Republic of Uzbekistan 2021

 

We know the geographical situation of Uzbekistan, that is, its location on the map, but let’s start with a small reminder; It is one of the seven independent Turkish states bordering Kazakhstan in the north, Kyrgyzstan in the northeast, Tajikistan in the southeast, Afghanistan in the south and Turkmenistan in the southwest.

Its official language is Uzbek, which belongs to the Uyghur group, and 74% of the population speaks this language. Since 2002, the Cyrillic alphabet has been switched from the Latin alphabet, but the Cyrillic alphabet is also widely used. The vast majority of the population knows and speaks Russian.

Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, one of the important countries of Central Asia with a surface area of ​​449 thousand km2 and a population of 35 million, has undergone a great change since 2000, and many companies, especially Turkish companies, have made large investments. It is a modern city with a population of 2 million with its multi-storey buildings, shopping centers and new residences. Tashkent has become a rapidly changing and developing big city with its parks, museums and buildings.

Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of the two countries in the world bordering landlocked countries. 88% of the population of Uzbekistan is Muslim and 9% is Orthodox.

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We enter Uzbekistan through the border gate on the Tajikistan side. We are going to Samarkand, the most important historical city of Uzbekistan with a population of 1 million, one of the most important crossroads of the historical Silk Road.

city ​​of Samarkand; It is the administrative center of the Samarkand province, one of the 12 provinces of Uzbekistan, and is also the second largest city in terms of population and the most important historically and socio-culturally in the Zerefshan River Valley. With its history dating back 2500 years, Samarkand, which is among the oldest cities in the world, has been an important political, economic and cultural settlement throughout history, as it is an important crossroads of the Silk Road, and has therefore been the scene of many conflicts.

Captured by Alexander the Great in 329 BC, the city continued to flourish during the Hellenistic period. After being conquered by Muslim Arabs in 711, it became one of the important cities of Islamic civilization. It was defined as the dome of Islam and the foremost of the world’s paradises by Islamic geographers as well as eastern and western travelers.

Registan Square, where the historical buildings that give Samarkand its magnificent appearance are located, took its current shape in the 17th century, during the Bukhara Khanate. Founded in 1924, it became the capital of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. Registan Square, the important historical heritage of Samarkand, is one of the places worth seeing with everything.

It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001.

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First, we go to Timur’s mausoleum, his mausoleum.

Timur Malik Mausoleum; Timur, one of the important commanders in history, is one of the national heroes of Uzbekistan. Timur, whose father is Mongolian and mother is Turkish, is generally known as Uzbek. Because he was injured in the war and walked limply, it is referred to as “Hidden Timur”, but this expression is not very popular here, it is considered as a slight humiliation and is referred to as “Amir Timur”, “Timur Malik” or “Emir Timur”.

The construction of the building, which was started in 1399 by Mohammed Sultan Mirza, Timur’s grandson, who was appointed heir, was completed by Timur in 1404 after the death of Mohammed Sultan Mirza. Timur, who died on February 18, 1405, shortly after its completion, was buried in this structure. After this date, the complex was called Gur-i Emir. “Gur-i Amir” means “King’s Tomb” in Persian.

This architectural complex with its deep blue dome became the family cemetery of the Timurid lineage and important members of the dynasty were buried in this tomb. In the tomb, Timur’s grandchildren Muhammed Sultan Mirza, Pir Muhammed Mirza, Uluğ Bey and Timur’s sons Miranşah Mirza and Shahruh Mirza were buried. The only person in the tomb who is not from the dynasty is Seyyid Bereke, Timur’s teacher.

Amir Timur; He is the unforgettable national hero of Uzbekistan. Born in the city of Keş, Uzbekistan in 1336 and considered one of the most important military and political geniuses of the Central Asian geography, Timur of Mongolian origin is known as “Timurlenk” in Persian and “Aksak Timur” in Turkish because of his limping right foot.

Amir Timur, the founder and first ruler of the Timurid Empire, captured a large part of today’s Central Asia, Russia, Iran, India, Afghanistan, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Anatolia with the campaigns he organized since 1370.

Timur’s thought was to resurrect the Genghis Empire, which was founded on the ruins of the Chagatai Khanate, Ilkhanids and the Golden Horde Khan Toktamış, which was disintegrated after the death of Genghis Khan and founded by his grandchildren, under a single political roof. His campaigns also confirm this thought, and towards the end of his reign he achieved this to a large extent. He first became the head of the Chagatay nation, which he reunited. Then, after adding Hulagu Khan’s lands in the west to his reign, he headed north and dominated the Golden Horde Khanate. However, he died in 1405 by getting sick on the way in the expedition he organized to conquer China. Timur took the example of Genghis Khan throughout his life and attached great importance to his laws. He got the title of Küregen, which means groom in Mongolian, by marrying Saray Mülk Hanım, the daughter of Kazan Khan, a descendant of Genghis Khan. Since she was not a descendant of Genghis Khan, she used the title “Emir” instead of the title “Han”.

While Timur was the enforcer of the Genghis law on the one hand, on the other hand, he called himself the Sword of Islam and used Islamic symbols to legitimize his conquests. It had become the greatest power in the Islamic world after its victories against the Delhi Sultanate in India in 1398, the Mamluk State in Syria in 1401, and the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Ankara in 1402.

Registan Square is one of the most important places in Samarkand.

Registan Square; Registan is one of the rare examples of Central Asian Turkish-Islamic architecture. XV. The square, where three separate madrasas covered with magnificent colorful mosaics, built by Emir Timur’s grandson Uluğ Bey in the 16th century, are located in the center of Samarkand.

Registan Square consists of three separate madrasas.

