I had a fabulous trip to Uzbekistan a few years ago and would like to share some of it with you. As you probably know, the government in Uzbekistan is very problematic, and if you don’t take a tour, getting a visa can be very difficult and expensive. However, when you get there it is not expensive and the history, experience and food is great! Tashkent is not a very interesting city, but in the south of Uzbekistan, there are there famous ancient Silk Road cities: Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva [still a walled city]. The most striking art form in Uzbekistan is the suzanis [Uzbekistan embroideries] which were traditionally used to decorate yurts [round tents]. Today suzanis are extensively used to decorate homes, hotels and restaurants. Below is a picture of a suzani I bought in Uzbekistan. -#233 on the website.This is a picture of a shop in Samarkand. Note the pile of suzanis on the woman’s right.
I had a private tour of the Silk Road cities for $100 per day which included hotels, transport, all food, and an English speaking guide in each city. Below is a picture of the hotel outdoor dining room where I stayed in Samarkand. Note the use of suzanis for decoration.
The hotel was the home of the owner of the tour agency I was with. If you would like a tour of Uzbekistan or the Silk Road cities, you might like to contact him in Samarkand. He speaks very good French and some English. I’m sure that some of his employees speak English well.
When I travel, I like to see all the traditional folk arts [rather than the commercial shows] so I went to a traditional theatre performance in Bukhara. The traditional theatre uses actors, and elaborate hand puppets as you see in the picture below. This performance had music and a little boy riding a stick horse – maybe to show changes of scenes.
In the show, sometimes only puppets were used.
Sometimes only actors were used.
And sometimes actors and puppets are used together. Note the use of a suzani as a stage curtain.
Here is a picture of the boy with his stick horse and the musician.
In Bukhara, many suzanis are made in pastel shades as in #233 below. # 234 and #235 on the website were bought in Bukhara, also.
Bukhara is also the home town of the Islamic funny man, Nasraddin. There are many folk tales about him. I bought some quite hilarious water colour pictures of him in compromising situations. They are for sale, but are not on my website. Here is a statue of Nasdraddin and his faithful donkey.
Finally here is a picture of me and my hotel in Bukhara.
That’s all for now. I do apologize for the dark colours of some of my photos of the folk theatre production. [I must learn more about Photo Shop!] In my next blog I’ll give you information about the intriguing city of Khiva.
I hope you’re having a good summer.