Lying along the fabled 'Silk Road' which connected China and Europe for
thousands of years, Uzbekistan today is a remarkable and welcoming
place. I recently spent a couple of weeks enjoying the ancient cities of
as well as the modern capital at
The name Timur the Great, (Tamburlaine), struck terror in the minds of
many, 600 years ago when he conquered much of Asia from India to Turkey.
But the ruthless, Moslem leader was also a patron of the arts, building
some of the finest mosques and madrassas ever seen. These stand to this
day, thanks to careful restoration during the early 20th century when
Uzbekistan was incorporated into the Soviet Union.
The country has been independent since 1991 when it broke away from the
USSR. While proud to be independent, the country struggles economically,
no longer artifically protected by the Soviet Union. Unemployment and
poverty led to demonstrations in May 2005, which were brutally supressed
by President Karimov, an ally of Bush and Blair in the 'war against
Against this backdrop, I made an independent journey through
Uzbekistan's ancient cities ending up at the
the world's most
famous environmental disaster. Almost dried up by decades of irrigating
cotton fields upstream, it is a sober reminder of Man's power to wreak
havoc on the planet. Fishing trawlers in the 'port' of
Moynak lie on a
'seabed' of desert, passed nonchalantly by camels.
- Sean Sprague, Photographer
Click here for all photos of Uzbekistan
uz0573 - Apprentice wood carvers at work making a door frame. Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
uz0582 - Children carrying a basket of food, Khiva, Uzbekistan.
uz055 - Women selling lemons and tomatoes. The Chorsu bazaar, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
uz058 - The Registan, Samarkand. Viewed through a stone grill towards the Tillya-Kari Madrassah, Uzbekistan.
uz0538 - Boys of Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan.
uz0536 - Man of Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan.