in the mountains. But in the cities there were houses with single frame.  In the end of XIX century houses were built without foundation. Saman (chopped straw) was the only foundation of the houses. The main material for walls was clay, mixed with straw and other ingredients.  The plan of the houses  The yards in rich houses were double: internal and external. Women and children lived in courtyard; the external yard was used for guests. There were the most luxurious rooms. The plan of the house depended on family members, but the main rooms were kitchen, living room, hallway, some roo...

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Museum of carpet weaving history
Rubric: Handicrafts
Published: 13 february 2015

Staying in Bukhara city during the tour around Uzbekistan, don’t miss the chance to visit Museum of carpet weaving history. The exposition was opened in the building of ancient mosque Magoki Attory in 1991. Here you can see all kinds of traditional carpet, palas and felt weaving. In XIX-XXth centuries carpet of the Uzbek tribes “mitan”, “yuz”, “kurama”, “nayman” were of big popularity in Central Asia. Sources of carpet weaving origin in Central Asia refer approximately to III-II nd centuries BC. Traditions of carpet weaving in Bukhara oasis passed from father to son and during centuries they were improved. The museum exposition The museum collection consists of 104 samples of the carpet products used in the life of people in Uzbekistan - Uzbeks, Tadjiks, Jews, Turkmen, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, the Central Asian arabs and Uigurs. The co...

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Navruz Holiday
Published: 11 february 2015

Navruz is the most cheerful holiday in Central Asia. The history of the holiday goes back to ancient time, when people worshipped the Sun and the Fire. It was celebrated by solar calendar, based on the earth position compared to the Sun.  So the holiday celebrated on the 21 of March, the equinox day - when day and night are of equal length. For more than 3 centuries people of Central and East Asia celebrate Navruz as the holiday of Coming Spring. Navruz is the symbol of a new day and new year, it’s time for new plans, good mood and hopes. And nothing could change tradition: neither new religions, nor new rulers – Navruz remains popular holiday.  Why? The New Year always brings to people hopes and belief in better life and future. It’s considered that “if a man eats an apple and sniffs narcissus in the morning of Navruz holiday, the New year will be happ...

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The history of Uzbek Marionettes Theater
Published: 05 february 2015

We are no other than a moving row  Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go  Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held  In Midnight by the Master of the Show Omar Khayyam Puppetry was very famous performance from high antiquity. It’s considered that the first puppet appeared in Central Asia in IV b.c. owing to Alexander the Great. For many centuries the art was forgotten. Local artists began to show such kind of performances in V-VII c. and later in XI-XII c. But puppetry became the most popular performance only during Temurid’s reign. Local people liked bright and interesting performances with a great depth of meaning. Chodirhayol On the territory of modern Uzbekistan theater of Marionettes called “Chodirhayol”. It’s translated as the theater of fantasy or ghosts. The performance ran only in the evening time. There was enclosed sp...

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About yurta
Published: 05 february 2015

The main type of accommodation for nomadic Uzbek people was yurta up to XIX century. After changing to settled life (end of XIX c.) they began to build wattle and daub houses. For this time yurta used only by stock keepers for summer period. At that time each young man going to marry had to have his own yurta. According to customs of kipchaks and karluks the man without yurta couldn’t marry. Yurta for newlywed was built from white felt. But if the groom didn’t have enough money, they would use common white cloth.  Construction features Uzbek yurta doesn’t have great differences from Turkmen, Kirgiz, Kazakh and Karakalpak yurts. The main difference is in decoration and other unimportant details. So we can say that the culture and everyday life of these peoples was closely connected. Prefabricated grating was the main structure of yurta. The builders used be...

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Sardoba or medieval water storage
Published: 30 january 2015

Because of dry climate water was very important in Central Asia. It was especially difficult for caravans having gone through the desert. That’s why special water storage or sardoba was set along the caravan ways. Sardoba is reservoir for water with covered dome. To get to water travellers should walk down the stairs. Such water storage were found near rabat, caravanserai and even in the cities. The reservoir was filled with rain and melting water. Sometimes water was coming from rivers and other water source by ariks and underground canals (kyariz). Structural features Sardobas were built from Ib.c. to XVIII a.d. Later they all were abandoned as caravan ways. But some of them exists nowadays giving opportunity to learn their construction in details. Mostly sardobas were built in the area with low lands – for collecting rain and melting water. Domes with holes were also for...

