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Tajikistan


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Tajikistan-Introduction

Well to be honest we ummed and awed about going to Tajikistan, If I remember rightly we spent three days in Tashkent(over a weekend) deciding what direction we wanted to go into next!(we always knew Tashkent was a bit of a crossroads for us)I know you are wondering why we had not planned all our trip from start to finish, the idea was that we had a date pretty fixed (Turkmenistan’s fault) up to that point, and as we all know visas are not so flexible, they all want a start and finish date, and either a “where are you going next?” or a “Have you got an exit?” paperwork first. We knew we wanted to go Kyrgyzstan try and get through to China and we had to get our Kyrgz visa and Tajik in Tashkent if we were (see visa section). What we wanted at this point was a degree of flexibility. Well reasons debated were – Visa & its cost, cost, our own physical abilities, what we wanted to see etc.

Well I just want to say I am so glad we did, it’s a “no brainer” really! On all counts,Tajikistan meets all our concerns and then some. We have been absolutely wowed by the North, the SevenLakesof Shing, or their official name the Margozar Lakes, the stunning FanMountains, which no one should miss if they have time in their itinerary.

The first part of our stay in Tajikistan we did independently from Khojand [Khojand-travel-guide-1358665] –Istavarashan-Pendjikent. We booked our Northern,Fan Mountain trip through ZDTA in Penjikent, who managed to organise us transport and a guide in one hour. Be aware that we ended up with a private car and NOT a 4x4 as advertised, which did prove to come up short on more than one occasion. If you do book with them (yes we did email in advance but got no reply) be firm and insist on a 4x4. Their guide was superb and a credit to the company and gets paid way to little compared to other guides.

We visited six out of the seven lakes, stayed in some lovely homestay with some genuine and very hospitable peoples. They will be reviewed separately.

We stayed at Hamsafar Homestay/Guesthouse in Dushanbe, we arranged this through ZDTA, but had already had it in our sites of places to stay when we were researching Tajikistan. A creditworthy stopover for any traveller.

We had also decided that we would like to travel through the Wakhan corridor, down to the Afghan market at Ishkashim(which the Taliban managed to scupper), and through the Pamirs, we started in Dushanbe-Kala-I Khum-Khorog-Wakhan Valley-Bibbi Fatima Springs-Langar-Alichur, before finding that Angela did actually suffer from altitude sickness which hit her at 4,200mtrs, and having to make a hasty detour to Murghab(yes we had already stayed at 3,600mtrs at Alichur [Alichur-travel-guide-1193157] without incident), but remember at the higher altitudes smaller hundreds of mtrs makes a big difference to the body. So Murghab it was and Angela recovered well enough for us to spend two nights here before our progress onto Osh.

We booked this part of our journey through Pamir Guides with a Mitsubishi Pajero, more than man enough for the terrain we encountered. We delighted in the hot spring at Bibbi Fatima and thoroughly enjoyed our first stay in a Yurt at Alichur, where we enjoyed Yak Yoghurt and cream,(unpasteurised) and yes it is lovely, saw Yaks being milked etc. The scenery of the Wakhan and Pamirs is stunning, waterfalls, Snow topped mountains of the Hindu Kush, coupled along with desert environments, Geysers and abundance of wildlife made this a fascinating place to journey through. That is why I am only doing this short section of Blog; I will upload the pictures will I know will speak for themselves! I will add short editorials to accompany some of them.

Posted by TheJohnsons 00:11 Archived in Tajikistan Tagged mountains sky architecture sunset view nature park landscape monument culture history traditional travel mountain trekking town lake city soviet building famous panorama holiday summer beautiful country hill top national stone skyline tourist scenic central destinations evening asia tourism historic state landmark peak wallpaper structure freedom government symbol tajikistan dushanbe pamir Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Hotan Bazaar

