Tuesday 23 May 2023
Tashkent – 1966 Earthquake monument, Hast Imam Square (Hazrati Imam), Tilla Sheikj Mosque, Chorsu Bazaar, Underground Metro, Memorial Square and the Eternal Flame
Samarkand – Home made pilaf meal, Registan Square
A very big day was planned as we get going fully on the second part of the Five Stans tour. We started with a half day tour of Tashkent.
First up was a visit to the only status left in the city from the Soviet Era, the rest having being melted down up independence in 1991. The status was a 1966 Earthquake monument built in 1970. The earthquake killed around 200 people and left 300,000 homeless. The rebuild saw people from across the USSR come here and many stayed changing to the city forever. The monument has a clock at the base with the eact time of the earthquake and cracks representing the devastation caused.
From here will moved onto Hast Imam Square (Hazrati Imam). This square was largely abandoned after the 1966 earthquake given the Soviet’s didn’t have a lot of time for religion but has now been repaired. Housed in this area is the Samarkand Kufic Quran which dates to the 7th century and is said to be the first written Quran created as previously the messages were delivered verbally. The book is written in huge writting to help people see it. The Hast Imam library were it is housed also has other historic Qurans plus more modern Qurans provided as gifts to the Uzbekistan people from other Government in other languages.
When then visited the Tilla Sheikj Mosque which is a Friday Mosque, i.e. used for the compulsory Friday prayers.
From here we visited and explored the vast Chorsu Bazaar. This included watching bread being made and baked and then buying lunch for our later long drive. Bazaar’s give you a good idea of a local people and this one is a must.
Then it was a visit and use of the Underground Metro. This Metro was created by the Soviet and as a result reflects the grandeur then wanted in a people’s place. In Central Asia this is the only example of a Soviet underground as it was created here as the centre of Central Asia.
We arrived at Independence Square and did a quick look around which included a small glance at the Parliament House in the distance which was under guard as the President was there.
We finished our Tashkent half day tour with a moving visit to Memorial Square and the Eternal Flame. Uzbekistan lost 500,000 soldiers in World War 2 out of a population of 8 million at the time. A statue with a sad mother reflects the feeling of losing so my husbands and sons.
Our 310 km drive to Samarkand commenced just after 1 pm and we arrived just after 6 pm. Rustam provided a lot of history lesson on Uzbekistan on the way.
In Samarkand we did a visit to Registan Square as the sun was about to set.
We then moved onto a local home for a home cook meal with the main meal being pilaf which is the national meal and recently recognised by UNESCO.
After the meal we returned to Registan Square for a brilliant light show to cap a busy and very enjoyable day exploring.