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Uzbekistan Trip Pictures (Page 1 of 2) from June 07 to 21 and July 07 to 17, 2010

To proceed to Uzbekistan Pictures Page 2 or Uzbekistan Journal.

Our Route through UZBEKISTAN. Covered approx. 2500km (500km in a vehicle and 2000km on the motorcycles).

June 07, 2010. We enter Uzbekistan from Turkmenistan at the Konye-Urgench/Nuskus Border Post.

En-route to Nukus we take a picture of the remains of ancient MIZADAKHAN, once the 2nd largest city of Khorezm.

June 08, 2010. Leaving Nukus early we head 200km north-west to MOYNAQ.

Taking a break and enjoying the local hospitality.

This fishing village used to be a thriving town, with a large ship port, located at the southern end of the ARAL SEA.

Several fresh water rivers used to flow into the Aral Sea, but then were redirected for irrigation.

The Aral Sea become saltier, fish started to die and the water dried up.

The Aral Sea now is 150km north of Moynaq.

Seashells cover the ground, evidence that sea water not too long used to cover this area.

There is only sand and more sand for miles and a few rusted to pieces ship wreaks.

An environmental disaster.

Finding a Petrol Station is no problem, but finding a Petrol Station that is actually open and has Benzin is a major problem in Uzbekistan.

99% of the Benzin (76 to 80 Octance only) we had to purchase off the black market (someone's house, as shown here in Nukus a city of 200,000 people)

From Moynaq, we return to Nukus and continue onwards through the Karakum (Black Sand) and Kizilkum (Red Sand) desert to Khiva.

After 600km we were happy to see this great B&B (La'li B&B), located right outside the west gate of the city wall. ($25.00/night including breakfast)

The home cooked meals are a real treat and the best food we had in Uzbekistan.

The first night we had Dulma (stuffed cabbage or stuffed peppers with rice and meat), complete with sweet potato, cabbage and borsht (beetroot and potato soup), as well as fresh salad.

The view from our B&B of the city walls.

June 09, 2010. We enter KHIVA (Xiva) through the Ota-Darvora Gate (West Gate).

The Kalta Minar, a wide blue-tiled 18th century minaret is probably the most unique structure and the first imposing structure that greets one after passing through the west gate.

It is said, that if it would have been completed, the Kaltaq Minar would have been the largest minaret in Central Asia.

At 6:30am in the morning the streets of the UNESCO World Heritage walled town are completely empty of people.

We climbed both the Juma Mosque Minaret and Islom-Hoja Minaret for a view of the city.

Several madressas have been restored and now house traditional museums.

The preservation of the ancient silk road town gives us the opportunity to see what a town would have looked like during the height of the silk trade.

Huge beautiful wooden doors still adorn the entrance gates to the walled city.

The East Gate.

The North Gate.

Inside the Kuhna Ark throne room.

The 19th century Summer Mosque.

The read orange roof.

Beautiful blue and white tiles and...

... the portico is supported by carved wooden column, very typcial to Uzbekistan.

The tile design of one of the madressa entrance portal.

Money printed on silk.

Later in the day street vendors set up shop and sell traditional Uzbek hats.

Inside the Juma Mosque, which has over 200 wooden columns supporting its roof.

Each column is beautifully carved.

The columns are from the original 10th century mosque.

The view from the top of the 47m high Juma Minaret.

Looking at the Islom Hoja Minaret.

The Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum.

Inside the mausoleum.

The tomb of Khiva's patron saint is located here. A continuous stream of women pay their respects. Note the little girl looking right into the camera.

Finely decorated dome of the mausoleum.

The Islom-Hoja Minaret and...

...the entrance portal to its medressa.

An old carved door displayed in the museum of the medressa.

Another great view of the walled city from the Islom-Hoja Minaret.

The Alloquli Khan Medressa.

The elaborate ceiling decorations... the Tosh-Hovli Palace.

Carved wooden columns and...

...beautiful tiled walls.

An old photograph taken of the Khiva Bazaar.

This museum displays one of the old carriages with studed wheels as shown in the previous old photograph.

Each courtyard has niches like this with high ceilings.

Before sunset we climb the viewing tower of the Kuhna Ark.

We spent over an hour watching as the shadows grow longer and the colors of the buildings change with the setting sun.

The massive western wall.

Temperatures in the shade reach everyday high 30's Degree Celsius.

Dinner is Plov, the traditional Uzbekistan meal of rice, carrot and meat. The best ever.

June 10, 2010. The Pontoon bridge across the Amu-Darya River.

We had arranged with the owner Omar a full day excursion of the Golden Ring of Ancient Khorezm.

As we wander around the ancient site we come across a snake. Omar tried catching snakes for dinner.

The Golden Ring of Ancient Khorzem is approximately a 300km round trip from Khiva to visit the Elliq-Qala. Out of the 20 some fortresses we have chosen four (4) of the best preserved.

Omar takes us to the Ayaz-Qala first, located close to the Ayaz Lake on the eastern end of the Sultanviz-Dagh range.

We climb first up to the AYAZ-KALA II, which sits on a smaller hill and was founded in the medieval times.

Mike stands on the crumbling walls.

At the base of the hill, excavation has exposed the foundation of a palace dating around 4th century BC.

