Aral Sea

Published on 04.04.2013

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Million years ago, the northwest of present-day Uzbekistan and southern part of the Republic of Kazakhstan were covered with immense sea. When the water receded, they left behind a vast plain of highly saline soils. One of the remains of an ancient sea was the Aral Sea, the fourth largest inland sea in the world.

The Aral Sea is an inland saltwater sea. It is formed by two rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya. The natural balance of the amount of salt in the sea was due to the flow of freshwater of these two rivers.

In the 1960s, the head of the Soviet government decided to grow more cotton and rice in Uzbekistan due to its exceptional climate and the people who work hard. Government officials ordered to hold new plants in places that were in the desert area, while so much water has been taken from two rivers that feed the Aral Sea.

New buildings were constructed as well as hydropower dams on the rivers and 850 km of large canal systems were created to "feed" lands. When the irrigation system was completed, millions of hectares on both sides of the main canal were flooded.

For the next 30 years, the Aral Sea sharply declined in the water level, the shoreline receded, and the salt level increased. The marine environment has become hostile to marine life, killing the animals and plants of the region. As the water rose increased and the salt level in the sea also raised only to make fishing industry suffer.

The Soviet system was based on the construction of a series of dams on the two rivers to create reservoirs, including 40,000 km of roads will finally dug water to divert. Fields flourished, but with such a vast area of monoculture, farmers had to use a lot of chemical pesticides. Due to irrigation, salt was drawn to the surface and accumulated in the air. When the dam was built in Tahaitash on the Amu Darya River near the city of Nukus, there was no water in the river to flow into the Aral Sea. To the surprise of people of Moynak, the Aral Sea began to decline.

First, they suggest that this is a temporary condition and dredged on back side of boats to continue to navigate on the sea shore. But the effluent, which reached the sea, had penetrated a deadly mixture of salt and pesticides in cotton fields. Fish population has declined remarkably and when the sea continued to move away, boats were left to lie like a huge floating gigantic statue on the sands that were once the sea floor.

The Aral Sea was a rich source of fish. About 20 types have been once identified by biologists, including Sturgeon and Catfish. Moynak city, located by the sea, was fishing village that also attracted tourists with its seaside sights. In 1950, the Soviet Union decided to cultivate cotton in the great plains. The decisive factor of this happened to be water.

Moynak today is deserted city located more than a hundred kilometers from the sea. The only reminder of once thriving fishing vessels and old fish plants now lost for rust. The sea has been reduced to two-fifths of its original size and is currently ranked 10 in the world. The water level has dropped 16 meters, and the volume was reduced by 75 percent, which is equivalent to the loss of water in both lakes Erie and Huron. The effect to the environment was disastrous as well as to the economics, to the social life and to the health of people living in the region. All of the 20 known species of fish in the Aral Sea have disappeared, unable to survive the toxicity of the salt mud.

Great Silk Road

Published on 04.04.2013

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The origin of the history of the Silk Road comes from second half of the 2nd Century BC, when the Chinese diplomat and spy Changjiang first introduced his compatriots in Central Asia - then unknown region, which lies to the west.

The name "Silk Road" is connected to the fact that is was very precious commodity that introduced the East to the West. It is believed that the secret of silk discovered almost five thousand years.

The growth of scientific and public interest in the Silk Road, the importance and the role in the development of world civilization is not accidental, since the concept is much broader than just a "caravan on the road." The researchers believe that this is due to the proliferation of spiritual values, scientific and technological knowledge, religious and cultural beliefs. Many markets in major cities on all routes of the Great Silk Road has had a significant influence on the formation of politics, economics and culture of countries along the routes. Again and again, this area is through predatory and murderous wars, powerful and small states arise and collapsed, replaced the old capital with new ones.

Today, the people in many countries to examine in search of the roots of its history, the emergence of spirituality and their national part of the culture to understand the world. This opportunity came after a decision on the revival of the Silk Road as an important channel of international cooperation in the field of diplomacy, culture, science, business and tourism. This decision has been held in 1993 by the UN General Assembly in Indonesia.

