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Amu Darya

Driving my van through Caucasus, Persia and Central Asia for one year...


8 months of journey through the Orient.

Leave Iran in November to brave winter begins in Central Asia. Cross the Karakum Desert, which covers more than half of Turkmenistan to enter in Uzbekistan. Although I know the place well, it's always a pleasure to recover historic towns that give so much character to the country where I spent 2 months. Drinving through the Silk road, sleeping inside the remparts of Khiva, visit Samarkand, pray in a madrasah in Bukhara and cross the Amu Darya. 

... Amu Darya, this historical river that fed my imagination since my teens and has inevitably given the name to my publishing house that I created in 2011...

> Follow my route day after day on Facebook and Instagram (@karesleroy)

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8 mois de voyage à travers l’Orient.

Quitter l’Iran en Novembre pour affronter les premiers froids de l’hiver qui commence en Asie Centrale. Traverser le désert du Karakoum, qui recouvre plus de la moitié du Turkmenistan, pour rentrer en Ouzbékistan. Même si je connais bien l’endroit, c’est toujours un plaisir de retrouver les villes historiques qui donnent tant de caractère à ce pays où j’ai passé 2 mois. Emprunter la Route de la soie, dormir dans les remparts de Khiva, visiter Samarcande, prier dans une medersa de Boukhara et traverser l’Amu Darya. 

... Amu Darya, ce fleuve historique qui a alimenté mon imagination depuis mon adolescence et qui a donné immanquablement le nom que porte la maison d’édition que j’ai créée en 2011… 

 > Suivez ma route jour après jour sur Facebook et Instagram (@karesleroy)

Camels in the Karakum desert | TURKMENISTAN

Habitat (yurt) in the Karakum desert | TURKMENISTAN

Kunya-Urgench is the site of the ancient town which contains the ruins of the capital of Khwarezm, a part of the persian Achaemenid Empire. Its inhabitants deserted the town three and a half centuries ago in order to develop a new settlement, and Kunya-Urgench has remained undisturbed ever since | TURKMENISTAN

The door of Turabek-Khanum Mausoleum (1404) | TURKMENISTAN

"Aksakal", a typically turkmen's white beard | TURKMENISTAN

At the turkmen's border, the ruins of Zoroastrian city of Gavur Qala (10th century). The city was an important step on the Silk road. It was destroyed by the Mongol armies | UZBEKISTAN

Mizdakhan nécropolis. Near Nukus in Karakalpakstan | UZBEKISTAN

Calligrapher whose face is strangely similar to that of Timur | UZBEKISTAN

The Guri Amir (1403) is a mausoleum of the Asian conqueror Tamerlane (also known as Timur) in Samarkand. It occupies an important place in the history of Turkic-Persian Architecture as the precursor and model for later great Mughal architecture tombs, including Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra, built by Timur's Persianised descendants, the ruling Mughal dynasty of North India | UZBEKISTAN

Inside the mausoleum of Guri Amir. Some deep niches and diverse muqarnas decoration. | UZBEKISTAN

The tomb of Timur (1405), the Turko-Mongol conqueror and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia. He is considered the last of the great nomadic conquerors of the Eurasian steppe, and his empire set the stage for the rise of the more structured and lasting gunpowder empires in the 1500s and 1600s.

A carpet weaver at Samarkand | UZBEKISTAN

Patterns of mattress in Samarkand bazaar | UZBEKISTAN

It's all a question of price in Samarkand bazaar | UZBEKISTAN

Frontage of Sher-Dor Madrasah in Registan. It was a public square and a place of public executions. It is framed by three madrasahs (Islamic schools) of distinctive Islamic architecture | UZBEKISTAN

Me and my crew of "Aksakal" (white beards) in Registan of Samarkand | UZBEKISTAN (photo by Charline Gerbault / ITWIA)

Registan ("Sandy place") was the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand of the Timurid dynasty | UZBEKISTAN

Shah-i-Zinda (meaning "The living king") is a necropolis of Samarkand. The name is connected with the legend that Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of the prophet Muhammad was buried there. As if he came to Samarkand with the Arab invasion in the 7th century to preach Islam | UZBEKISTAN

The Shah-i-Zinda Ensemble includes mausoleums and other ritual buildings of 9-14th and 19th centuries. The complex was formed over nine (from 11th till 19th) centuries and now includes more than twenty buildings | UZBEKISTAN

Phoenix on the portal of Nadir Divan-Beghi madrasah (part of Lab-i Hauz complex) in Bukhara | UZBEKISTAN

Towers of the Char Minar, medressa Gatehouse Built in 1807 in Bukhara | UZBEKISTAN

A woman who sells silk fabric in the streets of Bukhara | UZBEKISTAN

Bala Havuz mosque (1712) is noted for the profuse colors and carvings on the wooden columns of its porch and its ceiling. The joinery of its painted ceiling features extraordinary craftsmanship with the use of suspended weights, semi-circular arches and balusters | UZBEKISTAN

Bukhara streets | UZBEKISTAN

The history of Bukhara stretches back millennia. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long been a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. During the golden age of the Samanids, Bukhara became the intellectual center of the Islamic world. The historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrases, has been listed by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites | UZBEKISTAN

Khiva is a city located in Chorezm Province. According to archaeological data, the city was established in the beginning of the current era. Itchan Kala is encircled by brick walls, whose foundations are believed to have been laid in the 10th century. Present-day crenellated walls date back to the late 17th century and attain the height of 10 meters | UZBEKISTAN

The city of Khiva was first recorded by Muslim travelers in the 10th century, although archaeologists assert that the city has existed since the 6th century | UZBEKISTAN

The old town of Khiva retains more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, mostly dating from the 18th or the 19th centuries | UZBEKISTAN

Photographs and Texts by Kares Le Roy  

Follow my work on Facebook & Instagram (@karesleroy)