• Special events


    Blue ceramic of Rishtan

    Rishtan is the oldest centre of ceramic art in Central Asia. The technique of glaze earthenware which local people use for their household needs, and which is exported from the Fergana Valley, is worked out here. It differs in shapes, ornaments and colors. The most characteristic coloring of this earthenware (ceramics) is turquoise, dark blue and brown color on a milky-white background. Ishkor glaze made from plant ash gives the earthenware its beautiful soft shine.

    Rishtan ceramists' mastery of composition is inexhaustible. The paintings, which are done mostly in a free brush manner, are based on direct observation of the nature and reproduce the variety of the surrounding world - flowers, branches, fruit, pitchers, knives, etc.

    Today, like a thousand years ago, ceramics are painted by hand. The artist's individuality is manifested in a unique manner within strict traditions of the folk art, an art style that developed over centuries.

    Rustam Usmanov's art is in perfect harmony with folk traditions. On graduation from the Tashkent Institute of Theatre and Art, he devoted much of his time to studying the old Rishtan ceramics through books and museum collections. It helped him enrich his knowledge about ceramics and gradually develop his own original manner, freedom of composition and technological skill of his mastery. The mastery of his beautiful paintings and richness of pattern themes give a unique, hard-to-reproduce character to each of his works. They are some of the best art works of Uzbekistan decorative art.

    Rustam Usmanov built his own complete pottery studio at home. Mahmud Azizov, a skilful master of kuzagar, produces different plastic forms on the moving pottery circle. Rustam and his relatives paint them by hand.

    The children Asiya, Adelya, and Ruslan work together. They play and joke, trying to make their paintings different from the others'. A charming improvisation can be seen in their childish sincerity and of patterns and steady hands. The best works will remain in the family museum, because the family doesn't want to part with them. The most exciting minutes come when it is time to open the kiln. The adults and children get together, hand over items that are still warm. This moment brings to Rustam that feeling of fullness and significance for which he lives and works.

     

    Traditional ceramics of Gijduvan.    A visit to creative workshop of Abdullo Narzullayev in Gijduvan Town

    A small town of Gijduvan is situated in 46 km northeast from Bukhara. From the ancient times till now days Gijduvan has been considered as important trading town and crafts center. Gijduvan ceramics take the special place among the large number of crafts produced here. The Gijduvan School of ceramics is distinguished by using of flower ornaments, often in combination with geometric ones.

    Ibodullo Narzullayev was one of the most famous ceramists of Uzbekistan and one of the founders of Gijduvan School of ceramics. He took part in more than 50 international exhibitions. His creations are exposed in museums of many countries all over the world. Usta (in Uzbek this word means master) Ibodullo presented not only his invaluable style, but also handed it down to his sons Alisher and Abdullo, and daughter Nodira. They are the sixth generation continuing these ceramic traditions. Today Gijduvan craftsmen are very famous in Uzbekistan and all over the world abroad. The Narzullaevs are regular participants at all exhibitions of decorative and applied arts in Uzbekistan.

    For the last few years the ceramics of Gijduvan School have been exposed in 60 exhibitions in such countries as Japan, Germany, France, Italy, USA and Israel. The Narzullayevs won many prizes in different competitions and festivals. And they received governmental awards. Their creations have been appreciated by the specialists and distinguished guests of the Republic of Uzbekistan: Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Madeleine Albright, the Prince of Wales His Highness Charles and Mr. Federico Mayor.

    In the ceramics workshop of the Narzullayev you will be able:

    -               to become acquainted with the process of producing ceramics;

    -               to visit the ceramics museum;

    -               to buy manufactured articles of Gijduvan craftsmen;

    -               to taste the dishes of Uzbek national cuisine;

    -               to have unique opportunity to attend a training course under the leading of Gijduvan masters living in Abdullo's house.

    Gijduvan embroidery is the other distinctive craft regenerated and developed by the master Mustabshira Barakayeva. Mustabshira-opa with her daughter Mavluda and daughters-in-law Dilorom and Gulbahor restored the past glory of Gijduvan needlework.

