This guest blog was written by Bassam Tarazi. Traveling through the ‘stans was a dream come true. Well, not exactly. If you’re like me, you don’t know what to think about places like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. For most of my life it was a part of the world “over there.” Truth is, I […]
When I first visited Tajikistan in 2009, the only tourist destinations I knew about were the Pamirs and the Fan Mountains. Fortunately, I met the friendly people at the Sworde-Teppa English and Education Centre in Qurghonteppa, and over the years they showed me the best places to visit throughout Khatlon Province. Now I tell everybody […]
With the nuclear deal a fact, things will be changing quickly in Iran. McDonald’s franchises are already in the works. As the world slightly distances itself from Israel’s world view, Iran is poised to become a new tourism heavyweight in the region, on a par with Turkey and Dubai.
Islamic societies had been building minarets for a few hundred years before it became a thing in Central Asia. From the 11th century onwards however, the slender, skyscraping towers built in Central Asia proved to have an enduring influence on Islamic architecture.
This drive not only takes you through some amazing scenery and a host of different vegetation levels and climactic zones, it’s also a trip across the natural and cultural divide of the country.
With the thawing of US-Iranian relations, there has never been a better time than now for Americans to visit Iran.
Trade was the lifeline of the old Silk Road, and things haven’t really changed much since then. 2000 years later, it is still the Chinese who supply the bulk of the products, with the landlocked hawkers of Central Asia as their eager accomplices. There are a million bazaars in the region and it is difficult to just choose a few, but if you are on the road, don’t forget to visit these 8 gems.
When thinking of Soviet architecture, one image comes to mind: rows of monolith, concrete-slab housing blocks arranged across a rigid pattern of intersecting boulevards. But there is more to it, and Central Asian architects of this time did manage to produce some buildings that have gained international recognition.
As it is everywhere else in the world, religion is a hot topic these days in Kazakhstan. From the president to my psychic aunt-in-law, everyone is debating about what the real religion of the Kazakh nation is or should be.
Islam was imported from Arabia around 1000 years ago. The doctrine got infused with the eco-spirituality, shamanism and ancestor worshipping that Kazakhs practiced before that time. Nowadays, the 2 religions are harmoniously combined and their various intermediate forms are growing in importance and variety.
2000 years ago, one of the main arteries of the Silk Road ran through the Pamirs. A network of fortresses was built along the way to protect trade and demand taxes.