Hotan Sunday Market
Hotan’ s bazaar is also called The Sunday market. Local people call it Chukubaza (meaning is low location market) located in the north-eastern corner of Hotan city. It is one of the biggest markets in southern Xinjiang. It has many special sections for the market. The Bazaar in Hotan is active every day, but the Sunday is special day, when it gets flooded by hundreds and thousands of people on Sunday. The kind of people who come to the market are people from seven counties of Hotan and some other prefecture of Xinjiang. They sell all kinds of special local Hotan such as beautiful styled dresses can be seen or bought and many sweet fruits and delicious dishes as well as snacks can be tasted. Minority Products and Souvenirs local made carpets and roll jade. local people say that it is possible to find everything accept Chicken milk, cows egg in Europeans style.
While you are in the market, please remember the word “posh” that means get out of the way in Uyghur language, as soon as you hear this word, please watch yourself. The best time to go to the market is after 8:30 AM Xinjian time.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 21:15 Archived in China Tagged sky sea oasis desert view park landscape monument ruins fort the of china white death sand door hill pagoda road bush black land moon asian dry out asia quiet relax chinese alone peace silk calm jade ruin basin tibetan xinjiang archeological awesome nur lop asiatic hotan solitary slowly tarim grit taklamakan karakax uigur yurungkash rawak Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Dunhuang Movie Set

Between our journey from Dunhuang to the Jade gate and the Yardang Geopark , we were taken to this movie Set, also the entrance gate of Dunhuang Movie Set known as Modelled Shazhou Town of Song Dynasty (960-1279), is about 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) south west of the city. The town, covering an area of 12,700 square meters (3.1 acres) was originally designed for the setting of the historical film Dunhuang in 1987. The film was made in cooperation with Japan and the set reproduced the layout and construction on a part of the famous scroll painting Qingming Shanghe Tu (The Outing at Bian River on Qingming Festival).

Dunhuang Movie Set presents its majestic appearance in the vast Gobi bearing a rich flavor of the west regions of China. Fully representing the military importance of the western regions in the Tang (618-907) and Song Dynasties, the complex here can give one an impression that the clock has turned backwards to ancient times. Gates are erected on the east, south and west sides of the town. The five main streets, namely the Gaochang, Dunhuang, Ganzhou, Xingqing and Bianliang, criss-cross each other inside the town. Various constructions with distinct characteristics of the Song Dynasty are scattered along the streets, housing arcades, temples, hockshops, warehouses, pothouses, restaurants, dwelling houses and so on.

Taking full advantage of its uniqueness for making movies with a military theme, Dunhuang Movie Set has become the biggest set for shooting movies in northwest China. More than twenty films and television series have been produced here, apart from the movie Dunhuang so far. You might be surprised to recognize the familiar scenes from one of your favorite movies when you are strolling around the town. So be prepared for the unexpected!

This scenic spot is very interesting both for its historical value for putting the vision of the ancient west China into perspective and for its important role in movie-making industry.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 21:06 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture oasis desert tower view nature park landscape monument culture history travel mountain lake buddhism province scenery china building famous sand sun hill pagoda old road scenic land moon spring dune asian natural dry asia camel amazing ancient tourism chinese outdoor landmark crescent silk gobi background dunhuang gansu Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Ashgabhat The White City

Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan. It’s known for its white marble buildings and grandiose national monuments.
From my visit in 2012

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:55 Archived in Turkmenistan Tagged art sky night architecture tower view park landscape monument religion street travel statue town grass urban city blue white building world beautiful road skyline central capital cityscape destination evening attraction asia gold tourism wheel landmark design outdoors ferris modern marble symbol independence original turkmenistan photographic guardian ashgabat turkmen neutrality Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Hua Phan Menhirs, Hintang

During 2013 I was travelling at the later end of a Year across Central Asia and SEA. Whilst in Laos which I covered extensivey up in the North near Sam Nuea I vistsed these Menhirs

Some 110 km (70 miles) northeast of the famous Plain of Jars in Laos is a less well known but equally mysterious series of archaeological sites: the standing stones of the Hintang Archaeological Park in Houaphan Province, not far from the border with Vietnam.

These megalithic sites are located in the mountains about 35 km south west of the sleepy provincial capital of Sam Neua. The two most important sites are San Khong Phan and Keohintang.