Ulugh Ney Madrasa; In the first madrasa built by Astrologer, Mathematician and Scientist Uluğ Bey in Registan Square, which means “land of sand”, it was desired to focus on science, especially on sciences such as mathematics, physics and astronomy. With the establishment of the first madrasah, all holidays, festivals and the Sunday market began to be established and celebrated here. Madrasahs are considered as high schools of the Islamic religion. Uluğ Bey Madrasa was founded by Uluğ Bey in 1417-1420 and he himself taught mathematics and astronomy here until his death.

Shir-Dor Madrasa; 200 years after Uluğ Bey’s death, a second madrasa was built as a copy of the first madrasah by the order of Yalangtuş Bahadur, who was the ruler of Samarkand, and it was named Şir-Dor Madrasa. The only difference between them is that there are two extra training halls in the new madrasah prepared for use in the winter months. Other than that, the main structure is the same as the first madrasah. The madrasah, located right across the Uluğ Bey Madrasa, was built in 1619-1635.

Tilla-Kari Madrasa; A few years later, the third madrasa, Tilla-Kari, was built by the order of the same administrator. It is the madrasa built between the Uluğ Bey Madrasa and the Şir-Dor Madrasa between 1647-1659. Although its appearance is similar to the other two madrasahs, the interior structure of this madrasah is slightly different. Madrasahs were built on a similar plan. A square garden, four terraces and rooms lined up along the perimeter. The room doors were made especially low to emphasize respect and humility, which is an important feature in the religion of Islam. You must keep your head down when entering and exiting the doors.

Only the Tilla-Kari Madrasa was built as a madrasah, but with its minarets, it was mostly used as a mosque. In the 17th century, Tilla-Kari was the largest mosque in Samarkand. The buildings, which were used as mosques and madrasas until the 19th century, have been taken under protection as historical monuments since the beginning of the 20th century.

Hundreds of free boarding students, whose upper floors are dormitories and education on the lower floors, were taking courses on theology, astronomy and philosophy, especially in Uluğ Bey madrasah. It was the largest educational institution in Central Asia in the 15th century and was renowned for the quality of education provided.

Ulugh Bey had a more modest madrasa built in Bukhara, with the words “It is the duty of every Muslim man and woman to enlighten his mind.” had it printed.

Uluğ Bey Madrasa has two gates and on both of them, “Even if science is in China, go and find a girl or a boy.” he is writing. The clergy, who are uncomfortable with the education of the madrasah in this way, want to have the madrasahs closed, but when their power is not enough, they try to have Ulug Bey killed.

Upon the news that his son Abdullatif, who was in Belh in 1449, was going to organize a campaign against him, Uluğ Bey took action against him and small-scale clashes took place between the forces that met on the shores of Ceyhun. At the same time, a revolt against Uluğ Bey started in Samarkand, Uluğ Bey, who returned and suppressed the rebellion, returned to the battlefield again, and as a result of the conflict with his son Abdüllatif, he was defeated by his son near the village of Dımaşk near Samarkand. After escaping for a while, he returned to Samarkand and surrendered. Uluğ Bey, who took his son’s permission to go on pilgrimage after surrendering, was killed by his son’s men on the way.

Such is the bigotry created by unconscious religiosity, it turns even the son and the father against each other.

Hz. Muhammad has a saying in this sense, “Instead of worshiping all day, engage in science for 2 hours.” Until you understand.

Historical buildings damaged as a result of earthquakes have been made resistant to earthquakes with the strengthening works.

Samarkand has seen many wars and destruction throughout its history and has been rebuilt many times. There have been three great tragedies throughout the history of Samarkand.

  1. The first tragedy occurred in 329 BC when the city was passed to Alexander the Great. The city was completely destroyed and the people of the city were destroyed. Later, the city was rebuilt with Eastern and Greek style buildings.
  2. The second serious change took place in the 8th century when the Arabs invaded the region. With the killing of many people from different faiths, the region completely converted to Islam.
  3. The third great tragedy is the invasion of the region by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Like many places in the region, Samarkand was completely destroyed and in ruins.

The city, which remained this way until Timur took over the administration of the city in the 14th century, was reconstructed, especially since it was the capital of the Timurid Empire. Timur created the architecture of the city with traces of different cultures with the scientists and architects he brought from the countries he conquered, and made Samarkand a science and culture center with mathematicians, astronomers and musicians.

Samarkand experienced the fastest development in its history during Timur’s 35-year empire.

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“How was paper made centuries ago?” We wondered, and we go to the place where paper is made from mulberry leaves on a large land with water flowing from all sides to learn how it is made. The paper obtained by beating the thin branches of the mulberry tree, boiling it, processing the cellulose in it, pressing it between two smooth-surfaced stones and drying it, has been used for many years in the writing of documents and papers due to its durability.

Bibi Hatun Mosque; Its construction began in the last years of Timur’s life. Returning victorious from the Indian expedition in 1399, Timur dedicated this mosque to his Mongolian wife, Saray Mulk Hanım, with the name Bibi Hatun, which means favorite, head lady.

Timur asked the Iranian architect of Bibi Hanım Mosque to complete the construction of the mosque in one year, and when the crown gate of the mosque, whose construction was completed in 1404, was found too narrow by Timur, it was demolished and rebuilt. The height of the crown gate, which was built as the Friday Mosque

The Bibi Hatun Mosque, which was rebuilt as 40 m and 46 m wide, was completed in 1405, the year Timur died.

The Bibi Hatun Tomb is located directly opposite the mosque.

Hizir Mosque; Hizir Mosque, built on Efrasiyab Hill, is the oldest mosque in Samarkand. XIII. It was destroyed by the soldiers of Genghis Khan during the Mongol invasion at the beginning of the century, and was rebuilt on its old foundations by the architects and engineers of Samarkand in 1854 by the order of the Emir of Bukhara, Muzafferi Khan. Those who set off on an expedition or returned from a voyage would first stop by this mosque and offer a prayer of gratitude. When Islam Karimov, one of the former presidents, died, he was buried here according to his will. Since then, the number of visitors has increased a lot.