The international community paid great importance to this process. In 1988 the UNESCO launched the project for 10 years, "a comprehensive study of the Silk Road -. The path of dialogue". The Project includes full case control over the ancient history of the route, the establishment and development of close cultural contacts between East and West, the improvement of relations between the countries of the Eurasian continent. Implementation of the project has been so successful that it was decided to stop the project. Currently aggregated data base for further more concrete cooperation for the restoration and preservation of the unique monuments of the Silk Road, which are included in the UNESCO list. Many of these sites are in Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Iran.

Most of these architectural attractions can be found on the territory of modern Uzbekistan. Monuments like Ichan-Kala in Khiva, historical centers of Bukhara, Samarkand and Shakhrisabz acquired global significance. Merv – is also well-preserved ancient oasis town located on the territory of modern Turkmenistan.

The Silk Road is not only famous for its man-made monuments, but also a great spiritual heritage, including folklore. Equally famous are the Georgian polyphonic song as "shakrullo", the cultural wealth of the region Boysun in Uzbekistan and other evidence of the spiritual values of prosperity and the development of various cultures over the entire length of the Silk Road. UNESCO currently protects all of them.

The Silk Road is one of the most attractive tourist destinations. This is much to the revival of the Silk Road that humanity access to the global heritage of different people who have lived for thousands of years on this great transcontinental road and had formed and matured their varied related cultural wealth.

An important role in the revival of the Silk Road belongs to World Tourism Organization (WTO), which is currently implementing a long-term tourism project aimed to the development of tourism in the assigned region.

The Great Silk Road as a tourist product has many uses. Unlike the classic tour, a tour in a particular country, it is a transnational tour where tourists have the possibility to visit more than one country at a time, to see the present and past of these countries.

We invite you to take a trip along the Great Silk Road. Travel through the paths of  the old caravan that in the past connected east and west. You will have unforgettable experience; you will see the size of the achievements of human civilization firsthand.

Navruz

Published on 04.04.2013

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Ask any Uzbek people, whether old or young, about the dearest and most favorite holiday. And as often as not you will get the answer “Navruz”. What kind of holiday is it? And why it is so favorite by everyone, either residents or guests of the country.

“Navruz” – this is the one of the oldest and most wanted holidays in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. The holiday of the spring and hope. After long winder and cold days, this is the first sunlight warming the land with its lights. Bringing color to the trees and nice tweet to the vast valleys! So, where it comes from, why everyone still celebrates this holiday and even today “Navruz” holiday is still popular?
Maybe because of the relationship of “Navruz” with ancient religion called “Zoroastra” the good god “Zarathustra” and the sun cult. Some say, the cult of “fire”. The day chosen for this holiday is not random of course. 21 March is the day when night and day are equal! This is the date after which days are longer and warmer, nights are shorter and less cold. This is the day when new solar cycle starts giving life to nature. This is why this holiday has sense of “New Year”! 

 “Navruz” is full of it is ancient, colorful and original rituals and ceremonies coming from past to our days combined with mixture of time, religion and people. The one of the main symbols of “Navruz” is the meal from germinated wheat called “Sumalak” mainly made in this period of time of the year. All the people of neighborhood, mostly women, gather around the huge pot, dancing and singing folklore songs, having fun and enjoying the process. Every person is taking his part in cooking “Sumalak” by mixing it in person in his turn. People believe that if you make a wish while mixing “Sumalak”, the dreams come true. This is such an amazing holiday with such a mystique traditions.

Another great thing in “Navruz” is that during this holiday, people visit relatives, neighbors and other people who in need of help. Share with food and cookies, clean the city streets and gardens, give presents, plants new trees and flowers. Forgive past resentments and enemies.

Entertainment is another part of “Navruz”. In each house, tables are full with delicious and seasonal meals like “green” samosa, made from seasonal greeneries; word’s famous Uzbek meal “Osh Palov”. Every door is open this day for the guests! There are folk festivals in each village of each region of this beautiful land – Uzbekistan. Each region has own unique traditions and songs. In most regions, you can witness, another oldest national sport game “Kopkari”, this is horse riding with elements of wrestling to pull out the crown and trophy.

It is hard to describe the deep meaning and warm heart beating of this beautiful holiday. Like always said in Uzbekistan, “better to see once instead of hearing hundreds of times”

Welcome to “Navruz” – national festival and holiday!