Monday, April 18, 2016

Saiga Conservation Website - Highly Recommended

Saiga Conservation Alliance Website (highly recommended) go to
Saigas are one of the most threatened species on earth. Their numbers have declined by 95% in just 15 years. The Saiga Conservation Alliance (SCA) is committed to saving the critically endangered saiga antelope from imminent extinction and I highly recommend their website - it is well worth following.

Photo . Victor Tyakht

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Mahmud of Ghazni

The Khwarazmian (also known as the Khwarezmid) dynasty was ruled by kings known as Khwarazm Shahs, was a Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin. The dynasty ruled large parts of Central Asian during the High Middle Ages first as vassals of the Seljuqs and Kara-Khitanand and later as independent rulers, up until the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia in the 13th century. It dates from a revolt in 1017 where Khwarezmian rebels murdered Abu'l-Abbas Ma'mun then ruler of Khwarezm and his wife, Hurra-ji, sister of the Ghaznavid sultan Mahmud. In response, Mahmud invaded and occupied the region of Khwarezm, which included Nasa and the ribat of Farawa.

As a result, Khwarezm became a province of the Ghaznavid Empire from 1017 to 1034 until it fell to the Seljuqs. In 1077 the governorship of the province passed to  a former Turkic slave of the Seljuq sultan Anush Tigin Gharchai. During his governorship, he assured his family's place in the region and after his death in 1128, his son Atsiz was appointed as the new governor by the Seljuk Sultan Sanjar. Ala ad-Din Atsiz was a ruthless ruler; he laid heavy taxes on the people and began expansion his territories and Sanjar soon moved against him however let him to continue to govern the region, because a new danger was coming from the Steppes. In 1141, the Seljuq Sultan Ahmed Sanjar was defeated by the Kara Khitay at the battle of Qatwan, and Anush Tigin's grandson Ala ad-Din Atsiz became a vassal to Yelü Dashi of the Kara Khitan. 

Ala ad-Din Atisz

After Atsiz died in 1156, he was succeeded by his son Il-Arslan.In 1157, Il-Arslan proclaimed his independence and defeated the Kara-Khitai and the Qarakhanids and captured important Transoxiana towns Bukhara and Samarkand. He died in 1172 his son Ala ad-Din Tekish became the new Khwarezm Shah.As the Seljuk state fell into chaos, the Khwarezm-Shahs expanded their territories southward. Tekish invaded Khorasan in 1183 and in 1194 defeated and killed the last Sultan of the Great Seljuq Empire, Toghril III the empire gaining parts of Khorasan and western Iran. In 1200, Tekish died and was succeeded by his son, Ala ad-Din Muhammad, who soon initiated a conflict with the Ghurids however was defeated by them at the battle of Amu Darya (1204).

Following the sack of Khwarizm, Muhammad appealed for aid from his suzerain, the Kara Khitai who sent him an army. With this reinforcement, Muhammad won a victory over the Ghurids at Hezarasp (1204) and forced them out of Khwarizm. Muhammad's gratitude towards his suzerain was short-lived. He again initiated a conflict, this time with the aid of the Kara-Khanids, and defeated a Kara-Khitai army at Talas (1210), but allowed Samarkand (1210) to be occupied by the Kara-Khitai. In 1212 he overthrew the Karakhanids and by 1215 also the Ghurids. In the year 1212, Muhammad II shifted capital from Gurganj (now known as "Urgench") to Samarkand.
In a few short years Muhammad II had incorporated nearly the whole of Transoxiana and present-day Afghanistan into his empire, which after further conquests in western Persia (by 1217) stretched from the Syr Darya to the Zagros Mountains, and from the northern parts of the Hindu Kush to the Caspian Sea. By 1218, the empire had an area of 3,600,000 km2.and a population of 5 million people.
Khwarezim Empire
Genghis Khan in 1219 sent a trade mission to the state, but at the town of Otrar the governor, suspecting the Khan's ambassadors to be spies, confiscated their goods and executed them. Genghis Khan demanded reparations, which the Shah refused to pay. Genghis retaliated with a force of 200,000 men, launching a multi-pronged invasion.
In February 1220 the Mongolian army crossed the Syr Darya, beginning the Mongol invasion of Central Asia. The Mongols stormed Bukhara, Gurganj and the Khwarezmid capital Samarkand. The Shah fled westward and died some weeks later of pleurisy on an island in the Caspian Sea. The son of Ala ad-Din Muhammad, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu became the new Sultan (he rejected the title Shah). Jalal ad-Din retreated with the remaining Khwarazm forces, while pursued by a Mongol army and at the battle of Parwan, north of Kabul, defeated the Mongols. However being deserted by his Afghan allies, Jalal ad-Din was forced to flee towards India.
Jalal al-Din Khwarazm-Shah crossing the rapid Indus River, escaping Genghis Khan and the Mongol army.