The mosque has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

Alp Er Tunga Museum; Alp Er Tunga is considered to be the ruler of the Turan State, which was the common union of states with Turkish ancestry in the 7th century BC. Alp; brave, heroic, Er; male, Tunga; means tiger. So the meaning of his name is “Brave male tiger”. Alp Er Tunga is considered the common ancestor of the Turks. The burial place of Alp Er Tunga, who is thought to have founded the city of Bukhara, lived there and died here, and whose grave is estimated to be in Bukhara, is still unknown. It is an interesting museum where information and relics from that period are exhibited.

Shah-i Zinde; Hz. The son of Muhammad’s uncle, Kusem b. It is the place of mausoleums around the tomb of Abbas, which was built at the place where he was martyred in Samarkand, where he came to spread Islam, and other tombs were added over time. It is the 2nd most visited place in Uzbekistan. Kusem b. The tomb of Abbas was called “Şah-ı Zinde”, which means “living sultan”, and in time it was called by the same name in the region.

Along with the old city of Samarkand, which was destroyed by the Mongols under the command of Genghis Khan in 1220, the cemetery and tombs in the cemetery were also destroyed and partially saved, Kusem b. Abbas Tomb, Masjid and its surroundings have been reorganized since 1335.

Samarkand is one of the places where many civilizations lived in the past, history is made everywhere. As such, there are many mausoleums, madrasas and all of them have stories. In general, they are all built on traditional Uzbek architecture.

The day ended after the evening show, where local dances were performed in traditional clothes. Today has been a long day.

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The majority of cars here are white in color and mostly Chevrolet. That’s the success of the Chevrolet / America company and the dealer here, they created a huge market and it’s almost become traditional. So that it is white, so that it does not get too hot in the sun, so that it is not hot.

Cotton is used everywhere in Uzbekistan, like white gold. The stem of the plant is made of compressed wood materials such as chipboard, firewood, and gunpowder from its core. Although gunpowder is made differently today, it was obtained in this way in the past. It is called white gold because everything is used. Cotton was seen as the main target in the development of the country and investments were made in cotton production. Uzbekistan is number one in world cotton production.

Cotton is a plant that requires a lot of water. For this reason, the waters of the Aral Sea, the country’s largest water source, were transported to many agricultural regions through canals. When the water required for cotton cultivation started to be withdrawn from the Aral Lake, the waters of the lake started to decrease over the years, and today the water level in the Aral Lake is 5% compared to the past. In other words, for the sake of cotton, the water of the Aral Sea has run out. What is made of cotton is generally exported as raw, that is, other people eat its cream. Now, changes have been made in the policy, investments have been started to be made to add value-added, that is, to process cotton and export it as fabric or yarn. It seems like it’s a little late. If the cotton planted in such large areas is not produced industrially, you will not be able to find a man to collect the cotton at harvest time, it remains in the field and especially if it eats the rain, the product will be ruined. Here, all the lands belong to the state and the villagers cultivate on behalf of the state. Therefore, at harvest time, all civil servants, teachers, soldiers, that is, everyone who receives a salary from the state, as well as students, have to work for the cotton harvest.

We are invited to a house in the evening, we will learn how to make Uzbek pilaf, if we like it, we will eat it, let’s see what happens.

The result was very good, we ate it all, it was more enjoyable to eat than to cook.

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We are going to Bukhara, Shahr-i Sabz, one of the most important places on our way.

Shahr-i Sabz; The word meaning is the combination of the words city and vegetable, but vegetable here means green, meaning green, that is, green city. There is not much of a shrine here. The tombs of Timur’s first degree relatives are here. Shahr-i Sabz, one of the oldest cities in Asia, founded 2,700 years ago.

In the old settlement of the city, there is a complex with many holy shrines. Historic sites were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000, and in 2016, the area was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger due to its over-development as a tourist attraction.

We visit the important tombs Dorol Tilavet and Dorol Saadet. When it comes to mausoleums, they are huge places with units such as mosques, shops, visiting areas. Cuma Mosque and Amir Timur’s tomb, where he wanted to be buried after he died, are also here.

Timur’s burial chamber; In 1960, Timur’s secret burial chamber, known but not found before, was revealed when the soil on which a little girl was playing near Timur’s Mausoleum collapsed and fell into the opened pit. A huge sarcophagus and the inscription on its wall indicated that it was Timur’s burial chamber. Due to its weight, the lid of the sarcophagus could hardly be opened and it was seen that it was empty. In the Asian tradition, khans, khans, and rulers generally did not want their burial places to be sharpened after they died. During their reign, they feared that the people they hurt would destroy their graves or that they would be cursed at the graveside. This was the belief that their souls would be in torment under the influence of the pagan beliefs that prevailed in the past in Asia at that time. Today, the burial place of Genghis Khan is still unknown.

White Palace; Although Timur captured most of the geography of that day, from the Chinese border to the Aegean Sea, Timur did not lose his connection with his birthplace, Shahr-i Sabz. He built the Ak Saray, his summer residence, which has been demolished today. Although only a small part of it survives today, there is a large statue of him dressed as a warrior on the large garden of the White Palace. The surroundings of this monument are important places for the Uzbek people. It is the first place to visit for newlyweds, during the holidays families bring their children here by dressing them in their best clothes.

