Hahaha, yes rich smiles. An Uzbek tradition is to have golden teeth, and when people smile, it adds to the warmth of the smile.. . .(??) Is it expensive to let make golden teeth ? what is the purpose of it ? Some people say it is because of bad teeth only, other say it is a mean of savings. . . ?
But there are not only golden smiles, bright white smiles are just as warm!, and the full of joy smiles of the kids just enlighten your heart for the day and help so much to walk in the sun burnt and dusty streets of the old town.
Main picture: A whole little family laughing and smiling at the photographer! The grand mother watches, mother(s) and big sisters were not far; a chat (with hands, pencil and notebook), are so much moving and are also the souvenirs and impressions of a visited place. These smiles just give hope in future. (Small street in Bukhara)
Picture 2: A golden smile near the Samarqand bazaar.
Picture 3: A golden and a white smiles in Khiva; a bit commercial, a bit welcoming; well, smiles have to be received with open heart, even from souvenir sellers, here in Tash Kaouli palace.
Picture 4: Bukhara bazaar; these young ladies do not smile at the potential customer, for sure; do they smile at the guy? At the way he behaves? Because he asked politely if he could make a picture? Whatever, these very ephemeral moments are as important as a long visit in the 39th madrassa (or was it a mosque?) of the day.
Picture 5: Not exactly smiles, just a nice sight; Uzbek ( not sure, may be ethnic Tajik) young ladies look nice and have a tendency to .. . show it , and, showing too much, they end a bit looking like. . . . . oriental Barbie dolls.Samarqand bazaar.
The umbrellas are much more elegant than baseball caps or other hats. . !
Visiting Uzbekistan in Summer bears seriously the risk of a sunstroke! Local people know the risk and take care. Umbrellas are a very common sight in cities and countryside; and umbrellas, besides being a very efficient and practical accessory can also be very elegant and nice. The ladies and girls mainly wear (carry?) this accessory in a very elegant way and even seem to take care of colour matching with their clothes.
Main picture: In the Ismail Samani Park, Bukhara; not only the sky, the mosque domes and the ceramics are blue! Elegant blue dress, blue slippers, assorted to the blue umbrella, or is it the contrary? And the boy carrying the water melon is happy having some shade, too.
Picture 2: Pink cap, pink trousers, assorted to a pink umbrella! This modern young girl gives her hand to her little sister dressed in a traditional fabric dress. (Bukhara, near the Ark)
Picture 3: In Khiva also, ladies carry umbrellas to protect from sunstokes; Islam Khodja minaret in background.
Picture 4: Selling ropes and other related stuffs can be done elegantly! Bukhara Bazaar. The shade indicates it is noon, it is quite hot, and just imagine, sitting there for a few hours without a protection against the sun.
Picture 5: When you have an umbrella, you can go on the sunny streets, otherwise, you keep in the shade of the trees or houses. (Khiva)
In bazaars, of course, you can find clothes, all sort of house appliances, TVs. . ., well, everything. In the pictures here, are some general views of the bazaars from the big cities. Usually there are three main parts in the bazaars:
An open air area, where generally are installed kiosks and stalls selling clothes, household in general, small items.
A big hall where you find food, from spices and herbs to meat.
Alignments of small shops and kiosks where you find what you did not find in the two other areas.
Ah, and there is of course an area where you find small restaurants and chaikhanas (tea-houses) which are on business all day long.
Main picture: This is an overview of the Tashkent bazaar (Chorsu, metro station Chorsu), around noon, a crowded place. There, under the tents and zinc roofs is an incredible variety of products (generally cheap, not only the price!) and the crowd is really tight there! Left, on the high area is the fresh food market. At the back, you see the helicoidal building, or snail shaped building from where one can have a view over the city. May be it is a modern ziggurat. . .
Picture 2: Clothes in the Bukhara bazaar; mainly festive clothes here, with embroidered jackets, the typical Uzbek little caps, ah, and shoes in front. Uzbek men love shoes, generally big shoes. .
Picture 3: In Samarkand, the Bibi Khanum mosque dominates the bazaar. Blue sky, as usual in July, and everything is used to make some shade. And for those who are thirsty, the red kiosk on the left is a water seller (ÂÎÄÀ, voda, means water, and there is even gaseous water: ÃÀÇ: gas ).
Picture 4: Back to Tashkent for the colours on the bazaar, and to see the crowd is still there in late afternoon!
Picture 5: The main bazaar of Bukhara is located near the ruins of the walls of the city, to the North East.
Small villages, big cities, bazaars are everywhere in Uzbekistan, and you can find almost everything in the bazaars of the big cities. The bazaars are very convivial places not only full of colours and scents, but also noises, and encounters are so easy and can be very funny. The kids there know more from Zidane and Materazzi than from - say - Chirac or Sarkozy.
Food and spices are of course the main attraction for the one who is seeking feelings. In the big cities one can be amazed by the variety and the quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables on sale; the spices like in many places in Orient are displayed in big bags, the scents mixing in a almost head aching atmosphere, and the strange things, raw sugar crystals, small dried cheese balls, all sorts of pastries. . . . and so nice vendors.
Bazaar? Gde pasar? (Where is the bazaar? In Russian) Just ask, and people will tell you , or even company you to the bazaar.
