Uzbekistan

 

Concealed for many years under the cloak of the crumbled Soviet empire, Central Asia kept an air of a remote mysterious place. The land is burdened with history like few other places on earth. Beside, its magnificent location, at the crossroads of Asia made the area "the" hub of the legendary Silk Route, going from China all the way to Constantinpole, the present day Istambul. In times, the area was coveted by many, starting with Alexander the Great, in 4th century BC, who reached this place called Sogdiana, and renamed it for a while as Maracanda. For almost a thousand years many followed in his path till the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century AD who established a kingdom creating the present Islamic descend of the area. The capital of this kingdom, run by the Samanids and latter by the Karakhanid dynasty, was shifted periodically from Samarkand to Bukhara and for a while to Khiva. The kingdom fell in the 12th century under the Genghis Khan rule in his bold action of conquering the whole Europe. But the Arab tradition continued under Genghis Khan spiritual successor, Timur Lenk, and latter under the rule of his enlightened nephew Ulug Bek, the epitome Arab scientist, mathematician and astronomer, killed by his followers. In the 18th and 19th century, the entire Central Asia became a important piece of the puzzle of the famous "Great Game", an old time Cold War played between the Russian and the British empires for controlling Asia. 
The legendary cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva are now part of the modern Uzbekisthan a slice of the old Turkesthan, the name the area carried for a long time, even in modern times. Beside legends and history what fascinates here is the Central Asian architecture of the mosques and 'medersas', similar with the one you find in Iran, the colorful bazaars and the atmosphere of quietude so removed from the old time atmosphere of hustle and bustle of the Silk Route.

 

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Apr 22: Just returned from three weeks shoot in Australia. We shot in the outback, around Uluru and Kata Tjuta to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Forest, in Melbourne and the impressive Great Ocean Road and Sydney.

Feb 21: Back from the India shoot: Mumbai, Nasik, Shirdi, the Ellora and Ajanta caves, Aurangabad and Pune. We continued to Hampi, ending in the old Portuguese colony Goa.

Feb 7: Left for a two week shoot in India around Mumbai, Hampi and Goa.

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