Behind the Ayaz-Kala II on a larger hill stands the AYAZ-KALA I.

It has a rectangular layout with almost 10m high walls.

The original structure dates back to the 4th century BC.

Some of the lower galleries are accessible.

The Ayaz-Kala Yurt Camp.

Next is the TOPRAK-KALA, which stands over 20m above the surrounding fields.

The site was the royal residence of the Kings of Khorezm and dates around 2nd and 3rd century AD.

Excavation has uncovered life size statues, reliefs and the largest collection of written documents in the Khorezmian language.

Not far from the Toprak-Kala is a much smaller OYZYL QALA (KZIL-KALA).

Rectangular in shape, most of its walls are still standing.

The fortress is surrounded by canals and agricultural fields.

A good example of the different construction layer of this fortress wall.

Omar is balancing himself on a large water pipeline with a fishing rod in hand.

We watch women and men work the fields in the blazing heat.

Our last fortress is the GUL'DURSUN-KALA BOLSHAYA,... of the largest fortresses of ancient Khorezm.

Just as we emerge from the fortress, these ladies happily wanted to have their picture taken.

A full load for the little donkey.

The donkey is a common transportation means in the country side of Uzbekistan.

Omar purchases some fresh water melon and the owners are posing for a picture.

Did we mention that we stayed an extra day in Khiva due to the great food. Here we try the dumplings (manty) with sour cream.

All the food has huge amounts of garlic. It is very delicious.

Breakfast at the B&B is included in the room rate.

Khiva's little market is located behind the Caravanserai Bazaar.

As always it is a great place to explore.

Not many tourists venture into these places.

The butcher shop.

Vendors line each side of a small alleyway.

In the western World we are not exposed to most of this. Cow feet for sale.

Meat is not refridgerated.

Not sure what part of the animal are for sale here...

...but the flies like it.

The butchers pose for a picture.

Fruit and vegetables are weighed the old fashion way.

The women are always dressed very colorful.

Even bicycle parts can be found here.

Crystalized sugar.

The Alloguli Khan Bazaar & Caravanserai. Wedding dresses are a big deal in Central Asia. Actually weddings in general are a big deal.

June 12, 2010. We ride from Khiva to Bukhara and stay at the Nasruddin Navruz.

June 13, 2010. BUKHARA is Central Asia's holiest city.

We are exploring the empty streets of old Bukhara by 7am.

Vendors do not start displaying their nicknacks until 9am.

The Ulugbek Medressa.

The old city is kept clean by locals.

The signature tile work of Uzbekistan.

The landmark Kalon Minaret of Bukhara.

The Abdual Aziz Khan Medressa.

Photographs of the damaged Kalon Minerat and Mir-i-Arab Medressa prior to restoration.

The Kalon Mosque, which was used as a warehouse during the Soviet times.

Another great old photograph of the Minaret before restoration.

The Kalon Minaret restored.

The Mir-i-Arab Medressa.

Inside the courtyard of the Kalon Mosque.

The portal decoration of the Kalon Mosque.

Glazed blue tile cover the interior walls of the Kalon Mosque.

Close up of the portal decorations.

The mosque can hold up to 10,000 worshipers.

The Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, built over a spring and dates to 16th Century.

The Ismail Samani Mausoleum,...

...the town's oldest Muslim monument.

War Monument depicting a common Uzbekistan Crying Mother.

Abdullah Khan Medressa.

The entrance ramp and wall of the Ark.

Most of the interior structures of the Ark were distroyed in the 1920's bombing by the Soviet Union.

The decorated Juma Mosque ceiling.

An ex-Soviet time 33m high water tower no longer used.

The walls of the Ark that are not in plain view.

The Bolo-Hauz Mosque and Minaret.

Happy Uzbekistan Children.

Inside the Taqi-Telpak Furushon Bazaar.

June 14, 2010. Breakfast with Michiel and Michelle.

The four of us get together and flag down a taxi to see some of the monuments outside of Bukhara.

The taxi driver takes us first to the BAKHAUTDIN NAQSHBAND MAUSOLEUM.

While he waits in the taxi, we leisurely explore the Juma Mosque (16th Century Khanaka).

Locals gather around the Bakhautdin's tomb.

The aivan has beautifully decorated ceilings.

Surrounding the courtyard are two (2) more mosques and an aivan (covered portico).

Inside the mosque...

...the ceiling and walls are decorated in white and gold.

The three (3) of us fit into the backseat of our little taxi.

Our next stop is the EMIR'S SUMMER PALACE, ...

...the former residence of the last emir, Alim Khan.

The three buildings on the premises are each lavishly decorated inside and ... each house a museum.

The pond is part of the palace.

A golden ceiling.

Our last stop is at the CHOR-BAKR, a 16th century necropolis.

In the centre is the large Juma Mosque.

Each door leads into a courtyard of tombs.

The place was very peacefully, as it was deserted.

The alleyway of tombs.

Peacock hang out on the premises.

The large Juma Mosque.

Making Shashlyk.

We had our good-bye meal with Michelle and Michiel, but are pretty sure that our paths will cross again in the future.

Our motorcycles were parked in the corridor and...

...courtyard of the Nasruddin Navruz guesthouse. From here we head to Samarkand, please proceed to Page 2.