Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Всем моим друзьям, Счастливого Нового 2015 года !

To all my friends - Happy New Year 2015 ! / Всем моим друзьям, Счастливого Нового 2015 года !

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Great Historical Figure of Uzbekistan - Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur

Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur

One of the last Timurids, Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur was a great poet and writer, public figure, scholar, lexicographer, linguist and literary critic. His father, Umar Sheikh Mirza, Amir Timur’s grandson, was the ruler of Ferghana region. His mother, Kutlugh Nigarkhanum, was the daughter of Yunuskhan the ruler of Tashkent. Babur was born on February 14, 1483 in Andijan and died on December 26, 1530 in Agra. Educated at the court at an early age he developed a strong interest in science and poetry. His mentor was Khoja Mavlono Kalon, the famous scientist and thinker.

In June 1494 twelve-year-old Babur was proclaimed ruler of Farghana, after his father died in a freak accident. During this time, two of his uncles from the neighbouring kingdoms, who were hostile to his father, and a group of nobles who wanted his younger brother Jahangir to be the ruler, threatened his succession to the throne. His uncles were relentless in their attempts to dislodge him from Farghana as well as many of his other territorial possessions to come. At the time most territories around his kingdom were ruled by his relatives, who were descendants of either Timur or Genghis Khan, and were constantly in conflict .

Babur himself had a great ambition to capture Samarkand which was ruled by his paternal cousin and in 1497, he besieged Samarkand for seven months before eventually gaining control over it. He was fifteen years old and for him, this campaign was a huge achievement. His army was able to hold it despite desertions, but soon he fell seriously ill. Meanwhile, a rebellion amongst nobles who favoured his brother, back home approximately 350 kilometres away robbed him of Farghana. As he was marching to recover it, he lost the Samarkand to a rival prince, leaving him with neither Farghana nor Samarkand. He had held Samarkand for 100 days and he considered this defeat as his biggest loss and would obsess over it, even later in his life after his conquest of India.

In 1501, he laid siege to Samarkand once more, but was soon defeated by his most formidable rival, Muhammad Shaybani, Khan of the Uzbeks. Samarkand, his lifelong obsession, was lost again. He then tried to reclaim Farghana but was unsuccessful and he escaped with a small band of followers. Being left without an army and his throne, he and a few loyal followers tossed between Djizzakh and Uratepa, Mastchakh and Tashkent, Pskent and Angren, Parkent and Kokand, Osh and Akhsikent.  By 1502, Babur had resigned all hopes of recovering Farghana and was forced to try his luck someplace else.
In 1504 Babur crossed the Hindu Kush mountains and conquered Kabul (a timurud domain) forcing the remaining Arghunids to retreat to Kandahar. Babur undertook the first of his many expeditions across the Kyber Pass into India in 1505.

A portrait of Babur, from an early illustrated manuscript of the Baburnama 1589-90

North India was at that time ruled by Afghan chieftains known as the Lodis. Babar invaded the Lodi-governed Punjab several times from his capital at Kabul before winning a decisive victory in 1526, at the battle of Panipat, only a few miles from Delhi. Babar's small but well-trained army of 12,000 men defeating a much larger force of 100,000 under the command of Ibrahim Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi.

In the following year, Babar led his army to victory over a confederacy of Rajput kings headed by Rana Sanga, ruler of the state of Mewar of Rajasthan. Babar's small force defeating the eighty thousand strong army of the Rajputs. These brisk victories gave Babar, who had extraordinary military acumen, a base from which to consolidate his rule in Northern India.

His guns and his long-practiced use of the enveloping tactics of Central Asian cavalry proved to be effective against the Rajputs as well as restless Afghans tribes.

