After WWII, some of the Japanese POW was brought here to engage in forced labor. The opera house in Tashkent is a fine example of their work of perseverance.
Despite being an Islamic country, partly because of the influence of the Russian rule, wine and even brandy are produced and enjoyed. Their sweet red, not unlike the famed Port, was a delight we did not expect in this part of the world.
The road south to Shafrisabs climbs up snow capped rugged mountains. Spectacular views is the reward of the treacherous drive.
The specialty, Samarkand naan bread, and a plethora of Uzbek cuisine cooked with mutton.
In downtown Tashkent, Chorsu Bazaar is the place to go to soak in the bustle of the Uzbek people. Uzbekistan is one of the countries where Asia meets Europe, sprinkled with eerie Soviet flavor.

Registan square of Samarqand at night.
If you have seen Grand Place in Brussels and left somewhat undone, well, come see this.

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Sherdor medrese, towers over the city's main square, once was an academic center of the central Asia.
Cultural capital of Samarqand is Uzbekistan's crown jewel. The city houses numerous gigantic mosques and Islamic architectures.

They are built with, and typified by the turquoise decorative tiles - to the extent of bestowing a title of Blue city to Samarqand. Place the pointer on the pic to see the inside.
Build in 1127, Kalan minaret is the symbol of Bukhara. It has seen the invasion of Genghis Khan's army and survived the hardships and weird history. At a time the tower was used as a place of execution - simply throwing the convicts from the top.
Taki, sitting in the centre of Bukhara, is the old bazaar that has seen its heyday in the 16th century.
Inside the bazaar, you can wander through the maze and atmosphere of the old days' silk road.

Today Bukhara hosts number of artisans, particularly craftsmen who produces silverware and decorative metal objects. (Place the pointer on the picture and see a craftsman at work)
Uzbekistan is a country located on the ancient ''Silk road''. For that reason it has been coveted, fought over and ruled by many super powers of the time, dating back to the Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan's Mongolia, Persian empire, etc.

In the late 19th century Russia annexed the central Asian region and till the collapse of Soviet Union, Uzbekisdan spent a century under the Russian rule. Now still a member of CIS, but Uzbekistan is seeking its rebirth and identity, on its Islamic spiritual basis and cultural heritage.

Bukhara, once Khan's stronghold and known for its notorious slave trade, still boasts impressive fortress.