Category Archives: Central Asia

To the last city.

No, that’s a misnomer. Tashkent was, if anything, Uzbekistan’s first city, at least in the modern sense of the term. First one to be occupied by the Russians, first one to be reached by a railroad, first to host all … Continue reading

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Looking up in Uzbekistan.

Remember shoegazing, that 1980s genre? Well, had any of those musicians been in Ulug Beg Madrasa, in Samarkand, they’d have missed this. Sometimes it’s useful to be walking with one eye to the heavens and one to the floor. Especially … Continue reading

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Buxoro PFC home: an excursion into Uzbekistan’s Premier League.

It is normally the case, at least for me, to be stumbling upon great finds almost entirely by chance, and today was exactly one such case. We were sitting on a topchan at the hotel, yet again cheered by endless … Continue reading

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A sunset over Po-i-Kalyon

Showcasing Bukhara must be the easiest job ever, or so I thought with the clarity that suddenly comes when you’re into your third pint-sized bottle of Portland beer (the fact that an Uzbek brew had the picture of a clipper … Continue reading

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And then I was invited to tea.

Bukhara the holy, Bukhara the saint, Bukhara the erudite, Bukhara the city where light floods from the ground up and not from the heavens down. Or perhaps the Bukhara, in the words of traveller and linguist Ármin Vámbéry, ”whose whole … Continue reading

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The whistling man of Registan.

Denying it would be pointless, and I won’t: I am an unabashed Morricone fan and – the two go hand in hand, really – an Alessandroni devotee. Whilst I appreciate that Morricone’s fame is somehow a given, I’m aware that … Continue reading

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Postcard from Uzbekistan.

I cannot, writing straight away, give you an idea of this marvel. If I were to thread the words, mosaics, pediments, spandrels, bas-reliefs, niches, enamels, corbels, all on a string in a sentence, the picture would still be incomplete. It … Continue reading

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Fireworks, mountains and sleeping elephants. Wrapping up 2017, in pictures.

The last trip of the year has just ended; the rucksack’s been duly unpacked and its contents unceremoniously thrown into the washing-up pile, hoping for some merciful hands to put them into the washing machine without the whites turning pink … Continue reading

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Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 3).

I’d expected the whistling undertaker from For a Fistful of Dollars to be appearing at every corner I turned. I was to experience this feeling again, in Central Asia, but Aralsk looked – even smelt, if that was ever possible – … Continue reading

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“I’ve once been to Kyzyl-Orda, but never to New York”.

I recently attended a training course which, as corporate events normally do, started with an ice-breaker. Every attendee had to stand up, one by one, and declare to the roomful of colleagues something quirky, or unusual, about himself. When it … Continue reading

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