    Unbleached calico and dyestuffs used for needlework traditionally applied handmade are produced from everything that grows on Gijduvan's soil: nuts, pomegranates, onions, rose petals, many beautiful Uzbek herbs and bushes of fruit trees. Gijduvan embroidery has preserved its significance that it had in the past. Its range of tender colors day by day attracts more and more enthusiasts. To see the process of Gijduvan embroidery you can also in Abdullo's house.

    Bazaars in Uzbekistan.    Famous Oriental markets

    If traveling through different countries of the world is the best way to find out what goes on there, stopping in bazaars and letting yourself being carried away by the show of noises, aromas and colors will always be an important goal for travelers, for those who want to get involved in the hustle and bustle in order to get close to the roots of the society that surrounds them, as well as for those who get enough out of enjoying the bazaar as a purely aesthetic experience, and authentic gift for the senses.

    Uzbekistan is situated in the region made up of a group of countries and cultures of Central Asia. It is an area with specific features derived from the peoples who humanised the landscapes and made a host of exchanges.

    The market is an economic institution governed by its own rules. It makes trading activity more efficient. It means law and order, agreements, equivalences, coins, weights and measures, contracts, guarantees...

    The market played a fundamental role in an urban economy that had to guarantee foodstuffs and raw materials.

    Uzbek markets are the reflection of ancient traditions and customs of local people. They reflect the complex, dynamic process in which, as well as goods, people, knowledge, values, ideas and tastes have circulated.

    As well supplying, markets have other functions that enable us to capture the rhythms of peoples and their tradition. The market is a highly socialised place, a synthesis of specific cultural codes. Markets help to preserve the memory of places. Even in these modern times, all forms of trading are still in existence, from the most primitive rituals of selling and buying goods to the most modern ones.

    People still trade in the open air, on the ground, or use improvised structures such as tables or wood benches to form covered stalls or open air stands, from motor vehicles, temporary booths, or other bases.

    As well as in past, in present times we find all kinds of vegetables and fruits in the local bazaars: water melons, melons, peaches, cherries, pears, apples, apricots, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, rice, peanuts, almonds, pistachios and big choice of spices and dried fruits that come from different parts of Uzbekistan and other parts of Asia, and others that were once unknown, once that were only introduced or established through the bazaar.

    Visit Samarkand winery named after Khovrenko.  

    Wine degustation. Visit of Museum of Winery

    "All I've heard about the amenities of Samarkand - it is true, an exception is the only thing - the city is much more beautiful then I ever could imagine" - these were the words of Alexander the Great about this city - the patriarchy of the cities of the world.

    "The Rome of the Orient" - Samarkand, has been impressing people with its amenities for already 25 centuries. However, Samarkand - it's not only one of the oldest cities in the world, but also the modern city of Uzbekistan where many efforts have been made to develop industry, education and science. The capital of Zarafshan valley has many monuments and one of them is also the Winery named after M.A. Khovrenko and we would like to tell you more about current production of this Winery in Samarkand.

    It happened long time ago. The militant Arab horsemen suddenly appeared on the scene of the blossoming earth of ancient Sogdiana. The enemies, who destroyed everything on their way, approached the walls of wonderful city Maraqand (Samarkand). The Sogdianian earth was shivering and suffering under the hoofs of Arabian racehorses.

    The townsfolk resisted but their strength weren't equal. The Arab horde destroyed the peaceful life of Samarkand - blossoming gardens, villages burned to ashes; they killed the inhabitants and took the youths to the slavery and ladies to the harems.

    During these horrible times, on the long-suffering land of Sogdiana, near Samarkand the miracle occurred: magic vine with the mysterious berries had grown. The grape was named "Taifi" that means "tribe", "gender". Since that time till nowadays these pink juicy grapes give longevity, vivacity and strength to people. And suburbs of Samarkand became known as a native land of wonderful grapes. "Taifi" is one of many kinds of grapes that is being used for Winery in Samarkand, which centenary had been celebrated lately.

    In Samarkand Winery named after M.A. Khovrenko where people do creative work, new types of wine are being produced constantly, and high attention is paid to every aspect.

    A century ago, in 1968, a Russian merchant Dmitriy Filatov founded small enterprise for wine production in Samarkand. Many things in that Winery were not perfect - even no cultural variety of vineyard available, however, in 4 years, during participation in the world contests in Paris and Antverpen "Samarkand wine of Filatov's gardens" was awarded with golden and silver medals. So, from the last century the "golden" and "silver" world procession of Samarkand wines had started.