He moved his capital to Agra, laying the foundation of the future mighty empire that included Central Asian territories, Kabul, the Punjab, Delhi, and other parts of North India as far south as Gwalior and as far east as the Bihar. His descendants known as the Moghul (Mughal) dynasty ruled for about 300 years losing their last outpost of Delhi only in 1858. It can be argued he is responsible along with the British for the unified India of today. (ED: This was the era that my grandmothers family first went to India).

Along with his military and political activities that laid the basis for the Great Mughal Dynasty in India, Babur was a great literary figure and poet. He believed in creating a state where there was harmony among his people and believed strongly in spreading education among the general population. (ED: The Muslim leaders of the Golden age strongly believed in education for all).

Memoirs of Babur

His most famous work was the Tuzk i Baburi  or as it is more commonly known the “Baburnama”  and was a  memoirs made up of a series of the personal letters which he kept throughout life and collected in one work. 

Covering some 36 years in the life of one of Central Asia and India’s most powerful figures, Babur’s detailed and insightful autobiography presents vivid picture of his life and times, the peoples he ruled, and the lands they inhabited. Alongside accounts of military conflicts and strategies, there are well-observed descriptions of landscapes and cities, local economies and customs, plants and animals. Subjects discussed by the Emperor Babur and illustrated in this manuscript include Hindu ascetics at Bagram (today in Afghanistan); the elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo; the peacock, parrot, and stork; the water-hog, and crocodile; trees and shrubs such as the plantain, tamarind, and oleander; and the author supervising work on his own gardens in Kabul. Babur also provides what is probably the first reliable record of the famous diamond known as Koh-i-Noor, the ‘Mountain of Light’.

Read more of his remarkable life see

It is considered to be the world's first encyclopaedia and is still a valuable source for studying the flora and fauna, history, culture and life of the people of Central Asia, Afghanistan, India in the late XV- XVI centuries.

Other works include the Risolai harb  a treatise on his military campaigns, the Divani Babur a collection of his poems, the Mubayyin – a treatise on Fiqh, the Aruz  a treatise on poetic metrics and the Hatti Boburi  on of the variants in the Arabic alphabet for use in the Chatagai language (his own), the ancient literary language of Uzbekistan. Also the Risolai Musiqa a treatise on music and the Risolai volidiya a translation of philosophical and Sufi writings by Khoja Ahrar.

Babur is today considered a national Hero in Uzbekistan, the Government in Uzbekistan  declaring his birthday the 14th February as a day of national celebration.

ED: A nice contemporary article on Babur entitled Wine and tulips in Kabul (Economist) see 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kim Chi - Korean Uzbek Carrot Salad

Originally part of Korean  "chim chi" or "kim chi cusine. In Uzbekistan live more than 200,000 ethnic Koreans and "kim chi" style carrot salad has became one of the national salads of Uzbekistan. You can find this salad in all markets and almost all restaurants in Uzbekistan.

Ingredients: 3 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
5+ cloves of minced garlic
2 tbs hot red pepper flakes
2 med onions
1 tbs 70% white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Cilantro (optional)
1 tbs sesame seeds (optional)

Cut carrots into thin long strips.
Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 10 – 20 minutes.
Gently squeeze the water out of carrots. Add sugar and vinegar.
Dice the onions.
Heat vegetable oil on medium high heat.
Add the onions and sauté until they are golden in colour.
Add hot red pepper flakes, stir once and remove from heat.
Pour this seasoned hot oil over carrots.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, chopped cilantro (optional) and finely minced garlic.
Mix thoroughly before serving as juices tend to sit on the bottom of pan.
Adjust seasonings: vinegar for sour taste, sugar for sweetness.
Refrigerate - Let the carrot salad marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Serve chilled. Enjoy! (Makes 6 portions)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Antique maps incorporating the Aral Sea

Portions of the RUSSIAN EMPIRE in Eastern and Western Asia. 1. The Aral Sea according to Khanikoff. 2. Kamchatka according to A. Erman by Augustus PETERMANN.
Publisher: The Royal Illustrated Atlas of Modern Geography.. Fullarton & Co. c.1850. Plate 8. Steel engraving. Hand coloured. Two maps on one sheet, one showing the Aral Sea, and the other showing Kamchatka. There are three vignettes to the left depicting the Kirghiz people from near the Aral Sea, and three vignettes of Kamchatkan life to the right. Below the maps is a view of 'Petropaulovski', a port in Kamchatka.