The construction of the palace began in 1380 and lasted almost 24 years until the death of the monarch. The palace consists of several courtyards with living spaces richly decorated with gold, azure and colorful tiles, and the floor is paved with white tiles. Today, only the columns of the impressive entrance part of the magnificent structure have survived. The arch of the gate, once the largest in Central Asia, collapsed almost 300 years ago. The surviving parts of the palace were restored and arranged as a parking place for cultural entertainment and people’s rest. Various art festivals are held here, where Uzbeks everywhere showcase their cultural heritage. Ak-Saray Palace is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Passionate about making the biggest of everything. Whether it’s the biggest or very fast, it doesn’t work, it becomes unstable. Few parts of the magnificent structure are standing in a damaged condition.

We continue on our way to Bukhara, the cotton field is as wide as possible on the way, it is not very easy to collect so much crops without machines. We dived into the cottons, we started to collect cotton. The places you step on are muddy with the water coming from the irrigation canals, we thought we should collect the cotton, thorns pricked all around us, we said let’s be kind, pick it up gently with two fingers, it doesn’t break, we need to catch it firmly. We wish ease to those who do this work, our prayers go to them. We understood that these things are not possible by looking from such a distance and arguing.

It was dark, we arrived in Bukhara. In the evening, we were guests in the house of a local family.

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Bukhara is one of the important stops of the trip, today will be beautiful and long, we begin to wander the ancient city from one end to another.

Bukhara is one of the important crossroads of the historical Silk Road and the most important cultural center of Uzbekistan. We are in the middle of the past, history, it is impossible not to be affected. Our hotel is right in the center of the old city. When the city is viewed from above, the city’s borders look exactly like a camel’s head, so the symbol of the city is the “camel head”.

Located in a great oasis in the Zerefshan River basin, it is possible to come across a valuable artifact of Islamic history and culture at every corner in Bukhara. Like many other cities of Uzbekistan, you can see the most beautiful examples of Turkish-Islamic architecture, magnificent mosques, high minarets, caravanserais in which different shades of blue are used, and madrasahs covered with tiles in Bukhara. In the city, some madrasas, which have trained clergy for centuries, continue their religious education as in the past. Bukhara, where important scholars of the Turkish-Islamic world grew up, is the third most important city of Islam after Mecca and Jerusalem.

Bukhara, which has been home to important trade routes where caravans passed for centuries, is one of the most ancient cities where the paths of people belonging to different religions intersect. It is known that the cultural history of the city, which hosted Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Christians, Jews and Muslims at various times, dates back 2,500 years, but the first human settlements here date back much earlier.

The city also served as the capital of the Bukhara Khanate, one of the three largest khanates that ruled in Uzbekistan from 1599 to 1920. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the capital of this khanate was Bukhara, during the Soviet occupation in 1920 it suffered great destruction and many historical buildings were damaged. The city is the place where Ibn Sina, who laid the foundation stones of modern medicine, wrote many books in fields such as medicine, physics and philosophy, was born and grew up and Imam Bukhari, one of the important Islamic scholars, was raised.

The first building that comes to mind when Bukhara is mentioned, and the cover of many magazines and books, “Tsar Minor”, “The Mosque with Four Minarets”. Mosques in the Islamic geography of Central Asia have only one minaret, this is one of the rare examples.

Tsar Minor; Tsar Minor, also known as the Caliph Niyaz-kul Madrasa, meaning four minarets, is a historical building built for a destroyed madrasah that does not exist today. The building was built in the 19th century under the rule of the Bukhara Khanate, by Caliph Niyaz-kul, a wealthy Turkmen origin from Bukhara. Although it is thought to be one of the gates of the madrasahs behind the four-towered structure, Tsar Minor is actually a building complex with two functions: worship and shelter. There are different rumors about the purpose of the building, which is unique in Bukhara architecture. Despite its unusual exterior, it has an interior typical of Central Asian mosques. Thanks to the dome of the building, it has high acoustic properties, so in the past, it was also used as a “dhikr house” where Quran, divine and instrumental music concerts were held.

Protected as a cultural heritage monument, it is also part of the World Heritage Site Bukhara Historical Center.

Pool Mosque; It is called by this name because it is on the edge of a large pool. There is no exact information about the first construction date. It underwent an extensive renovation in the 20th century and took its present form. Normally there are twenty wooden columns in this mosque. Since the twenty columns at the entrance of the mosque are integrated with the reflections of the pool water in front of the mosque and look like forty columns, it is also known as “the mosque with forty columns” among the people.

I came to Bukhara years ago, it is one of the most beautiful cities here, there are many places to see.

There are 300 mosques and 130 madrasas in Bukhara. There are 2000 mosques in total in Uzbekistan. Imams in Uzbekistan do not receive a salary, they live on the aid. People also know this, they do not spare money to those who are successful in their work. Just as a reminder, there are 90 thousand mosques and 120 thousand imams in Turkey, whose average salary is around 5-6 thousand liras, and mosques have lodgings in many places. As such, those who try to teach religion in return for money, those who give advice on being good and moral, read the text given to them by the political will in mosques and try to influence people in this direction. In other words, religion becomes the voice of power.

Shrine of Ismail Somalia; The tomb of Ismail Somalia, who founded the Somali State, in the 10th century, is an iconic example of early Islamic architecture and is known as the oldest tomb building in Central Asian architecture.

It was built as the burial ground of the powerful and influential Islamic Samani Family Dynasty, which ruled from 900 to 1,000 AD. The Samanids, who gained their independence from the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate, ruled the geography that includes today’s Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The tomb, which is perfectly symmetrical, complex in terms of size, but monumental in structure, bears the characteristics of different cultures such as Sogdian, Sassanid, Persian and Classical. It also reflects the innovative dome support system and traditional medieval Islamic building features, circular domes and mini-domes, pointed arches, elaborate gates, columns and intricate geometric designs. The building, which has a very important place in terms of plan, material and decoration, bears the characteristics of the tombs of both the Karamanlı Period, the Great Seljuk Period and the Anatolian Seljuk Period.