    But the real fame came to the Winery from the moment when Russian scientist, wine-maker and chemist Michael Khovrenko arrived in Uzbekistan in 1927. He elaborated technological schemes of such vintage wine like "Gulyakandoz", "Shirin", "Liquor Kaberne", "Aleatiko", "Uzbekistan" and "Farkhod" that were firstly produced in Samarkand Winery. Golden and silver medals awarded - is the best advertisement for them.

    If you ask - what these wines taste like? The reply will be found in the Winery "library". This cellar is 100 years old. Narrow stairs take you along the shelves, on which - as the books - one to one, the bottles of wine covered with thick coat of soot and penicillin mold are placed. There are hundreds of them and in every bottle you will find the sun!

    In figured long-shape bottles here are the first wines of D. Filatov, heavy cut bottles of the thirties, in which wine of M. Khovrenko is being kept, as well as more elegant labels of modern wine. Every bottle has its own fixed place and a passport. The Main "library-man" will inform you precisely about the production year, the type of wine and the taste of each wine.

    Nowadays the following kinds of grapes are being used in Winery:
    "Bayan-Shirey", "Rkatsiteli", "Risling", "Saperavi", "Morastel", "Muskat", "Aleatiko" and "Kaberne". Such kinds as "Pinot black", "May black", "Asyl-kara", "Khindogny", "Mtsvani", "Kuldjinski", "Soyaki", "Bakhtiori" and "Bishty" are under elaboration for future production.

    In a glass that you hold in your hand - you have Uzbek sun. Hardworking winegrowers of Uzbekistan, the masters of Winery, do everything possible to make this sun awake the solar energy of every one's soul!

    Bozori Kord Hammam in Bukhara.    Oriental spa for men and women. Welcome to one of the oldest working hammam in the world! Relaxation and Health. Discover the secrets of old tradition

    The Bozori Kord Hammam was built in the 14th century, and has been in regular use ever since. The hammam experience may be one of the most memorable ones of your trip. You will immerse yourself in centuries-old traditions, and will experience the "real Bukhara". This will take you beyond the souvenir shops and tour guides, and will put you in contact with the way people really live in Bukhara.

    After a long day of walking, a deep muscle massage is exactly what you need. Masseurs will introduce you to the secrets of Oriental Massage.

    Bath:
    The bath in the hammam is a self-service affair. This option is available only during normal work hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday-Monday (closed Tuesdays). You can sit in the steam rooms as long as you want, and can use the plastic buckets to get your own water. As part of the price, we will provide for you use of a clean towel, a lungi (wrap-around cloth to cover yourself while in the hammam), and sandals (the floor can get quite hot in spots, plus the marble can be slippery if walking barefoot). After your bath, you can sit in the changing room and sip tea with the other guests.

    Bath and Massage:
    You will be guided into the hammam by an assistant who will show you where to sit, how to get water, and how to relax in the hot room. The assistant will leave you alone in the hot room for thirty minutes or so, until the pores of your skin are open and your skin begins to breathe and self-clean. The vapors will clean out your lungs and sinuses, and your muscles will begin to relax.
    After you are nice and sweaty, the assistant will come back and guide you to a heated platform in a warm room where you will lie to get your 20-30 minutes massage. Please note that if the marble is too hot for your comfort there are other parts of the hammam that are cooler and you can request to move to a cooler place. The assistant will tell you how to lie and which way to face. Do not be surprised if during the massage he sits on you or stands on you. This is how massages are done in Bukhara!

    After your massage, you can bathe yourself. The assistant will bring you warm water and will pour one bucket of water on you to rinse off the soap. After that you should relax in the cool room for a few minutes before coming out, in order to allow your body to adjust slowly to the temperature changes. Afterwards, you may go to the changing room to sip some tea, relax, and chat with the other guests.

    Deluxe Bath and Massage:
    You will be guided into the hammam by an assistant who will show you where to sit, how to get water, and how to relax in the hot room. The assistant will leave you alone in the hot room for thirty minutes or so, until the pores of your skin are open and your skin begins to breathe and self-clean. The vapors will clean out your lungs and sinuses, and your muscles will begin to relax.