Asian Russia -West Siberia- Lake Aral byJacob KUYPER                                        
'Aziatisch Rusland. Aral Meer en omstreken.' (Asian Russia. Lake Aral and surroundings).This lithographed map originates from: 'Wereld-atlas voor Kantoor en Huiskamer' (transl: World Atlas for the office and living room),
Publisher:  Jacob Kuyper (1821 - 1908), Dutch cartographer, published in 1880 - 1882 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands by G. L. Funke.The overall size is ca. 19 x 24 cm. The image size is ca. 15 x 20.5 cm. Lithograph on a vellin type of paper.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Asian Football Cup 2015 - Uzbekistan Matches Group B

The AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 competition will kick off on 9 January 2015. It will be a three week 32 match festival of football between Asia's best 16 nations.
Uzbekistan are favourites to top Group B. An emerging strength in Asia Football Uzbekistan reached the semi final stage of the last Asian Cup in 2011. Their physical strength and aggressive style of play can only be matched by Australia, and with technical players like the Uzbek Maradona, Server Djeparov, as well as Azizbek Haydarov, the midfield is very strong. The forwards are still not perfect but still can perform well. Competing against them are a weakened Saudi Arabia however they can't be discounted as they have a lot of talented players and made the final of the Asia Cup in 2007. China likewise have also invested heavily in football in recent years and its team will try hard to progress past the first round and then there is North Korea who are the wildcard of the group and can play good football on the day and will need to be checked.

Uzbekistan vs North Korea

10 January 2015
18:00 UTC+11
Uzbekistan Vs North Korea

Saudi Arabia vs China

10 January 2015
19:00 UTC+10
Saudi Arabia Vs China PR

North Korea vs Saudi Arabia

China vs Uzbekistan

14 January 2015
19:00 UTC+10
China PR Vs Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan vs Saudi Arabia

China vs North Korea

18 January 2015
20:00 UTC+11
China PR Vs North Korea

For more information on the team and getting to Uzbekistan's' Group B matches go to the following websites:

ABC Asian Cup 2015

SBS Australia - Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan vs DPR Korea Transport NSW

Sydney Olympic Park Uzbekistan vs DPR Korea

Translink Uzbekistan vs PRChina

Football Victoria UzbekistanVs Saudia Arabia

Editors Note : Please note that all official Asian Cup (ie FIFA) links have now been removed due to the fact that the first page we put up was pulled down (when they were included).



видео Узбекистана

видео (10:17) : Маленькое путешествие в страну больших памятников Алексей Григорьев

Узбекистан видео (2:01)


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Keepers of the Lost Art - Savitsky Nukus Art Museum

Video - Keepers of the lost art (18:26) - Journeyman Pictures

Australian SBS/Dateline piece from 2002 on the famous Nukus Art Museum that houses the largest collection of Art and Ethnographic relics in Uzbekistan (ED: The collection is now housed in a modern gallery however this Video is well worth looking at to get a feel for the Savitsky Art Museum and its facsinating history).