It is one of the three places that were built according to Zoroastrian traditions in the 9th-10th centuries, which is considered the awakening period of Central Asia, and was destroyed during the Genghis Khan invasion.

Bukhara Castle; It is a large castle that was originally built in the 5th century AD. In addition to being a military building, throughout the history of the fort, it was a town inhabited by the various royal families that dominated the area surrounding Bukhara. Bukhara Castle, also known as Ark Kale, was used as a fortress until it was captured by Russia in 1920. Today, it is one of the most popular places in Bukhara and is used as a historical cultural center and museum.

At the entrance of the castle, there are two towers from the 18th century architecturally, and the upper parts of these towers are connected by galleries, rooms and terraces. There is a ramp that rises gradually, and after a door lifted by a crane, there is a long corridor leading to the Cuma Mosque. A closed corridor provides access to warehouses and prison cells. At the center of the fort is a large complex of buildings, one of which is the Ul’dukhtaron Mosque, associated with the legend of the forty girls who were tortured and thrown into a well.

The big square in front of the Bukhara Castle, which was built on a four-hectare hill, was used as the place where meetings, meetings, official statements and executions were held in the past. The women of Uzbekistan wore veils in the past, the women gathered in this square in 1927 started a struggle by lighting a big fire and throwing their veils into the fire, and the women have not been wearing the veil ever since. The castle, which was bombed by the Soviet Red Army in 1924, was renovated with later restorations.

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The lands of Uzbekistan are the places where Islam first began to spread in Central Asia, where great wars were fought with the Arabs. For this reason, in this geography, there are many structures suitable for the Islamic religion such as mosques, madrasahs and tombs, due to the Islamic structuring. We continue to visit Islamic historical monuments in this sense.

We are going to Poli Kalon Complex, one of the important places in Bukhara.

Poly Kalon Complex; Located in the historical part of Bukhara, the kulliye was built in 713 as a complex consisting of several mosques and madrasas on the area near the Ark Castle. One of these kulliyes, which was burned by Genghis Khan during the siege of Bukhara, was rebuilt in 1121 by the Karakhanid ruler Arslan Khan. Poli Kalon complex, meaning “Foot of the Great”, was the place where the region was an Islamic center in the past with the Kalon Minaret and its surroundings.

Kalon Minaret; The minaret, which is also known as Minâra-i Kalân “Great Minaret” among the people, is also known as the “death tower” because criminals were killed by being thrown from above for centuries in the past. The minaret, which is in the form of a vertical column and located in a position dominating the historical center of the city, is the most famous part of the complex. Apart from the traditional minaret dimensions, it is more in the form of a tower and has a traditional and decorative visuality.

The Minareyi Kalon, which was built in 1127 by Karamanlı Arslan Han, is 47 meters high, has a foundation depth of 10 meters, and uses bricks with 14 different patterns, is the most striking structure in the square. The Red Army tried to demolish this place in the 1920s, but could not. Rumor has it that when Genghis Khan invaded these places, he saw this minaret and wanted to examine it closely with admiration. When he throws his head back to look at the top of the minaret, the helmet on his head falls to the ground and he takes it by bending over. No ruler or khan, for whatever reason, takes anything from the ground by bowing before the people. For this unintentional act, he orders the minaret to be repaired and taken under protection, to show his admiration for the minaret and as an expression of his bowing.

Kalon Mosque; It was built by Arslan Han, the ruler of Bukhara, in 1514. It is the same size as the Bibi Hanım Mosque in Samarkand. Although both are mosques, their architectural styles are very different. There are 288 domes resting on 208 columns on the roof of the galleries surrounding the inner courtyard of the mosque, which has a large blue tiled dome. There is a long tiled iwan portal at the entrance to the main prayer hall, facing the courtyard.

This is a huge mosque with a huge courtyard. Eid prayers are held only twice a year. You know, when we say that “reputation cannot be saved”, it was there at that time!

Mir-i Arab Madrasa; The madrasah, built between 1535 and 1536, is attributed to Sheikh Abdullah Yamani in Yemen. Sheikh Abdullah Yamani was considered the spiritual mentor of Ubeydullah Khan, known as Mir-i-Arab, and his son Abdul-Aziz-Han. Ubeydullah Khan, who was extremely religious, had the Mir-i-Arab Madrasa built with the money he obtained from many captives and booty during his war against Iran. By the 1630s, the sovereigns stopped building magnificent shrines for themselves and their relatives. The khans of the Shaybani Dynasty were practicing Qur’anic traditions. Even a famous khan like Ubeydullah Khan was buried next to his mentor in his madrasah during the time when Sharia rules were valid. In the middle of Mir-i-Arab Madrasa, there is the wooden tomb of Ubeydullah Khan, and next to it is the tomb of his mentor Mir-i-Arab.

We have completed most of the mosques, madrasahs and tombs here, and I feel purified and lighter.

The statue of Nasreddin Hodja appeared here as well, and the Uzbeks took him as their own. There is a statue of him, and he is on a donkey in reverse. Well, when the donkey was asked why it was wrong, he replied, “He was taken from here, but his mind and eye are always here.” the explanation is made, the full Nasreddin Hodja answer! Here, the identity of Nasreddin Hodja is like the one who takes it from the rich with his mind and distributes it to the poor.

In the evening, after the show, we are guests at an Uzbek house for dinner, continue with Uzbek pilaf.

We have a long way to go to Khiva, also about the first hundred km. the road is also bad. Khiva is located in the west of the country, in the province of Harazm, close to the border with Turkmenistan. Most of Uzbekistan is desert, so we are going through the middle of the desert, we came to the city of Harazm on our way. This is where Zoroastrianism first appeared in the past. Finally, in the middle of the desert, we came to the 2500-year-old Khiva, known as the city of minarets, in the historical texture, I feel like I’m on a movie set from centuries ago.

