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.)
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.