    The second step is a special deep cleaning with the traditional "halta." After this, you will begin the first massage: which is the same as the Bath and Massage. Following your first massage as described above, you will relax in the cool room. The assistant will leave you for 15-20 minutes before returning with soap and shampoo. He will then proceed with a second 20 minute massage, soaping you up you as you get a relaxing massage. Please note that you will wash your own personal areas, though! He will then pour several buckets of warm water, allowing you to rinse off at leisure before exiting to the changing room where you can sip tea with the other guests.

    Spice massage:
    The curative powers of spices are well-known in the Orient. You may choose from an array of spices that will not only soothe your body but also calm your spirit with pleasant scents.

    Incense:
    You may choose to request that the assistant burn incense in the massage hall while you receive your massage to enhance the relaxation experience.

    Working schedule:
    Men:
    regular hours: Wed-Mon 7-3 pm
    evenings: by reservation only

    Women:
    evenings by reservation only.
    Female masseurses available upon request.

     

    Meros” handicraft association

    Samarkand handicraft Association “Meros” is a non-governmental organization that supports Uzbek artisans access the global market through sponsoring and participating in artistic exhibitions. The organization was founded under the Cultural & Cognitive Tourism and Crafts Development in Uzbekistan program by UNESCO?UNDP in March 1996. its mission is to preserve, develop, and revive the artistic traditions of Uzbekistan, and to foster a sense of cultural heritage amongst the Uzbek people.

     

    Currently Meros has over 50 craftsmen in the organization producing a variety of traditional handicrafts ranging from ceramics and porcelain; textile and embroidery, hand-made silk, wood carving and stone engraving, jewelry, hand-made paper, traditional toys and miniature figuring and musical instruments.

     

    Hand-made paper was first manufactured in Samarkand in the 8th century. Its production was initiated by Chinese captives, after the war in Talas in 751 AD. It was the first city in Central Asia and the second city in the world to produce its own paper. Samarkand paper was made from mulberry tree, henna, and rose water, and was renowned for its light color and fragrances. The paper was revered and coveted by dignitaries and artisans alike for nearly a century.

    Due to technological advances, some political and economic reasons the art of hand-made paper began to dwindle. By the middle of the 19th century, it had virtually disappeared from the world. Here at Meros the artisans have revived this ancient tradition of the hand-made paper production and reintroduced Samarkand paper to the world. In Samarkand village Koni Ghil with the help of grants allocated by UNESCO and JICA a water mill has been constructed. The mill produces the Samarkand hand-made paper. The picturesque location as well as opportunity to watch the process of paper production and possibility to take part in it attract in Koni Ghil numerous tourists.

    Visitors will be:

     

    1)      informed about getting mulberry tree bark, its cleaning in the Siyob river, its boiling in a pot

     

    2)      showed the old water mill in work

     

    3)      showed the process of paper pulp production in the water mill

     

    4)      indicated the process of hand made paper production inside the water will:

    -          cutting the mulberry tree bark

    -          mixing the paper pulp with river water

    -          filtering the mass with reed net

    -          pressing the paper pulp

    -          drying of paper on board or glass

    -          polishing the surface of paper

     

    5)      showed the process of marble paper production

     

    6)      demonstrated the ancient art of ceramics, pottery, making miniature figures

     

    7)      given the opportunity to practice in the craft chosen

     

     

    Camel Trekking in Nurata 

    Once known as Nur, this ancient town held a strategic position on the frontier be­tween the cultivated lands and the steppe. It lends its name to the nearby mountain range, the westernmost spur of the Gissaro Alai, soon expiring in Kyzyl Kum waste­land. Today, home to 25,000 people and renowned for marble and astrakhan fur production, Nurata has retained some of the holy sites that attracted pilgrims from all over Central Asia. The ruins of a hilltop citadel in the town centre near the bazaar mark Nurata's history. Said to have stood before the arrival of Alexander the Great, his soldiers rebuilt it in the stronger design of the celestial plough, as they prepared for the siege of Samarkand. Later the fortress was involved in the struggles of the last Samanid ruler Muntasir. Below is the chief pilgrimage site, the Chashma spring, mi­raculously formed when Hazrat Ah—Mohammed's son in law—struck the ground with his staff. Hundreds of holy (unfishable) fish swim in mineral packed water. Parents anoint their children, while others fill bottles for ailing relatives. A grave nearby may be that of one of Alexander's generals. The mosque for visiting pilgrims dates back to the tenth century and subsequent reconstructions have preserved the roof of 25 cupolas. An adjacent museum details local history and culture through tools, clothes and ceramics.