The city is divided into Inner Fortress and Outer Fortress. Surrounded by walls, where only 3000 people lived, the Inner Castle is the former settlement of Khiva and is a place where there are textures from thousands of years ago. The plan shape of the houses in the Inner Castle will be a sitting area directly when you enter through the door, this is a habit that comes from the tent life in the desert life.

We climb on the walls and watch Khiva from a height, as if we had traveled through time centuries ago. We set the sun down from here, we watch the magnificent beauty created by all the shades of orange and yellow.

First, we start our tour with the Mohammed Emin Han Madrasa and its minaret, which is one of the symbols of Khiva.

Mohammed Emin Khan Madrasa; The building, which is one of the symbolic structures of Khiva, was built in 1851 by the Emir of Khiva, Muhammed Emin Han. The tower, which is 26 meters high, which is the symbol of Khiva, is one of the most beautiful structures of this place. The madrasah, which is used as a hotel today, reflects all the lines and history of the past. There are many stories here. The truly magnificent tower, which was built by the Khiva King Mohammed Amin Khan in 1851, was originally planned as 70 meters, but remained at 26 meters. The master who built the tower received an offer to build a higher tower from another place, and the king, who heard this, plans to have the master killed when the tower is completed, as he will be disturbed by the construction of a higher tower than the tower he has built. Realizing the situation, the master runs away before completing the tower, so it is 44 meters shorter than it should be. In another story, after Emir’s death in 1855, the construction of the minaret, which reached a height of 26 meters, was stopped.

For this reason, the name of this place is also called “Kalta Minor” meaning “short minaret” or “missing minaret”. The blue and green tiles on the minaret continue to dazzle with the contrast they provide on this steppe soil and attract attention since the past centuries.

At the entrance of the madrasah, it is written, “This madrasah will make the people born in this land happy forever”.

Muhammed Rahim Khan Madrasa, The madrasa, which is right next to the Kukhna Ark in the Inner Castle, has 76 rooms in a two-storey structure built by Muhammed Rahim Khan, who gave its name, between 1871 and 1876. Today, the most important architectural feature of the madrasah, which is used as a museum displaying the history of the Khiva Khanate, is that its main gate is in a courtyard. The reason for this is to create a privacy against the Kukhna Ark, which is right across it.

Right across the Mohammed Rahim Khan Madrasa, there is the residence of the Khans of Khiva, which was built in the 17th century, and the building complex where they ruled the city. The tiled mosque, located in one of these courtyards, is quite impressive.

Friday Mosque; The mosque, which has a different architectural structure, was built in the late 18th century, right in the middle of the Citadel, the old city district of Khiva. The worship area is approximately 45×55 meters in size and is 2500 square meters, and the roof above it is placed on 210 wooden columns. Since the mosque was built on the site of an older place of worship, many old building elements were used in this building, and it was determined that some of these wooden columns were from the 10th century. You can also find the opportunity to watch the beautiful view of the city from the 33-meter-high minaret, which can be climbed right next to the worship area.

On the main road between the West Gate and the East Gate in the Inner Castle, just before the Cuma Mosque, there is the green domed Pehlivan Mahmut Tomb.

Pehlivan Mahmut Tomb; Mohammad Rahim Khan, an Iranian poet and wrestler, appointed Pehlivan Mahmut as the protector of the city and wanted his own tomb to be built in this tomb. When you enter the building, there is the mausoleum of Muhammed Rahim Khan right across the main hall and the mausoleum of Pehlivan Mahmut next to it.

İsmail Hoca Madrasa and Minaret; The ruler of Khiva Khanate between 1864-1910, II. It was built by Muhammed Rahmi Bahadur between 1908 and 1910 and named after his elder cousin, Islam Hodja, to this madrasah with a 45-meter-high architecture. Ismail Hodja had a hospital, telegraph office and schools built in Khiva, but he was stabbed to death in 1913.

Abdullah Khan Madrasa; The madrasa was built in 1855 by Kutlug Murat Han’s wife and Abdullah Han’s mother, after the murder of Kutlug Murat Han’s 17-year-old son, Abdullah Han, in the region that is now within the borders of Turkmenistan, in order to keep his son’s name alive. Today it is used as a nature museum. Kutlug Murat Khan was the uncle of the 3rd Khan of the Khiva Khanate, Alla Kuli Khan. According to a story, there was a belief in Khiva that someone who died outside the wall should not be buried inside the wall. After his uncle died outside the walls, Alla Kuli Khan demolished some of the walls in order to bury his uncle inside the walls, and had this madrasah built between 1804 and 1812 to stay within the walls.

As you can see, neither the madrasah nor the tomb is finished here. All of them have different stories, all of them who have made their mark on the history of these places.

We continue towards the Ak Mosque, also known as the White Mosque and the Taş Avlu Mosque, which is an architectural structure with a porch and a dome, built in the 17th century after the Kutlug Murad Han Madrasa.

Stone Court Palace; The Stone Courtyard Palace, built in the 19th century, located in the eastern part of the Inner Castle and surrounded by high walls, is an interesting structure that passes through somewhat complicated corridors like a labyrinth. The palace, which was started to be built in 1830 by the Khan of the time, Alla Kulik Han, was completed in 8 years with the caravanserai of the same name next to it. The caravanserai was an important market where goods bought from the incoming caravans and goods specific to Khiva were sold to the caravans. Today it is used as a bazaar where souvenirs are sold.

Alla Kuli Han Madrasa was built by Alla Kuli Han in 1912 and served as an important educational institution in mathematics, history and Russian language. The building is currently used as a museum displaying the photographs and equipment of Devenov, who first brought photography to Khiva.

