Tony and Jane Ford-Hutchinson - June 2023
Zulya Rajabova and Silk Road Treasure Tours arranged an amazing Uzbekistan cultural discovery and adventure trip, customized to meet our needs. Our first stop following an internal flight was legendary Khiva where we explored what could be best described as a “living museum”, with some of the best-preserved historical architecture. The city is a delight to wander around with its eye-catching towers, mosques and madrassas and is a world heritage where people still live within the city walls. Our next stop was Bukhara, Zulya Rajabova’s hometown. Staying in the center of the old town allowed to explore on foot the many sites and also allowed for breaks to sip green tea in the various caravanserais. In Bukhara we had our wow moment when we attended an Uzbek wedding ceremony and participated in the singing and dancing and admired (and tried on) the traditional attire. I have never before had my wife of 53 years bow to me in a wedding costume, something not part of our wedding ceremony! Following this we went to Zulya’s parent’s house where we were treated to a traditional Uzbek meal with dancing by her niece and nephews. A wonderful introduction to Uzbek culture! More dancing and a fashion display followed in an outside performance at a former medresseh. Day trips took in the countryside, a visit to an eco-center to see endangered mammals in the wild and opportunities to birdwatch. A high-speed train took us onto Samarkand, the other major gem on the silk road, with its famous Registan Square and the mausoleum of Tamerlane. We enjoyed visiting Shahrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane! and the site of the remains of his giant summer palace. Another high-speed train journey brought us to Tashkent. This is a very modern city but it has the best food, an extraordinary subway system and we will never forget seeing from a distance a performance of the Lion King in Uzbek with a background of pulsating fountains in multiple colors. It was also a great base to head up to the mountains, ride a ski gondola and see the snow-capped mountains. Zulya Rajabova and her team kept in touch throughout the trip for the enjoyable experience. Uzbekistan is full of European tourists but we met very few Americans. More Americans should go to this unique destination.
June 2023, New York, USA, Tony and Jane Ford-Hutchinson