    Camel farms to the north of Nurata supply the mounts for anyone wishing to experi­ence desert life in proper Silk Road style, aboard the stubborn and enigmatic ships of the desert. Kazakh families dominate the pasturelands of the Kyzyl Kum. Unlike the Uzbeks, they remained nomads into the 20th century and, despite Stalin's enforced collectivization in the 1930s, many traditions survive. Kazakh yurts, round felt tents set on a wooden framework, stand next to modern shacks and are preferred for sum­mer use. However drab the exterior, inside you will often find a blaze of colorful scarves, blankets and embroideries. Guests are quickly made welcome with a refresh­ing bowl of koumiss, fermented mare's milk. Central Asia's sharply continental cli­mate is at its most extreme in the desert, with bitter winters and summer air temperatures over 45°C (113°F). Timing is of paramount importance: March to May and September to October are best for trekking, particularly spring after the first rains have fallen to carpet the plains in poppies and tulips. The Central Asian tortoise is only active for the three spring months and hibernates once the ephemeral plants have withered away. Birds, lizards and beetles busy about the sands, disappearing at the first sign of the devastating hot winds, garmsil, that sweep up from the south engulfing land, sky and travelers through the ages in terrible sandstorms. Most itin­eraries offer a range of scenery, from flat wastes to rolling barchans sand hills.

     

    Leaving Nurata there are the ancient karyz wells, a system of irrigation from Alexander the Great's time. Camping is in Kazakh yurts, wherever water can be found, burning saxaul bushes for fuel. Good sites include Usen's Well and Sentyabsai, an ancient gold digger's fortress.

    Aidarkul Lake is the favorite destination for camel trekkers to swim off the dust of the saddle and fish for a welcome change of diet. For over 200 kilometres (125 miles) the lake stretches through the desert within sight of the Nuratin mountains. Once the winter ice has melted, it becomes a breeding site for migrating birds. Euphrates poplars and pink tamarisk bushes bend under the weight of cormorant nests heavy with young. Islands on the lake take their name from the cackling colo­nies of pelicans, gulls, terns and herons that gather at this remote sanctuary.

     

     

    "Aiesha"  - Orintal costume performance and

    textile workshop

    In work-shop "Aiesha" there are all the conditions to enable tourists to see all the stages of natural silk production. One can also see the folklore show and make the wonderful shopping in Samarkand. Workshop "Aiesha" of Valentina Romanenko is:

    1. Original, hand fashioned, Silk Road creations from storied Samarkand

    2. Fashions as unique and stunning as Samarkand itself:
        - Glorious
        - Unique design
        - Internationally known

    3. Silk Road Fashions from storied Samarkand by Valentina:
        - Shown internationally
        - Artfully hand embroidered
        - Contemporary & antique materials
        - Traditional fine Suzani prized in Bride dowries
        - Silk ensembles for afternoon or evening

    4. Traditionally embroidered jackets vests suitable for office or evening

    5. Also tasteful & elegant modern embroidery techniques

    6. Internationally fashion designer from her Samarkand atelier & elegant show room

    7. Painted, dyed, embroidered, appliquéd and batik silks & cottons

    8. Antique hand made lace firms:
        - Silk evening coats
        - Day & evening beds
        - Go-anywhere mobile phone etais
        - Fashionable hats & caps

    9. Natural dues.

    10. Hand fashioned:
          - Traditional techniques
          - Finest silks & cottons
          - Painted batik and exquisitely embroidered
          - Natural dyes.

    11. Visits welcome by appointment.

    12. Ladies from throughout the world come to Valentina`s boutique-workshop

    13. Silk Road show room & atelier. Her hand fashioned original designs are fashioned from stunning hand painted silks, antique laces, traditional suzanie embroidery & appliquéd designs enhanced with her planet-based secret dying techniques