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Caravanserai
Published: 29 january 2015

Caravanserai is an original public building in the Middle East and Central Asia, usually serves as shelter for travelers in cities and populated areas. There were one and two storey caravanserais. Caravanserai is of two types: open and closed. Closed form is a rectangular building with an open courtyard in the middle of which was a well. There were rooms for living and warehouse for the goods. They were widespread in IX-XVIII centuries, because this time caravan trade was especially developed. The term “caravansary” is of Persian origin. "Caravan" in Farsi means a group of traveling people; "serai" means a restroom. Caravanserai served not only as a building for temporary accommodation for travelers but there were also learned the latest commercial and political news, met with merchants from other cities and countries to conclude trade deals. Today caravanserai is a unique ar...

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Katta Langar: where time has no power
Published: 28 january 2015

The mountainous village Katta Langar is situated on the foot of the Zarafshan spine, 70 kilometers from Shahrisyabz. It is unique place with its picturesque nature landscapes. The view of this place gives a person pacification and calmness. Picturesque views are very attractive for tourists but also they are attracted by mosque and mausoleum of sufi Mahammad Sadik. More than half century ago he started to preach the doctrine, to meet his pupils and followers in this village. The mosque was built in the start of XVI century. Many years there were only praying hall and extra rooms. The building process of the mosque is unique and tourists can know many legends about it. This is one of them: when the construction was almost finished, workers had found out that they had lack of material to build the last column. The mosque was finished owing to sufi Mahammad Sadic who turned cotton bush i...

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Observatory Maidanak
Published: 27 january 2015

The definite location of this observatory is 120 kilometers from Samarkand, on the western side of the mountain Maidanak which actually gave the name to observatory. This unique place was created by astronomer V. S. Shevchenko. The location of the observatory was selected after long investigation of the area, its climate, permanently bright sky. Also this place is unique because of still air all year round. This all points help to make good and unique photos, control astrophysical objects. The one more interesting fact - Maidanak Observatory is situated between two big stations on the Earth (Hawaii and Canarias islands). The object is located 2700 meters above sea level, the best location for observatory work. The object is closed in winter because of severe climatic conditions, bad routes of supply. The common area of the object is 32 hectares, where 10 telescopes are located. The m...

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Where’s situated fairyland “Susambil”?
Published: 26 january 2015

Tales has main place in Uzbek national folk art. Not only children are reading them – aged people also like to do it. There’s a great depth of meaning in the tales and reading them, you can find out many interesting things about life of common people. In masked form people are telling about their feelings, desires and secret ideas. There’re strong djahangirs, all-powerful genies, evil beasts and cunning kaziy and vezirs. Honest and young djigit (man) is the main hero in all tales. Usually he falls in love with noble girl and they pass all difficulties together. They use small tricks, nature sharpness and fearlessness. Fairyland Susambil Well, not only men are main heroes – they often masked by animals’ image. The best example is the tale about fairyland Susambil. What is this, where’s it situated and why did our heroes want to get there? The fairyla...

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What can we learn from local people?
Published: 23 january 2015

Visiting other country, we like it or not we learn something new and even begin to think in a different way. Each journey gives us opportunity to see how other people live. You can learn many useful things from them and use them in your life. Well, what can we learn during the tour to Uzbekistan? Hospitality Hospitality – is national feature of Uzbek people. Even small children know how to meet guests and how to behave. Don’t know how to get to bazaar or hotel? Ask passes-by and they’ll show you not only the way, but even take you to the place. Ability to bargain Don’t know how to bargain? Go to bazaar during your tour to Uzbekistan and try to get some discount from the seller. It’s not so easy, because bargain is something from impudence, bluff and ability to smile and deal with seller. Peace of mind In the East people don’t get accustomed to hurry...

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Uzbek wine
Published: 22 january 2015

Wine in Uzbekistan has been known from ancient times. It’s full of taste drink which also can be useful. While drinking you get pleasure and make your health stronger. Avicenna noted that red wine could improve blood circulation of the brain. Today there are many kinds of wine, which can differ in taste depended on the grade of grapes. It is considered the sunnier weather the better taste of the grapes. So Uzbek wine is famous with its sweetness and low acidity.  The sweetness of grapes is 29% and it gives unique taste. Wine making has been known in Uzbekistan from ancient times. From year to year this brunch of industry has been improving which is based on ancient recipes and traditions. Where the wine is produced Almost all regions of Uzbekistan have appropriate conditions for growing grapes. These are fruitful soil, good climate and as a result the best harvest. In spite...

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