In many ways, Kalmar is an archetypal Swedish settlement with a picture-postcard center featuring fastidiously clean cobblestone streets and centuries-old wooden buildings. But the town, situated on Sweden’s southeastern coast, is unusual in one respect: it is home to hundreds of Uzbek refugees harboring a Silk Road secret.
After nightfall in Bukhara, floodlights illuminate the madrassas, mosques, and century-old buildings surrounding the Lyabi Khauz water reservoir, bathing the structures in neon colors of green, yellow, blue and red.
It was a local Uzbek reporter and friend who accompanied me to the famous Osh bazaar in Kyrgyzstan’s southwest during my first visit in June 2006. The sprawling shopping complex – centuries ago a key stop on the ancient Silk Road through Central Asia – straddles the Ak-Buura River north of the city center.
As the temperature in the shade finally dipped below 40 degrees Celsius, a deliveryman carried a two-foot-high stack of flatbread into the 17th-Century Masjidi Synagogue in Bukhara’s old city. Women and young boys followed with five-liter jugs of water and plastic bags filled with bright green cucumbers, softball-sized tomatoes, salt-roasted hazelnuts, and enough sweets to overwhel
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.