Many of the madrasahs, tombs and mosques in the Inner Castle are open to visitors as museums today.

Khiva is the site of the most important slave trade of the past. Captives collected from the surrounding areas were sold here, while the slaves who paid the most were Russian slaves, as they were more resourceful.

It was evening, the weather started to cool, there was no one around, everyone went home early, and the night is another beautiful one, illuminated. Inner Castle is a non-residential, touristic area.

We are actually in the middle of the desert, so it is cold at night and hot during the day. So in the morning, when the cold is sharp. We dress in layers in the morning, but the dressing session starts slowly towards noon, such a situation. Desert soil and groundwater are seriously salty, so there is a water problem in the region.

We wander around, the Citadel is a very touristic place, the scenery is a little different when you go outside the walls. Tangled and broken roads, that is, somewhat modest living situations immediately catch the eye. There is a special sympathy for the Turks here, many people can speak Turkish. In other words, if you know Turkish, you can get your job done.

**

Central Asian Republics show different characteristics with their structure and history.

Until 1920, different ethnic groups within the borders of the Soviet Union began to state as a partially autonomous republic within the borders determined by Stalin from 1924 onwards. It was meant to define the borders of these countries. But setting boundaries involved some fine calculations. While delineating the borders of ethnic groups within the Soviet Union, Stalin left the regions that meant sacred or historical identity for that society within the borders of other neighboring countries. At first, this delicacy was not noticed much with the excitement of being an autonomous republic. However, later this situation led to serious border tensions between neighboring countries. For example, despite the abundant water resources of some neighboring countries, there may be a serious water problem in another country, places with sacred and religious values ​​were left in the territory of the other country, underground and mineral resources were not fair. This situation would bring countries to the point of conflict with minor manipulations. As a result, neighboring countries could agree on some issues, even if they were similar or from the same ancestry, but they would never be able to act as one body permanently. In fact, similar behavior was applied to industrial and production models within the Soviets. For example, the aircraft engine was made in another autonomous republic, while the fuselage and other components were made in different republics. Therefore, none of them could complete a whole on their own.

Uzbekistan has lands connected to Fergana province in the Fergana Valley, which is the most fertile place in the region, and all of these places are known as Suga district. However, the district of Suga was completely left within the borders of Kyrgyzstan. In other words, a citizen of Uzbekistan must pass through the territory of Kyrgyzstan to go to his own land, Suga.

**

We said our prayers in mosques, madrasas, tombs, everywhere, it’s okay. We are going to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, early in the morning.

Tashkent, in the north-east of Uzbekistan, with a population of more than 3 million, is the center of trade, economy, politics and administration. Wide streets, brand stores, multi-storey buildings have an extremely modern city appearance, of course, this is the situation in the center. There is a very different way of life behind the streets. The first thing to notice is that there is massive construction activity all around. We have learned that the majority of Turkish companies seem to have taken our minds off us, and they are obviously trying to invent an economic development model by building housing!

In the time of Islam Karimov, you had to get permission to go anywhere other than where you were registered as a residence. In other words, the place where you will stay and where you will go should be clear, and if appropriate, permission was given. In the years after 1990, these permissions were lifted and attacks on big cities began. This process has led to a large distorted construction. I did not expect that there are so many Turkish shops, Turkish restaurants, kebab shops, Turkish brand clothing, white goods are all there. Well done, citizens are opening up abroad.

Tashkent was severely damaged by an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1 in 1966. Although the administration of that period made statements that nothing much happened, tens of thousands of dead and injured, almost the whole city was destroyed. Since this date, Tashkent has entered the process of restructuring. Of course, such situations create opportunities for class differences and the emergence of great wealth, and that’s what happened. Those who created opportunities, people who were close to the administration, got rich fast, and big class differences occurred. 100 meters high, Central Asia’s tallest building is being built.

For lunch, we are going to eat the most famous Tashkent pilaf here. We entered the kitchen section, it is already open, we wanted to see how and where such famous rice is cooked. In 5 800-kilogram cauldrons, an additional 1.5-ton cauldron was made, the figures are not wrong, so every day 5.5 tons of rice and meat, salad, pickles, sweet or something. It’s a big place, but if you don’t reserve a place, you may have a hard time finding a place, such a situation. I don’t know where Keramet is, but it’s the best meat pilaf I’ve ever eaten. I’m at the breaking point, but the big plate is gone. Amazing taste, I didn’t know that rice pilaf could be cooked so deliciously.

There is an expression used for American policy or imperialism, “Uncle Sam”, which describes mild contempt and opposition. The expression “Uncle Jo” is used here for a similar meaning and demeanor, meaning Stalin, the harsh dictator of the past.

**

If you want to get accurate information about a city or geography, it is necessary to see the old settlement where its culture and traditions have accumulated. We are going to the “old city” in Tashkent.

. We are going to the region called Hz Imam, the name of Hz. He took it from the Imam Kulliye. It’s a big mosque, of course, there are mausoleums next to it, and a lot of shops selling souvenirs. We travel all around, it’s a clean, well-kept place. In a large room, inside a glass case, a large-size Qur’an written in kufic script is displayed, said to be one of the five first written copies of the Qur’an.

Also known locally as the Barak Khan Madrasa, the complex is one of the greatest architectural monuments of Tashkent, built at the request of the President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov. Muyi Mubarak Madrasa, Keffal Shashi Tomb, Tila Sheikh Mosque and Hast’i Imam Mosque are all in the same complex. In honor of Imam Abu Bakr Kaffal al-Shashi, one of the first scholars of the Islamic world, Hz. It is called Imam Mosque. Hz. Imam Mosque is a large Friday mosque, where 5000 people can pray at the same time, 77 meters long, 22 meters wide, with a central area and 35×25 meters right and left wings, where only Friday prayers are performed. Outside, the mosque has two 57-meter minarets on the right and left sides, the minaret on the right was built by masters from Harezm, and the one on the left by masters from Samarkand. One was completed in 28 days and the other in 29 days. After the construction was completed in 2007, 3600 decorative trees brought from different parts of the world were planted in the garden.