For transcript go to

One of the most famous museums in Uzbekistan, a real phenomenon is the Karakalpak State Art Museum in Nukus. Known as the "museum in the desert" by the CIS art community. It is named after its founder and the first director Igor Savitsky. The archeological exhibits of the museum tell about the intellectual wealth and culture of the ancient state Khorezm - the cradle of Zoroastrian doctrines, about trade relations of the Khoresmians with the antique world. The museum houses a big collection of unique medieval ceramics, national Karakalpak silver and cornelian jewelry, traditional carpets. But what makes the museum known world-wide is its collection of Russian and Central Asian avant-garde art of the twentieth century. Considered to be second only to the collection at the Russian Museum in St-Petersburg. In the halls of the Karakalpak State Art Museum there are exhibited early works by A.Volkov and U.Tansykbayeva, the canvases by famous artists-impressionists who lived in Uzbekistan including P.Benkov and Z.Kovalevskaya and Russian avant-garde artists of the beginning of the 20th century P.Kuznetsov, A.Kuprin, N.Ulianov, V.Rojdestvenskiy. Some of the masterpieces from the museum collection have been exhibited in Russia, Switzerland, France, and Italy.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Education System in Uzbekistan

In Uzbekistan 11 years of education are compulsory and free. Students attend school Monday through Saturday during the school year., Primary school begins at the age of 6 years. Children spend 4 years at primary school, followed at age 10 by 5 years of secondary education.

At 15 years of age students may leave education or choose between 2 to 3 years of upper seconday education at either general or technical vocational schools. The former provides a certificate of completed secondary education and the opportunity to enter university, the latter a diploma of specialized secondary education, through a network of secondary vocational institutions.

Non university-level vocational education is provided by national enterprise training centres and a number of business schools, as well as lycea that train professionals in new economic and service fields.

Teritiary education is available from over 60 higher education Institutes and Universities which graduate some 600,000 students annually. The three largest centres of Uzbekistan’s institutions of higher learning are Tashkent, Samarkand and Nukus.


and photo (SMEC)

Monday, November 24, 2014

BBC Recipe for Uzbek Plov

Plov”, also known as “Osh” is the main dish of all the Central Asian countries. It is rich, filling and very tasty if prepared right. The main ingredients are carrots, onions, rice, oil and meat. It is cooked traditionally in a Kazan but you may use a cast iron Qazon Oven (or if not available a cast iron dutch oven or similar). 

There are many different recipes however a classic Plov is made as follows.

Recipe for Uzbek Plov (osh) for 10 people.- Ingredients:
  • 1 kg moderately fat lamb or beef
  • 1 kg medium grain rice (paella type)
  • 200-250 ml melted lamb fat or vegetable oil
  • 1 kg carrot (4 large carrots preferably yellow)
  • 3-4 medium size onions
  • 2-3 whole heads of garlic (optional)
  • 1-2 long hot chillies (optional)
  • 1-1.5 tbsp cumin and ground coriander
  • salt to taste 
  • black pepper to taste 

1. Wash the rice under the tap until clear, cover with cold water and let it soaks for a while. Cut the meat with bones into match-box pieces. Cut the carrots into 0.5x0.5 cm thick sticks. Slice onions into thin rings or half-rings. Clean heads of garlic remove roots.

2. Heat oil in a min 5 litre cast iron Kazan (or similiar ie. Dutch Oven) on a very high flame, deep-fry meat until golden-brown, in 3-4 batches. Fry the onions until golden, add meat to the Kazan, stir well to prevent onion from burning. Add carrot, stir from time to time, until it starts to wilt and browns a little (15-20 min). Add 2/3 of the spices - rub it in your palms a little to release flavor, stir gentliy to keep carrot from broking..

3. Lower gas to moderate, pour hot water just to cover all the goods, add salt and let it simmer for 40 min to 1.5 hours until almost all water evaporate and meat became tender and juicy. Do not stir.

4. Turn gas to max. Drain rice well, place it on top the meat and vegs in one layer, stick the garlic and whole chillies in it, and carefully pour boiling water over it (place a spoon or ladle on top of the rice to keep the rice layer from washing away). Cover the rice with about 2 cm of water, let it boil. Add salt to make the water a bit over-salted. When water starts to go down, reduce the gas a bit, keeping it boiling rapidly. Check when it has evaporated and absorbed into rice completely - rice should remain rather al dente. Make a holes in the rice to the bottom of a vessel to allow you to check the water level.

