Day 3: Fayoz-Tepe

While Kara-Tepe may be the more exciting Buddhist monastical complex, located well within the sensitive border zone, requiring advance permission, nice view of Afghanistan, and shrapnel mixed in among the ancient pot shards, Fayoz-Tepe is decidedly the more monumental of the two.  They're even within sight of each other, and date from the same period, … Continue reading Day 3: Fayoz-Tepe

Day 58: Abdulaziz Khan Madrassa

A fine example of the Central Asian "Kosch Principle" of urban planning, whereby the facades of two opposite buildings face each-other along the same axis, Bukhara's mid 17th century Abdulaziz Khan Madrasa does so directly across from his much older companion, the Ulugbek Madrassa, which dates from the early 15th century.  Together, the Abdulaziz Khan … Continue reading Day 58: Abdulaziz Khan Madrassa

Day 65: Samarkand’s Gilded Madrassa

The iconic Registan Square in Samarkand is home to three large madrassas, all of which are included, along with the rest of the historic core of the city, as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001.  According to the criterion as described in the listing, the Registan complex is a masterpiece of Islamic cultural creativity, … Continue reading Day 65: Samarkand’s Gilded Madrassa

Day 67: Qur’an of Usman

Among the 20 thousand books within the library of the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan is the Quran of Usman, perhaps one of the most important holy relics in the Muslim world.  Definitively dated to the 8th or 9th century, and perhaps as early as the 7th, this Quran is believed to be one of the … Continue reading Day 67: Qur’an of Usman

Day 70: St. Daniel’s Tomb

We all know the story from Sunday School about the Biblical Prophet Daniel who was thrown into the lion's den.  If not, allow me to summarize... Daniel was well respected and very true to his faith.  As a loyal and devout servant, he came to the attention of King Darius who promoted Daniel to a … Continue reading Day 70: St. Daniel’s Tomb

Day 82: Meros Paper Mill

Just outside Samarkand, in the village of Konigil, is a traditional paper factory which has revived the paper making techniques used in Samarkand since ancient times. When we visited the factory as a bonus tour after a long day trip to Shakrizab, our driver generously offered the detour since we were ahead of schedule.  The park … Continue reading Day 82: Meros Paper Mill

Legend of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque

For a bit of a romantic twist in the history of Samarkand, we visited the massive 14th century Bibi-Khanym Mosque. The monument is best known today for an illicit affair that supposedly took place between Timur's Queen, and the mosque's architect. Legend says that while Timur was away during his military campaign to India, his favorite wife, Queen Saray Mulk Khanum, ordered … Continue reading Legend of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque