Uzbekistan: Looking Beyond the Silk Road

  Have you marveled at the magnificent  turquoise domes and minarets of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, and more ancient Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan, and wondered what might lie beyond the striking mosques, and madrasas? If so, the answer is a resounding yes. There’ plenty more to see in this amazing country, such as these five […]

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The Poi Kalyan of Bukhara: a masterpiece of architecture with a dark secret

  Hot on the tails of our last post on the magnificent feats of architecture that the madrashas – ancient institutions of higher education – of the Middle East are, today we turn our gaze to a particularly splendid example, the Miri-Arab of Bukhara, together with two other iconic pieces that comprise the complex in […]

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“S” is for Suzani: the Splendid World of Uzbek Embroidery

  And so, after silk printing and ikat, onto the third amazing member of the Uzbek textile tradition: the splendid world of Suzani, the ancient art of embroidery. Behold the world where magic is wrought with every stitch. Photo by Kellie CA What are suzanis and where do they come from? The word itself comes from […]

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Uzbekistan Highlights – The Madrasas of Bukhara

  Now that we’ve toured the webby world of Uzbek texiles, it’s time to start a new thread (as it were), and take a peek into the world of Madrasas, centers of Muslim education and religion. They are very common in the Islamic world, and today we’ll have a look the ones in In Bukhara […]

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Magic Weaves of Uzbekistan: the Ancient Art of Ikat

  You’ve seen in our last piece that thankfully, the ancient art of silk printing is on the upswing again in Central Asia. Today we’ll be showing you that there are even more reasons to celebrate on this front, as one of its sister traditions is also gaining ground in the rich tapestry of the […]

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Witness the Wonder of The Ancient Art of Silk Printing in Tashkent

  As you retrace the trails of ancient treasure-laden caravans in the shadows of majestic architectural masterpieces along the Central Asian section of the Silk Road, you might be tempted to pause for a minute to envision everyday life as it would have unfolded amongst these monuments: the sounds and sights of streets that spun […]

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Dos and Don’ts for Before Your Central Asia Rally

  So you’ve spun your globe and marked your aim, booked your flight and written that cheeky out-of-office auto reply – now here you are, poised to pounce on your Caucasian Challenge, starting in Istambul, Turkey and winding up Yerevan, Armenia via Georgia. Oh, lands of breath-taking landscapes, ancient Silk Road citadels and, well, Borat. Actually, […]

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Remembering When Muhammad Ali Visited Central Asia

  Yes indeed: as you fling your rucksack into the back and step on the gas in Astrakhan to begin the lifetime adventure that is your Central Asia Rally, besides enjoying the multitude of natural, architectural, and cultural delights of this mystical part of the world – perhaps unbeknownst to you -, you’re also about […]

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Evolution of the Yurt – Changing Faces of an Ancient Tradition

  There’s no denying it – yurts, the circular tent-like houses native to the endless rolling steppes of Central Asia, are the epitome of a happy marriage between utility and beautiful design, so it’s not surprising that they’ve not only endured through millennia up to the 21st century, but populate the globe from Siberia to […]

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Food for Thought: Eleanor Ford’s Samarkand: Recipes and Stories about Central Asia

  Foodies and travellers can now indulge in both of their favourite activities: Eleanor Ford’s Samarkand: Recipes and Stories from Central Asia and the Caucasus is here, and it will definitely transport you back onto the road. Plov Feast. Photo Credit: Standard   The magical combination of good food and travelling to remote places is […]

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The Future is Now: Expo City 2017 in Kazakhstan is Underway

  The architectural wonder of a capital city, Astana will host one of the most exciting and grandiose projects in the future: the construction of Expo City 2017 in Kazakhstan has already started. City of the Future. Photo Credit: Mabetex   The expo’s theme will be “Future Energy,” and it’s no surprise that it’ll be […]

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Interesting Silk Road Facts for Central Asia Rally Participants

  Everyone has a picture in their mind about what the Silk Road must have looked like in the past… now, it’s time to put the misconceptions aside and get to know the most interesting Silk Road facts. The Route. Photo Credit: 500.co   – The trade route got its name Silk Road (or Seidenstraße) […]

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