5. Reduce gas to absolute min, cover tightly with the lid and let it steam 20 minutes. Turn of the heat, remove the garlic and chillies on the separate plate. Carefully mix rice with meat and carrots, if the rice tastes a bit blind add some salt, mix and let it stand for 5 minutes. Pile the plov on a big warmed plate and serve with garlic, chilies and plain thinly sliced tomato-sweet onions-chili-salt salad. Carefully mix rice with meat and carrots, if the rice tastes a bit blind add some salt, mix and let it stand for 5 minutes.

Sources: (Ed)

Source of Photographs and recommended additional Uzbek Plov Recipe (

Other post see Karakalpak Pilov:

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Lost River the Uzboy

The Uzboy River (Uzboj) is  located in the north-western part of the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan. Once a distributary of the Amu Darya it is now a dry river channel and a centre for archaeological excavations. The Uzboy once flowed some 750 kilometers, from a branch in the Amu Darya River via Sarykamysh Lake to the Caspian Sea.

A riverine civilization existed along the banks of the river from at least the 5th century BC until the 17th century AD, when the water which had fed the Uzboy abruptly stopped flowing out of the main course of the Amudarya and into the Sarykamysh depression. Today the bed of the ancient Uzboy River passes through these vast sandy expanses of the Karakum desert as a narrow, blue broken stripe.  

In the early 1950s, construction work started to build a major irrigation canal roughly along the river bed of the former Uzboy. However, the project was abandoned in 1953; later on the Qaraqum Canal was constructed along an entirely different, much more southerly, route.

According to scholars, humans started to settle on the lands along the course of the Uzboy in the 5th century BC. The river witnessed many historic events. The troops of King Cyrus II crossed it during his march on the Massagetae. During the war of Alexander the Great with the Persian ruler, King Darius, the tribe of Aderbics, part of the Massagetae, sent 40 thousand infantrymen and 2 thousand horsemen from the region to the camp of Darius the Great in Babylon, evidence of the large population living on the banks of the Uzboy. The numberless hordes of Genghis Khan and the cavalries of Tamerlane would have also crossed the Uzboy.

To protect their territory from the enemy, to control the water and trade routes the inhabitants of the Uzboy built fortification structures. One  such edifice is the stone-built Parthian Fortress the Igdy  Qala built by the parthians to ensure traders using the great silk road paid taxes..


 Igdy quala is a Pathian era fortress built to ensure the payment of taxes. It corresponds to irregular trapezium with 60 х 60 х 75 х 45 m size. The northeast wall is constructed on a steep at a height of 30 m, from remaining 3 sides the fortress is surrounded with a ditch carved in a rock. The fortification is built up from flat stone flags and fortified by right-angled towers (11 towers like these remained throughout the walls’ perimeter, but walls themselves today are only up to 1.5m height).

Inside of the walls and towers there are narrow loopholes arrow-shaped, typical of the military architecture of Khorezm. The outside walls were covered by puddle clay and on the inside there used to be a corridor used as an archers shooting gallery. S.P.Tolstov mentioned that the fortress was constructed from stone which is non-typical of material in Khorezm, however in all other details its external design didn’t differ much from other late Khorezm fortifications. 

By 1717 in the time of Peter the Great an expedition led by Prince Alexander Bekovich-Cherkassky, who had explored the Caspian region made new maps of the Aral and Caspian basins, in which the Amudarya did not flow into the Caspian Sea any more. With the drying out of the Uzboy, the population started to leave this territory. Some went to the east to live on the banks of the Amudarya, the others settled in the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains, closer to the mountain streams. Nowadays, only a few villages exist on the banks of the Uzboy. There is the preserved moisture in some parts of the bed, but it is salty and is formed due to the nourishment of subsoil waters.

Several small water reservoirs are however still in existence. One of them is salty, and the second one — the Yaskha Lake — is full of fresh water.  From here drinking water is pumped by the 150 km conduit to the residents of the city of Balkanabat, the capital of the oil region of Turkmenistan.

One can observe an unusual thing in other places of the Uzboy riverbed. Very often, small reservoirs consist of two parts — salty and fresh water. In winter, when the sun rises, wild animals and birds come to the small reservoirs to drink water. At this time, the salty layer, due to its heaviness, lies beneath serving as a "cushion" for the fresh water. As soon as it heats the salt water rises (under the effect of temperature) and the water becomes salty.

Well recommended that those interested in this fascinating river read the following publication
Uzboy and the Aral regressions: an hydrological approach
by Igor Plotnikov and Nikola Aladin -Academy of Science, Saint Petersburg, Russia; René Létolle - Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France and Philip Micklin - Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan USA go to

Monday, November 10, 2014

Map of Central Asia during the Russian Empire

Map of Central Asia (Turkestan) : Polish map from 1903 showing the Russian Empire proper in green, Khiva (Chiwa) in brown, and Bukhara (Buchara) in orange. The two tributary states were nearly entirely surrounded by the General Government of Turkestan. After the revolution in 1917 the boundaries were redrawm along broadly ethnic lines and in time 5 Central Asian Republics and two autonomous regions (Parmir and Karakalpakstan)emerged.

Most of Kazakhstan and Karakalpakstan fell under the protection of the Russian Empire under the reign of Peter the Great in the early 1700s (to protect against Djungar Mongol incusions). In the 1860s Russia took control of areas that are now parts of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The Khanate of Khiva and the Emirate of Bukhara both became  protectorates in 1873 and the Tsarist Russia gained control of the Transcaspian region (now Turkmenistan) between 1879 and 1885.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Karakalpakstan is a member of an exclusive club: places which have only a’s for vowels in their name. The others being the Bahamas, Canada, Chad, Ghana, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Malta, Myanmar, Panama, Qatar and Rwanda. it is the only republic in the world scoring five a’s in a row....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Great Photo by Soren Haraldstead - Muynak

                                Soren Haraldsted August 2011


Beautiful Islamic Tile Work Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Samarkand

Elaborate tilework on one of the domes at Bibi Khanym Mosque in Samarkand.

The historical Bibi-Khanym Mosque (Bibi-Xonum machiti) in Samarkand whose name comes from the favourite wife of the famous 14th-century ruler, Amir Timur is located to the northeast of the Registan and was  finished shortly before Timur’s death. Once the Islamic world’s biggest mosque, the cupola of the main mosque is 41m high and the pishtak 38m. The original weight of mosque was some 72,700 tons with an amazing 40.000 m3 of brickwork. This enormous building pushed the contemporary construction techniques of the time to the limit. Slowly crumbling over the years, the mosque partially collapsed in an earthquake in 1897 before being rebuilt in the 1970s.


Photos: Beautiful Islamic Tilework


The Bibi Khanyam Mosque Video (4:36)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Samarkand by Night


Shahi Zinda Necropolis

 Amir Temur Mausoleum 
Bibi-Khanym Mosque 
Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
 Cotton Monument

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UNDP Supply of honey bees and bee keeping equipment to Karakalpakstan / Поставка пчел и пчеловодческого инвентаря в Каракалпакстан

The UNDP Aral Sea Programme has this year provided 30 bee keeping packages including bee hives to enterprises in Kanlikul and Amudarya districts of Karakalpakstan.

As part of her review of achievements made by UNDP Uzbekistan and to pave the way for future initiatives the UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark (former Prime Minister of New Zealand) visited on October 18th the ‘Khojanazar Akhun’ bee-keeping project in Kanlikul to see the successful project.


Humans must change behaviour to save bees, vital for food production 

Bee colonies have been collapsing in many parts of the globe, and this potentially disastrous decline in bees, a vital pollinating element in food production for the growing global population, is likely to continue unless humans profoundly change their ways, from the use of insecticides to air pollution.