Main picture: the colours of the spices in the big bazaar of Tashkent (Chorsu Bazar, Chorsu metro station); the scents are not on the picture, but there is anis, curcuma, black pepper, red pepper, and so many more. . . smell it!
Picture 2: Raw sugar on the Samarqand bazaar; this sugar is of course very sweet just raw in the mouth, and is probably used in all sorts of pastries and sweets preparations.
Picture 3: In front from left to right: shampoo, soap, sweets, small cakes, noodles, dry beans, sultanas, soap again. . . . and lots of things inside. . . . you find everything you need on the bazaar in Bukhara.
Picture 4: If one starves in the bazaar of Tashkent, he really makes it purposely! There is an incredible choice of fresh pastries and starving may come only from not deciding which one looks the most yummy!
Picture 5: Black honey? Yellow honey? Hard? Soft? Just choose! And the ladies display the pots so nicely on the Bukhara market.
The traditional music of Central Asia is lovely - subtle and complex with strands of the music of both the Arab and the eastern world combining with the age-old rhythms and cadences of the nomadic bards of the steppe. The instruments it is played on are just as attractive - wonderfully organic shapes form the sounding boxes of 2-, 4- and 5-stringed instruments, drums and tambours. Stop a while with one of the instrument sellers in Samarkand and Bukhara to listen to and appreciate its soft melodies.
Anywhere else, you're more likely to hear the beat of Uzbek rock however - the louder the better it seems.
Uzbeks love drinking tea! As in other many other cultures from warm climates, Uzbeks believe it is healthier to drink hot drinks rather than cold ones in hot weather. Tea is also a safer option than cold tap water when you're on the road, since the water has been boiled. Green tea (kok chai) is most common, but black tea (kora chai) can be found as well.
When your Uzbek host pours you tea, he or she will traditionally pour out a little tea and then pour it back into the pot twice. Your host will not fill your cup (piyola) to the brim. This is a sign of respect. He or she will continue to refill your cup halfway until it is time for you to go, in which case your cup will be filled one last time, this time to the top.
Markets are a must while visiting Uzbekistan and all Central Asia. During your visit you'll see how people live and understand a bit more about the way people intereact with themselves. What they buy, eat and do socialy.
You can buy all sort of things in big markets like in Samarkand: from bread to flowers, meat fish sweets, clothes, chickens etc...
You'll find them all around the country and in a very concentrated number near big markets. This is a very cheap way of getting a sweet candy, ice-cream or cold drink strong flavoured with some quimic thing...
You should think that Uzbekistan is very rich in trditional handicraft coming al the way from the Real Silk Road era, well think again: IT IS! This is an amazing country full of ancient handicraft and still many ancient patterns and fabrics still remain. Silk carpets and scarves are a must to buy. This is golden embroidery found in Saifuddin Caravanserai in Bukhara near the Labi-Hauz 17th century square.
People in Uzbekistan love to be photographed. In this place behing one of Bukharas most important monument, The Kalon mosque on Nurabad street there's a couch market and all the men got together for a "family photo". You should avoid taking pitures without people's permission of course, like elsewhere in the world.
Families get together for weekends after a full week of work. This is the perfect thing to join and gatter all the family members in order to maintain family contact and help between members.
Country side is often the most well choosen destiny to people to go camping during weekend, this is a good way of runing away from the big cities hard polutted environment.
All Central Asia s a fascinating melting pot of different people where cultures melt and establish a living contact between theselves. This picture was taken up north Chirchik Valley and you can see some Oriental looking familly riding a side car motorbike. Amazing contrasts of people and religions you can find in these coutries.
Uzbek 80%, Russian 5.5%, Tajik 5%, Kazakh 3%, Karakalpak 2.5%, Tatar 1.5%, other 2.5%;
Muslim 88% (mostly Sunnis), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%
Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
Women in Uzbekistan use this lovely cheerful dresses and air scarves. Although already some women had them in Kazakhstan, when I pass the border to Uzbekistan I was in a conpletely different world. Women use patterns with flowers and full of live colours. On the picture you can see what I first saw when got to the country. This was the first bus I took from the actual border with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Sumalak is a special traditional dish that is cooked on Navruz Holiday (March, 21)-holiday of spring coming.
It is a cream-like food, which looks like a chocolate pudding, but in fact it has no sugar and is made of chopped young wheat grains. The taste is very strange. At first you may not like it. But it comes with the time. It is cooked only at this time of the year and is believed to be a holy food.
The process of cooking is very long and hard and usually involves many people to participate.
Since community and family relationships are very important in Uzbek culture, it is usual for neighbours and relatives to join in preparation of this dish. They cook in on the streets of neighborhood in big pots whole night.
It is believed that if you make a wish and stir sumalak while it is being cooked your wish will certainly come true.
People in Uzbekistan are friendly and very helpful. They are basically arabs, good traders, and have some special 'ceremonies'.
Handshaking is usually done by men only and with women if they are the first to offer their hand. For people who are sitting further away, a gesture of greeting is made by putting your right hand on your heart, making a slight bow with your head.
Traditionally, the shoes are left when entering the house.
The traditional respect for elderly people and the superiority of men is obvious. In rural areas, when entertaining guests, women do not usually share the table with men or take part in their conversation.
You can find more info about this and more at: http://www.uzbekistanembassy.uk.net/main/uzbekistan/customs.htm
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