At the Indus River, however, the Mongols caught up with him and slaughtered much of his army along with thousands of refugees at the Battle of Indus. He & other survivors however famously escaped across the Indus and sought asylum in the Sultanate of Delhi. The Sultan of Delhi Iltumish refused, not wishing to get into a conflict with Genghis Khan, and marched towards Lahore at the head of a large army. Mingburnu retreated and moved towards Uchch inflicting a heavy defeat on its ruler Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha, and plundered Sindh and northern Gujarat before returning to Persia in 1224. Once in Persia he gathered an army and re-established a kingdom.
However he was unable to consolidated his power, spending the rest of his days struggling against the Mongols, the Seljuks of Rum, and pretenders to his own throne. In less than a year he once again lost control of Persia being defeated in a major battle against the Mongols in the Alborz Mountains. Escaping to the Caucasus, his army captured Azerbaijan in 1225, setting up his capital at Tabriz. In 1226 he attacked Georgia and sacked Tbilisi. Following on through the Armenian highlands he clashed with the Ayyubids, capturing the town Ahlat along the western shores of the Lake Van, who sought the aid of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm. Sultan Kayqubad I forces defeated him at Arzinjan on the Upper Euphrates at the Battle of Yassıçemen in 1230. He escaped to Diyarbakir, while the Mongols conquered Azerbaijan in the ensuing confusion. He was murdered in 1231 allegedly by Kurdish assassins. (Even then the Kurds were fiercely independent - nothing has changed).

Sultan Jalal ad-Din's followers remained loyal to him even after his death in 1231, and raided the Seljuk lands of Jazira and Syria for the next several years, calling themselves the Khwarezmiyya. Ayyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub, in Egypt, later hired their services against his uncle as-Salih Ismail. The Khwarezmiyya, heading south from Iraq towards Egypt, invaded Crusader Christian-held Jerusalem along the way, on July 11, 1244. The city's citadel, the Tower of David, surrendered on August 23, 1244 and the Crusaders expelled. This triggered a call from Europe for the Seventh Crusade, but the Crusaders would never again be successful in retaking Jerusalem. After being conquered by the Khwarezmian forces, the city would stay under Muslim control right until 1917 when it was taken from the Ottomans by British and Commonwealth forces in WW1 with the help of their Arab allies.

  • Altun Tash 1017-1032
  • Harun 1032-1034
  • Ismail Khandan 1034-1041
Under the Oghuz (Seljuq)
  • Shah Malik 1041-1042
Anushtiginid (Seljuq Vassal)
  • Anush Tigin Garchai 1077-1097 
  • Ekinchi 1097 
  • Qutb ad-Din Muhammad I 1097-1127
  • Ala ad-Din Aziz 1127-1156
  • Il-Arslan 1156-1172
  • Sultan Shah 1172-1193
  • Ala ad-Din Tekish 1172-1200
  • Ala ad-Din Muhammad II 1200-1220
  • Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu 1220-1231


Friday, February 12, 2016

Kyzylkum desert unusual winter snows

The Uzbek Kyzylkum desert covered with snow
Source: State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection
This winter the Kyzylkum desert (in summer one of the hottest places in Uzbekistan) has seen a lot of snow which is a rarely observed phenomenon.

Read the full story in

The Kyzyl Kum (red) desert is located between the rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya, north of the Karakum (black) desert. It mainly consists of sand dunes and is located on a vast plateau (with an average elevation of 300 m above sea level in the southeast and 53 m in the northwest). Temperatures can be very high during the summer months, from mid-May to mid-September (up +50 °C in July ) and relatively cold winters (from 0 °C to –9 °C in January). The annual precipitation is low, from 100 mm to 200 mm, most of which falls in winter and spring.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The father of Algebra - The great mathematician Al-Khwarizmi

Muhammad ibn Musa Khwarizmi (780-850 CE), from Khwarezm (based around north western Uzbekistan) was the greatest scientist of his time, working in mathematics, geography, and astronomy. From a variant of his name "Al-Khwarizimi", has come the words "algorism/algorithm," and "logarithm". The word 'algorithm' signifying arithmetic, or at any rate any process involving repeated calculation.  He wrote a treatise in Arabic language in the 9th century, which was translated into Latin in the 12th century under the title Algoritmi de numero Indorum. This title means "Algoritmi on the numbers of the Indians", where "Algoritmi" was the translator's Latin for Al-Khwarizmi's name. The book introduced the concept of the Algorithm, which is used in our everyday lives. Al-Khwarizmi was the most widely read mathematician in Europe in the late Middle Ages, primarily through his other book, Compendious Book of Calculation by Completion and Balancing, known in the west simply as the "Algebra" This work became 'the prototype' for all works on Algebra and is undoubtedly the beginning of algebraic calculus and decimal arithmetic.