It is known that of the main 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food and over 70 are pollinated by bees.

Some 20,000 flowering plant species upon which many bee species depend for food could be lost over the coming decades without greater conservation efforts. Since the 1980s, there has been a 70 per cent drop in key wildflowers among them the mint, pea and perennial herb families.

Meanwhile the increasing use of chemicals in agriculture is being found to damage bees, weakening their immune systems, with laboratory studies showing that some insecticides and fungicides can act together to be 1,000 times more toxic to bees. They can also affect the sense of direction, memory and brain metabolism, and herbicides and pesticides may reduce the availability of plants bees need for food and for the larval stages of some pollinators.

Air pollution, too is interfering with the ability of bees to find flowering plants and thus food, with scents in industrial countries that could travel over 800 metres in the 1800s now reaching less than 200 metres from a plant. Electromagnetic fields from sources such as power lines might also be changing the behaviour of bees who are sensitive as they have small abdominal crystals that contain lead.

Another factor concerns parasites and pests, such as the Varroa mite which feeds on bee fluids, and the small hive beetle, which damages honeycombs, stored honey and pollen. Endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, it has spread to North America and Australia and is expected to reach Europe. Common honey Bees species are also be suffering from competition by “alien species” such as the Africanized bee and the Asian hornet.

Looming over all this is climate change which, left unaddressed, may aggravate the situation in various ways, including by changing the flowering times of plants and shifting rainfall patterns, in turn affecting the quality and quantity of nectar supplies.
The way humanity manages or mismanages its pollinators, will play an important part in defining our collective future.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Beautiful part of Central Asia on the Silk Road - Karategin Valley

Not directly related to Karakalpakstan except that it is also part of the great silk road. I lived and worked there for 9 months in 1999-2000 for MSF-H. The regional capital of Gharm where I was based is directly east of Dushanbe and lies one of the most beautiful and interesting valleys in Tajikistan.
The official name is the Rasht valley, but it is more often known as the Karategin (Karotegin)valley. The valley forms the upper reaches of the Surkh Ob River, flowing between the high peaks of the Pamirs to the east, and the Zeravshan range to the west. It is broader than those in Pamirs, and there is a great variety of scenery and vegetation. It is fertile especially along the river banks.

There are a number of picturesque towns and villages. The people are very hospitable and will give a genuine welcome to visitors who venture into this most beautiful part of Tajikistan.
Travellers will also  have the pleasure of knowing they are follow along an important branch of the Silk Road, known as the Karategin route. In times past thousand of caravans would have passed this way making their journey from northern Persia on to Kashgar in China.

The route followed the river to its headwaters, and then over the Karamyk Pass to Kyrgyzstan. (ED: Note not always open for foreign nationals please check before setting out).

The Karotegin region is the home of the Garmi ethnic group. It frequently appears in its alternative spellings, Qaratagin, Qarategin, Qaratigin, Karategin, Karatigin and Karateghin.

It was an independent region in Central Asia for many centuries. The rulers of the valley who claimed to be descended from Alexander the Great and kept it independent until 1868, although their allegiance was claimed in an ineffective way by Kokand. The Emirate of Bukhara took advantage of internal political feuds and conquered the region, along with Darvaz, in 1877. It was incorporated into the Soviet Union as with all other parts of Central Asia after the October revolution.

The Karotegin consists of a highland district bounded on the north by Samarkand and Kokand, on the east by Ferghana, on the south by Darvaz and on the west by Hissar. Gharm the main centre of the valley is located on a hill on the right bank of the Vakhsh River and had a population of some 60,000. The population of the valley is over 250,000 people; some five-sixths of the population are Tajiks while the remainder are Kyrgyz, who mainly reside in Jirgatol district.

For an excellent Video on the Karetegin : Go To