June 10, 2009

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Arriving in Samarkand, a once bustling trading post on the ancient Silk Road, I was hoping to find the romance of a dusty and chaotic buy, sell and barter atmosphere that would make me feel like I had shaved a few thousand years off 2009, but, unfortunately for me, the city has since developed beyond the parameters of my fantasy.
The Registan, which is Samarkand’s main draw and an impressive architectural contender for the entire Central Asian region, is a dizzying display of tiles, tiles and more tiles. There are tiles on just about every surface, in a myriad of colors and patterns, and if you stare at them collectively, it’s possible to actually experience a kind of tile vertigo, leading me to think that this was perhaps the reason that the regions Sufi whirling dervishes (a kind of rotating Islamic monk) starting spinning in circles…so they could actually see things straight. The three massive structures used to be education institutions and housing for the cities Muslims, but today they function as one of the country’s most notable and heavily restored attractions.
With all of the sites having undergone full renovations by the Russians, almost to the point of an antiseptic precision, the only way I was able to invoke a historical feeling was by squinting my eyes in front of the many incredible photographs in the museum that were taken during the start of the 20th century and depict the trading markets of old, prayer time inside the mosques and what the structures looked like before they were rebuilt and scrubbed clean.
After two days, with all the squinting, tile vertigo and having to stand in a long line for a shwarma sandwich in the rain it was time to pack up my camel (backpack) and start the trek (by train) to the next destination on ye’ old Silk Road.

1 comment:

FullMoon said...

Damn, I discover an interesting blog and it has been abandoned.


blogger templates | Make Money Online