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Silk Road Celtic Connections – Uzbekistan Visit May 2023 Blog

Following my receipt of an  Wales Arts International grant , I traveled to Uzbekistan in May to investigate direct similarities between  Celtic  andUzbek  Designs, especially in textiles on the ancient Silk Road. I was facinated by the designs used on 14C Timurid Carpets.

Arriving in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s  capital, I  spent a couple of days finding my feet and visiting sites, eg. Museum of Applied Art, Chorsu Bazaar, Metro etc.  I proceeded to catch the train to  Margilan  in the Fergana Valley, an area  which specialises in  ikat weaving. The  Velvet ikat weaving intrigued me and loved the colourful  KumTepa Bazaar, whi

ch was  5km outside the city.  Leaving Margilan, I stopped in Rishtan to visit a ceramic master Alisher Nazirov. What a joy it was to see him demonstrate his amazing decorative skills and meet his apprentices before moving on to Kokand to see the Khudayar Khan Palace.

A day later, I flew from Tashkent to Nukus, the other side of the country in the Karakalpakstan desert. I wanted to visit the unique and important Ig or Stavitsky Art Museum http://museum.kr.uz/

Later that day, I was  driven to the acient city of  Khiva in the Khorezm Desert. I had been  invited to visit the Silk Weaving workshop to study there Timurid Designs, as they had a direct similarities with Celtic design. http://www.khiva.info/display.php?site=khivasilk&page=&lang=en. I felt very privileged and thankful to be there.

From Khiva I travelled by train through the Kyzyl Kum Desert to the medieval city of Bukhara, an important point on the Silk Route between China and Central Asia to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The architecture  astounded me and I  especially loved the old pre-restored madrasahs which had a beautiful tranquil quality. I must give a big thanks here to Raisa and Azat from http://salomtravel.com  who helped me tremendously in my arrangements.

I continued 250km south to one of the most ancient cities on earth, Samarkand. I had to pinch myself that I was actually there, walking around the mesmerising Registan. I especially found the Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis  inspiring with tiles dating back to the 11C. Returning to Tashkent by the fast Afrosiyob Train, I spent a couple of days revisiting the Chorsu Bazaar and to see the Tamerlane statue in  Amir Timur Square in order to give him a nod and thank him.

leaving for Margilan

Madrim – Workshop manager









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