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:51 Archived in Laos Tagged sky view nature park landscape france monument culture history travel green grass rocks italy heritage stones rock stone old historical field big sightseeing tourist standing site destination europe ancient tourism historic outdoor landmark bronze celtic archeology outdoors european age carnac neolithic prehistoric megalith nobody megalithic menhir prehistory menhirs alignment tamuli basaltic Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Anau Fort Turkmenistan

During my journey along the Silk Route in 2012-2013 I visited Turkmenistan, here are my pictures from the Anau Fort just before we entered the Karakum desert. Both stunning places that I had to share

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:40 Archived in Turkmenistan Tagged architecture mosque monument culture religion history travel fort town city building famous house day castle stone old historical muslim medieval wall east asia middle ancient architectural historic fortress outdoor landmark oriental ages archeology syria syrian islam ruin arabic fortification orient citadel turkmenistan complex aleppo past islamic monumental Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Persepolis

During my "Silk Route" journey in 2012 I travelled through Iran and of course the route Alexander the Great took to Persepolis the ancient City of Persia. Now in ruins, this UNESCO World Heritage is one that you really need to see to understand and get a feel of. The area of the site is vast and seems to just keep going and going. It is pretty amazing to walk around and imagine how it would have looked in the 4th century.

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:34 Archived in Iran Tagged sky architecture monument culture history travel ruins statue palace city king blue world sand heritage sculpture stone old historical outside unesco site capital wall east middle antique ancient tourism historic sight iran persia persepolis carving gate landmark archeology empire shiraz persian dynasty ruin iranian relief nations excavations basalt bas-relief achaemenid xerxes Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Necropolis at Naqsh e Rustam

During 2012 following the Silk Route of Alexander the Great I visited Iran, and persepolis and this great Necropolis; Naqsh-e Rustam where the great kings of Persia, Darius and Exercese and Artaxerxes I Makrocheir, Darius II Nothus. A beautiful landscape and a place I will always remember....

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:33 Archived in Iran Tagged architecture desert monument culture religion history travel ruins statue mountain province king tomb heritage hill necropolis rock stone old historical cross unesco destination wall east asia ancient tourism historic iran persia persepolis cultural grave empire shiraz darius persian fars dynasty iranian relief antiquity naqsh-e naqsh achaemenid xerxes rustam artaxerxes rostam Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Xieng Khuan Buddha Park Laos

I visited this weird and quirky place in 2012 when spending time in Laos near vientiane. It caught my imagination, I hope it does yours! Buddha Park is more curious than spectacular – which makes for a curious spectacle. A rogue monk is said to have attempted to reconsolidate Buddhism and Hinduism into his own brand of mysticism through a prolific collection of sculptures depicting various deities and scenes from both religions. The information provided at the park is less dramatic, simply stating that Bunleua Sulilat constructed this sculpture garden in 1958 before fleeing across the Mekong to Thailand in 1978 and building a sister park across the river in Nong Khai

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:31 Archived in Laos Tagged art sky architecture park landscape monument culture temple religion travel statue thailand tree buddhism city laos building famous vientiane heritage sculpture wat paradise buddha stone tropical tourist sacred religious buddhist attraction asia southeast amazing ancient xieng tourism god landmark palm exotic outdoors monster worship spiritual mythology mysterious figures wisdom khuan Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-The Registan

After having travelled through Turkey, Iran, and Turkmenistan, we entered our fourth country on our journey along the Silk Route, Uzbekistan. I recall it being a very dry and dusty country, or maybe that’s because most of my destinations in Uzbekistan were like this. It just seemed that Tashkent (the capitol) was the only place to have full and free flowing water and grass and trees. Outside of Tashkent it seemed like time had stood still and you could still get a feel of the days of the Caravansary that used to dot the country along the Silk route. Here a slide show of one of the most beautiful and iconic places in Uzbekistan, The Registan, in Samarkand. Yes it really is that blue. Thankfully the Russians although supressing any kind of Religion during their occupation, did have the foresight of restoring after many earthquakes much of the Registan as you see it today. Working as recently as 1987, twenty years of hard work and money and people with patience and the eye for the historical detail have made The Registan great again!

Posted by TheJohnsons 21:11 Archived in Uzbekistan Tagged art sky night architecture mosque sunset monument culture temple religion history traditional travel square eastern city building heritage dusk mosaic old road muslim medieval central asia ancient tourism historic dome landmark decoration pattern silk islam ceramic illuminated ornament tile exterior facade uzbekistan minaret samarkand complex islamic madrasa registan madrasah samarqand sher-dor Comments (0)

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