Uzbekistan: impressive Silk Road towns and shabby nature

Post-border adventures

We have crossed Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan border before the nightfall. The last trucks have already passed, and when we noticed a lake nearby, we decided not to rush into Bukhara, but stay in the nature instead. The coastline was muddy a bit, but eventually we found near-to-perfect place to pitch the tent. We already imagined ourselves making a bonfire and having an early night. Soon we heard someone running into us, and when we turned around, we saw two young soldiers running heavily with their guns hanging loose. The saliva was all around one soldier’s face. We got frozen for a moment, and they were shocked seeing innocent faces. They tried speaking Russian but quite unsuccessfully and meanwhile reporting through their walkie talkies about possible law abusers.

Darbininkai beribiuose Uzbekistano laukuose. | Local farmers working at these endless Uzbekistan's fields.

When we get to the army base, the officers sound sharp and unkind. ‘What have you been doing there?’ an angry face actually was a bit unpleasant. ‘We were about to stay overnight near the lake’. ‘You cannot do it here, its a border zone’. Well, we thought, we have been doing it numerous times but so far we didn’t have any troubles. We were rather to obey the rules this time. ‘You have to go for 25 km’. Ouch, the cars were gone long time, and to make this distance on foot was a bit unrealistic. ‘If you can find a place close to the road in 5km it should be ok’. Later we learned the border area is still landmined in some parts.


All our praises must be left in this city. Its Old Town is compact and cozy, terra cota colours and modest architecture witness about the caravans carrying the goods along the Silk Road, and we let ourselved imagine that pleasant bazaar noice.
Entering Kolon mosque the spine chilling sound floated somewhere in the tree branches and neatly and skillfully docorated arches. No man has disturbed the mystery of the mosque yard.

Buharos gyvenamųjų rajonų gatvelės itin painios. Pakankamai nakty prisiklaidžiojom. | Buhara city's tricky little streets. Felt like walking in some maze at night.

We had been sipping the green tea then near Labi pool, and reflected those hours in Bukhara which have left quite a mark in our memories. When the night fell, we decided to come back surfing through unlit back streets. We haven’t noticed how mazes got us quite a distance away, but the experience was memorable.


Hearing the exotic sound of this town name used to leave a pleasant image of ancient towers and vaults. An impressive sight, a lot of people promised us. We grew our expectations high, and we wanted to be surprised by a popular, later died and reborn place.

Ragistan mosque complex beauty cannot be sung enough. The arches and walls seem to follow us all the Silk way from Iran. Bearing in mind, comparing with other sights, this one was not the cheap one. But soon after a policeman offered us anothr deal – to get to the tower for an extre fee. Our day budget had long dried out, so we refused politely. The stubborn one had offered a half deal, but we have already decided to move. Interestingly, that in another mosque complex the scenario was close to identical. ‘8000 sommes’. Ouch, its a bit expensive. Nah, we are not getting in. ‘Come-Ill let you for 4 000′ followed us a ticket seller. Can you have a bargain to get to cinema too?


Samarkand bazaar is a museum where you don’t need to pay the entrance fee. It is all tidy and cleaned immaculately. Carefully washed fruits and veggies, all sorted according to colours and shapes. The men in fur hats pick the best quality beans and peas. Traveling from one aisle to another you can experience the flow of smells and scents.

Home stay

Unexpectedly we once again have tried the central Asian hospitality in Uzbekistan. Couchsurfer Nahim has been hosting a numerous travelers, but so she was so generous to us. Soon after we have stayed in another family in Novoi. The head of the family has been giving us a lift, and at the very end he thought of inviting us to his place too. We arrive at the dark house, and it seems the same story as in Turkmenistan. Government is sending the electricity to neighbourghoods, leaving their own people lightless and heatless for hours, or maybe a day or two. One family we had visited had their newborn baby, had complained they couldn’t warm themselves and his son in the cold as never before winter. They have returned to their homeland from Russia, where they have been working. But their govenrment didn’t seem to be very hospitable to their own kids. It appears that in Central Asia a lot of people go to Russia or South Korea to earn some money for their loved ones. A lot of them say it’s not easy, as Russians are unkind to Asians and skinheads beat or even kill them. The home is nostalgic, the bread made by parents is far more delicious, but higher salary or job at all is a huge temptation for young and older ones. The family women have served us with deep respect. We have noticed that their bright coloured dressing gowns are not for home wear only. Men with dark green oriental robes, belted with ropes.

Nakty mums nakvynę pasiūlę darbininkai ir jų miela šaimyna. | Some nice workers and their family that offered a night at their place.

Towards Kyrgyztan

Uzbekistan nature starts to get slightly richer only in the East, just before coming to Kyrgyztan. In one dusty horrible town for the first time we have been waiting to hitch the car for good few hours. A taxi driver has noticed our seedless efforts, and got us to the police check point. The police has been incredibly helpful asking an avalanche of questions in return. We haven’t offered any money or so, but soon he had hitched one truck and was extremely proud of that. The truck driver was not too impressed at first, as he was a bit worried to have problems from his company, but if police told that his guests need a lift, he couldn’t refuse. Moreover, he was convincing himself, that a guest is a gift by God. Later he shared his dinner with us. Furgana valley was a good promise of soon to be revealed impressive nature. The land is fertile here, hence the neighbours have been fighting for it.

Dulkėčiausias kelias kokiame tik kada teko mums laukti. Po trijų valandų laukimo buvome padengti tokiu dulkių sluoksniu, jog vargu ar kas galėjo atspėti mūsų kūno spalvą. | The dustiest road ever. After three hours of waiting for the lift we were covered in five centimeter dust layer.

The next morning both wet after a rainful night we hitched a car in few seconds. The man not only gave us a lift further than we expected, but fed us in his family house too. Soon a taxi comes to pick us up, he pays for it, and we say a goodbye to each other as old good friends. Central Asia… We loving it.

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