In the old city, there are many old and new tombs, madrasahs, religious buildings, each with its own different story. Especially in new public buildings, visuals suitable for religious culture are also made.

It is not easy to understand the history of this place, as a result of endless wars, the dominance has always changed, the administration and lands have been owned by different khanates. As such, lands have been occupied by different rulers in each period, who have demolished the old one and wanted to build a new one, and some of them did not live long enough to complete it.

Independence Square, known as “Church Square” because of the church that was here in the past, is the biggest square of Tashkent with the martyrs monument with its unquenchable fire. Since 1990, commemorations and meetings have been held in front of the 33-meter-high statue on national days.

**

We are going to Fergana Valley;

This is the most fertile lands of this geography, known as Transoxiana, between the Seyhun and Ceyhun Rivers. In fact, it is another matter, but this fertile land is one of the reasons why Arab invaders came here in the 6th century and plundered them in order to spread Islam. We are in the city of Fergana, in the province of Fergana, it is a beautiful city with large, modern buildings. Fergana Valley is an area of ​​77,000 km2 surrounded by high mountains, the most productive 17 thousand km2 is within the borders of Uzbekistan.

When I came in previous years, there were women on the road selling bread in locally colored clothes with almost all of their front teeth made of gold or gold-like metals. The bread of each was different both in taste and appearance. It was a very pleasant situation, but when new roads were built here, the route changed and there are no bakery women anymore. It was replaced by other bakers. Since bread is eaten in abundance in Uzbekistan, new bakers have emerged. The fire is burning in the big tandoor ovens next to each other, the employees stick the prepared bread to the wall of the oven, after three minutes, the fragrant bread the size of Ramadan pita is ready. We ate more than half a loaf of bread per person. We were actually going to dinner, it was like a pre-dinner snack. Anyway, I think it was worth it, it was very nice.

We are in the city of Kokand, one of the important places of the past;

As in other Central Asian Republics, many inns came here and there were great conflicts. 18th century 21 different khanates ruled here in 170 years until the end, the longest of them was Hüdayar Khan, who continued his reign for 30 years after Timur. Here we are at O’rdo Palace, one of the important historical buildings of this place, where these khanates lived, with 7 large reception halls and 114 rooms, built on a large area. We visit the surviving places of the palace, most of which was destroyed after so many wars. It’s a really beautiful palace with courtyards for ceiling work and painting art. Today, it is open to visitors as a museum, and many items belonging to that period are on display.

We are going to the Friday Mosque. In many settlements where Islam is widespread, there is the Friday Mosque and it is the largest mosque, and the daily prayers are performed in other mosques and masjids that are smaller. Only Eid prayers and Friday prayers are held in these mosques, other times they are closed. In fact, the Friday mosques, which are in central places, are in a sense gathering places. People from all nearby settlements gather here on Fridays to have the opportunity to worship and see each other. The other important thing is that the statements to be made by the management and new decisions are announced here. In other words, it is a place of general meeting and information. This is the largest Friday mosque in the Fergana Valley. A mosque with a large minaret and 98 wooden columns in a huge courtyard. The mosque, which has traditional handcrafted wooden columns, painting and handicrafts, is still actively used on Fridays. In Central Asia, minarets were built separately, not adjacent to the mosque.

We are going to the city of Fergana, in the province of Fergana, the area very close to the border with Kyrgyzstan, so there are quite a few Kyrgyz citizens on this side of the border. We wanted to stop by a Kyrgyz house on our way. They make traditional carpets, traditions passed from father to son, from mother to daughter.

**

Another important place is the important city of Margilon.

City tours in Margilon, one of the silk weaving centers, we enter a silk store we saw while passing by, we are trying to contribute to the Uzbek economy! We went in to have a look, it took two hours to browse. This is the place where silkworm breeding, that is, sericulture, started in Uzbekistan. We learned that the Turkish company manufactures Turkish delight and baklava here and it is quite famous. It’s pretty good, it’s selling out, bravo, it’s not an easy job.

The city of Kishton is also good at pottery, we visit there as well. Our last day, when the program is completed, we wander around the city. In the evening, we will go to Tashkent by train and then the excitement of returning home.

**

If we look at the short history of Uzbekistan;

The country has a rich cultural heritage due to its historical importance and strategic location. In the 19th century, Central Asia fell under the control of the Russian Empire, and Tashkent became the capital of Russian Turkestan during this period. In 1924, the Soviet Union took control of the region and the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was established. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan declared its independent Republic in 1991.

Uzbekistan is one of the world’s largest cotton exporters. Huge power generation facilities and natural gas resources from the Soviet Era have made the country the largest electricity producer in Central Asia. Two-thirds of the country consists of steppe and arid areas. The Kızılkum Desert, famous for its gold and natural gas reserves, is within the borders of the country.

The main export products of Uzbekistan are cotton, textile intermediates and textile products, petroleum, natural gas, food products, precious metals and chemical products. The main imported goods are machinery and equipment, food products and chemical products. Uzbekistan is currently the world’s fifth largest cotton producer and second largest cotton exporter. Cotton, popularly called “white gold”, is one of the cornerstones of the economy, along with mineral resources and oil.

In Uzbekistan, Samarkand, Shahr-i Sabz, Bukhara, Khiva Citadel, places that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, we visited these places as much as possible, I shared what I saw and learned with you.

 

best regards

Hayrettin Kagnici

October 2021

 

error: iletişim : hayrettin@ozka.com

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