Sunday, June 19, 2016

Green Teahouse by Alexander Volkov

The Karakalpak Museum of the Arts, the Savitsky Collection Nukus - The Green Teahouse by Alexander Volkov
From the extraordinary Karakalpak Museum of the Arts in Nukus known as the Savitsky Collection, one of the largest collections of Russian and Uzbek Avant Garde art in the world. The museum also houses a vast folk art collection of pile rugs, flat weaves, embroidery, appliqué work, jewelry and hand-made textiles from Karakalpakstan.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Major gas chemical complex commissioned in Uzbekistan

The Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex, the largest in Central Asia has recently been commissioned in Karakalpakstan. The Prime Ministers of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and South Korea Hwang Kyo-ahn both officiating at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on site on May 21, 2016. The project is located approximately 1,300 kilometers (km) from Tashkent on the Ustyurt plateau in the Kungrad region.

The project involved both the upstream development and operations at the Surgil Field involving drilling new production wells and constructing upstream infrastructure including expanding the complex gas treatment unit to supply up to 3 billion cubic meters per annum (BCMA) of gas and 115 thousand tons per annum (KTPA) of condensate; and the downstream development and operations at the gas treatment site is located approx. 115km southwest of the Surgil Field.

The integrated gas to chemical complex production (gas-to-chemical) comprises five plants a gas separation plant, an ethylene, a high-density polyethylene plant, a polypropylene plant, and supporting facilities; product transportation, water supply infrastructure; the project also includes three 35-megawatt gas turbine generator sets so its power supply independent of the national grid. The project is sourcing gas from its own Surgil Field and will also purchase gas, through a gas supply agreement with UNG, from the Severniy-Berdakh and Vostochniy Berdakh Uchsay fields. Each is currently on-stream and the incremental production of the three gas fields available to the project provides the required gas volume. Condensate supply required for the polymer process is being provided under long-term supply contracts.

The upstream and downstream components of the project  are connected by two parallel 115-km pipelines constructed to supply gas and condensate from the Surgil Field to the gas separation plant. The complex at full production is expected to annually process 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas, produce up to 4 billion cubic meters of marketable gas, 387,000 tons of polyethylene, 83,000 tons polypropylene.

A consortium of Korean companies joined Uzbekneftegaz having established the Uz-Kor Gas Chemical joint venture in May, 2008. Ustyurt GCC project was implemented on a parity basis. The Korean consortium included Lotte Chemical 24.5%, Korea Gas Corporation 22.5% and GS E&;R 3%. The consortium established a joint venture, the UZ-Kor Gas Chemical LLC, with the Uzbekistan state-run company Uzbekneftegaz 50%. The consortium financed 50 percent of the project, and the Uzbekistan financed the other half to develop the gas chemical complex. The main customers  base likely CIS, Eastern Europe and Turkey and later western regions of China.

General contractors of the project were the Korean Samsung Engineering, GS Engineering and Hyundai Engineering. The construction of the complex began in 2011. The total cost of the project amounting to nearly US $ 4 billion. Participants of the project allocated approximately $1.4 billion and attracted about $2.5 billion from financial institutions in order to implement the project.


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. The dynasty dates from a revolt in 1017 where Khwarezmian rebels murdered the ruler of Khwarezm Abu'l-Abbas Ma'munand 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 until it fell to the Seljuqs in 1034. 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 he 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 who in 1157 proclaimed Kharwarezms independence and successfully defeated both the Kara-Khitai and neighbouring Qarakhanids and captured important Transoxiana towns Bukhara and Samarkand. On his death in 1172 his son Ala ad-Din Tekish became the new Khwarezm Shah.

As the Seljuk state fell into chaos, the Khwarezm-Shahs continues to expand 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 new 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 conflict with the Ghurids (from Afghanistan) however was defeated by them at the battle of Amu Darya (1204).

Following their sack of Khwarizm, Muhammad appealed for aid from their former 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 them was however 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 Kara-khanids and by 1215 also defeated his old adversary 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
In 1219 the leader of the Mongols Genghis Khan sent a trade mission of 500 merchants 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 and soon stormed Bukhara, Gurganj and the Khwarezmid capital Samarkand. The moved on Gurganj, the Shah fled westward and died some weeks later of pleurisy on an island in the Caspian Sea. His son Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu became the new Sultan (he rejected the title Shah) soon retreated into the mountains with his remaining Khwarazm forces, while pursued by a Mongol army. However his forces and local allies defeating them at the battle of Parwan, north of Kabul. Another Mongol army soon moving against him (and after being abandoned by his Afghan allies) forcing him to flee towards India.
Jalal al-Din Khwarazm-Shah crossing the rapid Indus River, escaping Genghis Khan and the Mongol army.

However, the Mongols caught up with them and at the battle of the Indus slaughtered much of his army along with thousands of refugees. 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 after 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

Short photo essay on Karakalpakstan

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.