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The Guardian: Uzbekistan's historic cities reflect the scale and ambition of what was built in the late 14th century


The leading British newspaper The Guardian published an article by journalist Mishal Husain about her trip to Uzbekistan.

Mishal Husain is a British journalist and presenter of numerous programs on BBC television and radio. She became the first Muslim woman to present the Today program on BBC Radio 4. In January 2014 she was awarded the British Muslim Awards in the category “For Services to the Media”. In 2015 she received the Broadcaster of the Year award at the London Press Club Awards. He is an ambassador for the Mosaic charity, which helps young people from disadvantaged families realize their talents and potential. Author of Skills, a guide for women to achieve their career goals.

Together with her mother, the British journalist went to our country, with which she has historical roots.

“For me, the journey began with a sense of personal connection to Central Asia, as I knew that the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara played an important role in the history and culture of Islam, and my mother’s family had ties to this region, somewhere in the distant past. This happened thanks to her father, who knew that he had a 14th-century ancestor who lived in what is now Uzbekistan. Our ancestor Amir Kulal lived during the time of Amir Temur, an empire builder who in the 14th century occupied a dominant position, conquering lands far from his native land,” she writes.

The journey began in Khiva, where the atmospheric Ichan Kala - the inner city - was the perfect start for them. Then the women headed to Samarkand, where they first visited Registan.

“There we saw madrassas located on three sides of the square. Our guide took us to Shahi Zinda, a series of small and beautifully decorated tombs that house figures associated with the rulers, including sisters, a wet nurse and, according to legend, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. Amir Temur himself is buried in a separate Gur-Emir complex, and another Samarkand landmark, the Bibi Khanum Mosque, built by his wife, showed me how much reconstruction and restoration has taken place in Uzbekistan since I was last there in 1992 . Today everything has changed and the work shows the scale and ambition of what was first built in the late 14th century.”

The author notes that Uzbekistan has not yet been spoiled by mass tourism and is much less studied by visitors from the UK than from other European countries.

The guests received a great impression and unforgettable taste emotions at the Chorsu market, where they walked along the gastronomic row and tried Uzbek kebab.

“When I traveled between Samarkand and Bukhara in 1992, it was a long and dusty bus ride through the cities, but this time we traveled on a high-speed train, covering the distance in two hours and in comfort. At the station in Bukhara, I was amazed to see the name of Amir Kulal on a billboard for the pilgrimage route to the tombs of the “Seven Saints of Bukhara”: the first sentence is that this ancestor had a contemporary influence and presence that we did not expect,” the author marvels.

In Bukhara, the guests visited the tomb of their ancestor Amir Kulal. The site was developed as part of a 25-year effort to identify and restore the memory of seven Sufi Muslim saints who lived in the region.

“These were the masters of wisdom of Bukhara, people who lived between the 10th and 16th centuries, each of whom passed on knowledge and experience to their students,” writes the British journalist. - It made me feel a new connection with the beauty of the mosaics that we saw throughout our stay in Uzbekistan. Amir Kulal did not previously have a notable mausoleum, but is now an enclosed site east of Bukhara with a mosque and a neatly laid out garden next to a blue-domed tomb. Previously, this was a simple cemetery. Local residents knew that Amir Kulal was buried there, and as Uzbekistan began to rethink its heritage, the area around his grave became part of the network of seven shrines.”

The author writes that she is grateful to the guides who brought to life for her and her mother the richness of the cities of Uzbekistan. According to her, she and her mother went on a journey through the history of their family. The journey to find their ancestor turned into a week-long adventure and brought more than they expected.

Source: IA "Dunyo"

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