A boy plays on a camel sculpture while families and tourists gather at cafes, restaurants, and shops surrounding Bukhara's Lab-i-Hauz - a square flanked by 15th- and 16th-Century madrases with its center featuring one of the few remaining pools in the ancient Silk Road city. Bukhara's old city center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its several blue-tiled mosques and madrases and its history as a former center of Islamic academia, trade, and culture.
With family members watching, soldiers are awarded certificates and are dismissed from military service during a ceremony at the Gur Emir mausoleum in Samarkand in late July. The mausoleum, which dates from the end of the 14th Century, contains the tombs of Central Asian conqueror and ruler Tamerlane, along with those of two sons, two grandsons, and one of his teachers.
Uzbek school kids enjoy their summer break by taking photos at the Crying Mother Monument in Tashkent's Independence Square. The monument, which also has a pit with an eternal flame, was erected in 1999 to honor the approximately 400,000 Uzbek soldiers who died in WWII.
Dr. Mukash Burkitbayev is the vice rector of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan. As professor of chemical sciences, Burkitbayev was jointly awarded in 2007 the NATO Science Partnership Prize for his work on testing radiation levels at the Soviet-era Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.
Dosym Satpayev is an independent political analyst and the director of the Kazakhstan Risks Assessment Group, an Almaty-based think tank that researches political reform, democracy, government opposition movements, corruption, and transparency in Kazakhstan.
In a plain single-story house in a northeastern suburb of Almaty, Pastor Vasiliy Shegay brings his flock of about 50 followers to their feet in song and prayer on a late Sunday morning. An ethnic Korean from Uzbekistan, Shegay says he left his birthplace for Shymkent, Kazakhstan, seven years ago and later moved to Almaty, where he is pastor of the Sun Bok Ym Pentecostal Church.