Posts Tagged With: Istaravshan

March Trip to Istaravshan, Part Four, Mazar I Chor Gumbaz (Mosque with Four Domes)

March Trip to Istaravshan, Part Four, Mazar I Chor Gumbaz (Mosque with Four Domes)

Our last stop was the most interesting. The humble Mazar-i-Chor Gumbaz (Four Domes) mosque has some gorgeous ceiling paintings inside the prayer room. We were told there is another mosque with four domes in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

All three photos of the ceiling were taken by David. Notice the Ottoman sign of the sultan and the six-pointed star, which might be a symbol of Judaism, or perhaps a symbol of something else. No one could tell us why these symbols were painted into the ceiling decorations.

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March Trip to Istaravshan, Part 3, Two More Mosques and a Market

March Trip to Istaravshan, Part 3, Two More Mosques and a Market

Next stop was the 19th century Hauz-i-Sangin Mosque, which has a dry well, a mausoleum and beautiful painted ceilings on the front porch of the mosque.

Here is a sample of the porch ceiling paintings. They have recently restored the paintings, but left pieces of the original intact. You can mark the difference on the bottom two panels of this photo. David took this photo.

The 17th century Sary Mazar (Yellow Tomb) complex was one of my favorite stops on this trip because of the ancient plane trees, at least one more than 800 years old. The legend is that when the founders of the first mosque on this site came to this place and decided to build, they staked their horses with wooden pegs that grew into these trees.

You can see the sign declaring this tree is more than 800 years old, as well as one of the two tombs that this mosque features.

Here is our friend Dildor as she passes by the trees.

Before we went to the last mosque on our list, we passed by the market. Vendors were pleased to have their photos taken.

These apple vendors gave us an apple as a gift. I don’t know if it was because we took their photo or because we were foreigners, or both.

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March Trip to Istaravshan, Part 2, Hazrit-i-Shah Mosque and Kok Gumbaz Medressa

March Trip to Istaravshan, Part 2, Hazrit-i-Shah Mosque and Kok Gumbaz Medressa

Istaravshan has several interesting mosques that are open to visitors. It seems that the Prophet Mohammed has at least two cousins buried in this city, which the friendly imans will tell you about as they are happy to share the history of their mosque and the ciy.

One such mosque is the Hazrit-i-Shah Mosque, the main Friday mosque of the town.

Our student guide Kaykhusrav and the oman at Hazrit-i-Shah Mosque.

Couldn’t resist posting this photo of the friendly imam.

Next we went back to the Blue Dome (Kok Gumbaz) mosque that I took photos of when I was in Istaravshan in February with some embassy folks. It turns out that it’s not a mosque after all, but a 15th century medressa.

Since I have already posted a photo of the stunning blue dome, here is a detail of the beautiful entryway to the Kol Gumbaz.

Here are some children that followed us into the medressa. David took this photo.

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March Trip to Istaravshan, Part 1, Mug Teppe

March Trip to Istaravshan, Part 1, Mug Teppe

During the Navruz holiday, David and I went to Istaravshan with our friend Dildor and one of David’s students, Kaykhusrav Usmonor (I have such a difficult time pronouncing many Tajik names.) It’s about an hour away on a good, two-lane toll road.  Dildor talked with a friend who is a law professor who arranged a private car with driver for us. I have no idea how that worked, considering the driver was not a professional driver. I think he was just a friend of the law professor. It is all a mystery to me! But yet, another example of the fantastic hospitality of the Tajik people we have met (or in this case, not even met.)

Beautiful views of the city of Istaravshan and the Turkestan Mountains from the heights of Mug Teppe, the site of the fort that Alexander the Great stormed in 329 B.C.

Istraravshan is an old city – in 2002 it celebrated its 2500 birthday. It was conquered by Alexander the Great, and our first stop was Mug Teppe, the site of an ancient fort that Alex stormed. The gate was reconstructed in 2002 and not much of the original site is visible, just a few old mounds of dirt, but the views of the city and the surrounding Turkestan mountains are fantastic.

One can glimpse the city through the windows of the gateway.

David took this photo of Mug Teppe from near the Lenin statue on Lenin Street in the town. The zoom lens does not do justice to how tall the hilltop is.

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Access Program video, second attempt

Here’s the video I promised. It was shot at two the English language Access Program sites in the Sugd Region, about an hour south of Khujand. I was traveling with two U.S. embassy employees, Sandra Jacobs, Cultural Affairs Officer, and Mahmud Naimov, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer.

The programs in this video are in Istaravshan and Ghonchi.

We then visited a program back in Istaravshan and then onto the town of Ghonchi. The following video captures the students introducing themselves in Istaravshan and entertaining us with songs in Ghonchi. The adult Tajik women are the teachers. This is my first video to be posted. While I have been taking photographs for decades, I am new at videography, as this video clearly indicates. But the kids are what are important.

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1st Field Trip (Part 3, Video)

Here’s the video I promised. It was shot at two the English language Access Program sites in the Sugd Region, about an hour south of Khujand. I was traveling with two U.S. embassy employees, Sandra Jacobs, Cultural Affairs Officer, and Mahmud Naimov, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer.

The programs in this video are in Istaravshan and Ghonchi.

We then visited a program back in Istaravshan and then onto the town of Ghonchi. The following video captures the students introducing themselves in Istaravshan and entertaining us with songs in Ghonchi. The adult Tajik women are the teachers. This is my first video to be posted. While I have been taking photographs for decades, I am new at videography, as this video clearly indicates. But the kids are what are important.

http://www.youtube.com/my_videos_edit?ns=1&video_id=eK42LjgLdug

Please let me know if you can’t access the video.

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1st Field Trip (Part 1) Istaravshan

Field trip, yippee!

Mahmud Naimov and Sandra Jacobs, who both work in cultural affairs at the U.S. embassy in Dushanbe, were my hosts for a day-trip south of Khujand into the mountains.

Two embassy folks were in Khujand last week, visiting programs in the Sugd region. They invited me to join them on Thursday, when they visited three Access Programs (more on that in the next installment, if I can figure out how to upload a video) and do a little “touristing” as well. Our first stop was Istaravshan, a town of about 50,000 about an hour south of Khujand into the mountains, which has one of the best-preserved historic centers in Tajikistan. Exploring the maze of streets and alleys is a trip David and I will take in the spring. This time, however, Sandra Jacobs (cultural affairs officer at the US embassy), Mahmud Naimov (cultural affairs assistant at the US embassy), and I visited a wood carving center and checked out the famed knife makers. But first Sandy and Mahmud had some work to take care of and I was able to check out a bread factory and find some children who entertained me near a mosque with a beautiful blue dome. All the photos were taken by me, except for the obvious one.

The bread stuck to the side of the window indicates that this is a local bread bakery.

Young worker in front of the oven.

Bread maker holding finished products while dough waiting to be shaped and baked sit on the shelf behind him.

These three children decided to entertain me as I tried to photograph the mosque dome. The girl in the pink scarf tried her hand at taking photos and took several of me and of the dome.

This is one of the photos she took of me with the two little ones.

Here's one of the photos I took of the mosque dome.

Three of the Yahyoev brothers are continuing the woodcarving tradition of their father. The national seal of Tajikistan is carved into a podium the Yahyoev brothers made for Tajikistan president.

While Mahmud was the one interested in seeing the local knives, it was Sandy and I who ended up buying them. Mine has a cow horn handle and Sandy's knife handle is made of walnut wood. They cost about $10 each. I am having trouble loading vertical photos, so I chose this one instead of the one of the knife maker.

While the roads in Khujand are snow and ice free, in the mountains where we were, there is a lot of snow and ice.

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