In CE 825 Al-Khwarizmi wrote his famous treatise on Algebra entitled 'Kitab al Mukhtassar fi'l hisab al jabr wa'l muqabalah' (Compendious Book of Calculation by Completion and Balancing). The book introduced the fundamental concept of "reduction" and "balancing", referring to the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation (termed the completing part) , that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation. This is the operation which Al-Khwarizmi originally described as al-jabr. In it he gave numerous detailed examples including an exhaustive account of solving polynomials up to the second degree.]

Kitab al-mukhtasar was also instrumental in introducing the numerical system and the use of the zero, which derives from the Arabic sifr, 'void.The book was the first to introduce squares, roots, and numbers to describe equations. It also introduced a method similar to long division to extract the square root (jithr) of a number and was the first to introduce the concept of mal (power) for the squared unknown variable. In he gave geometrical solutions of quadratic equations. And set out geometric representations of quadratic equations having two variables, e.g. the circle, ellipse, parabola and hyperbola (conic sections) etc. He also dealt with measuring areas and volumesIt was also the first work in which that word Algebra appears in the mathematical sense, 'Algebra' meaning in Arabic 'restoration', that is the transposing of negative terms of an equation and set algebra as a subject independent of geometry" This is perhaps one of the most significant advances ever made in mathematics and was a revolutionary move away from the Greek concept of mathematics which was essentially geometry. Algebra was a unifying theory which allowed rational numbers, irrational numbers, geometrical magnitudes, etc., to all be treated as "algebraic objects". It gave mathematics a whole new development path so much broader in concept to that which had existed before, and provided a vehicle for future development of mathematics in later times.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lilac Road by Ural Tansykbayev another Savisky Nukus Art Museum Masterpiece

 Lilac Road (1935) by Ural Tansykbayev (1904-1974) Source:: Savitsky Museum

Ural Tansykbayev was a renowned Kazakh artist from Tashkent (1904-1974). He studied in N. Rozanov’s Art Studio of the Tashkent Museum of Art (now Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan) from 1924-1928. There he worked with many Soviet painters and followers of the Peredvizhniki ("Wanderers"), first under Nikolay Vasilyevich Rozanov (1869–1940) and later in the Art and Pedagogical Technical School, Penza (1928–1929), under Ivan Silovich Goryushkin-Sorokopudov (1873–1954) and Nikolay Filippovich Petrov (1872–1941) where he was admitted directly to the graduating class. There he became interested in Fauvism and the work of the French Expressionist's, influences noticeable in the increased decorativeness and heightened sense of colour in his early work. From 1932 was a steering committee member of the Union of Artists of Uzbekistan. In 1938 he was the stage and costumes designer of the first national Kazakh ballet "Kalkaman and Mamir" (music of Vasily Vasilyevich Velikanov) at the Kazakh State Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Alma-Ata, production of the Kazakh ballerina and choreographer Shara Zhienkulova (1912–1991) based on the poem "Kalkaman and Mamir" of the historian and poet Şekerim Kudayberdiulı (1858–1931). As a member of the Uzbekistan delegation he paid a visit to the World War II front in 1942. Jointly with artists M.Arinin, S.Cheprakov, and Madra Mandicencio, he made more than 30 monumental paintings for the Uzbek pavilion at All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV) (now All-Russia Exhibition Centre) in Moscow from 1952–1955. He was elected member-correspondent of the Academy of Arts of the USSR in 1954, and a full member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR in 1958. That year he was awarded a silver medal at Universal Exhibition in Brussels Expo '58. The theme of his early paintings is connected with the searches for expressive means, forms of reflection of the reality. They are intensive and enriched by their colours, decorative. By the beginning of the 1950s the main genre in his art had become landscape. He continued to participate in many exhibitions in Uzbekistan, and other parts of the Soviet Union as well as abroad and garnered numerous government accolades. He established very close ties with the Nukus Art museum which obtained many of his earlier works from the late 1920s and early 1930s, regarded by many as the best collection of paintings and graphics of the period. Ural Tansykbayev died in Nukus in 1974 while arranging a solo exhibition.
Other Sources: Ural Tansykbayev entry in Wikipedia
Other Websites:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Postcards from Uzbekistan: The Kalta Minor Minaret, Khiva

Go to Postcards from Uzbekistan: The Kalta Minor Minaret, Khiva: This Postcard video comes from Euronews and features the north west of Uzbekistan and the ancient city of Khiva. Behind the fortress of the inner-town called Itchan-Kala, visitors are met with the beautiful site of the Kalta Minor, which means short minaret – but is also known as the Unfinished or Blue Minaret. It is one of the most beautiful structures in all of Central Asia - its really quite amazing up close!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Uzbekistan Potashi issues stamp on the Aral Sea Catastrophie

Photo: The stamp shows an image of a ship stranded by the ecologic catastrophe that has led to the drying out of the Aral Sea. The stamp block is 52x37mm. (Issue 7,000)

Source :