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5 travelers at this place

  • Day2

    Khan's Palace, Xoqand

    July 15, 2019 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 38 °C

    Palace of the ruler of "Kokand" kingdom, built in the 1860s. The kingdom existed for over 1,000 years and was active in the silk road trade.
    First is the building itself; then the main courtyard (one of 7 courtyards in the palace, as 7 is a sacred number in Islam). Next are several rooms, leading up to the main throne room. There are 118 rooms, another Koranic number.
    This is the Fergana valley, one of the more fertile areas of central Asia. Craftsman here were famous for their woodworking skills, as can be seen in the workmanship here.
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  • Day4

    Days 4 & 5: Kokand

    August 25, 2019 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Sardor has arranged a taxi to take me to the southern railway station. Due to the wideness of the streets, the standard of driving is cavalier to put it kindly. Motorists straddle the lanes and when they do change lanes, they don't signal. They jump the lights while parked cars routinely open their offside doors without looking. When I start to attach my seat belt, my driver smiles sadly as if to say, belts are for wimps! In fact the concept of safety is quite different in Uzbekistan to that in, say, Brazil where one of the main topics is robbery. Here, besides the driving, it's about obstacles such as conduits running alongside the pavement or uncovered manholes. Fall down one of those and your injury could be much worse than my trip in the shower.

    Anyway, I emerge at the southern railway station unscathed for my first rail experience here. To save messing about at a booking office, all my tickets were purchased in advance through an agency based in Tashkent. Thanks to Advantour for that. In Uzbekistan the word for railway station is "vokzal" and It's no coincidence that this sounds like Vauxhall. A hundred or more years ago when Russian engineers visited Waterloo station in London for advice about how to build railways, they assumed that because so many trains were going to Vauxhall that that must be the word for station! Or so they say..... This place is busy but spotless. I am concerned that there is no platform indicator and all the announcements are in Uzbek but there are enough uniformed staff to help out. On the train, every carriage has its own conductor so finding the correct carriage is simple.

    The air conditioning doesn't start working until the train starts but it leaves on time and the seats in business class are luxurious. Vendors of snacks and drinks ply the carriages regularly. As we near Kokand four hours later, a young man strikes up a conversation to practise his English. At Kokand he is due to be met by his father, who drives me to my hotel before they set off for home. A good example of Uzbek hospitality.

    And what of Kokand? It's a city of about a quarter of a million and was an 18th century sultanate. The Khudayar Khan palace is a 19th century creation echoing the Timurid wonders I am to see later in the trip; a grandiose facade with every inch covered in coloured, patterned tiles, and courtyards bounded by pointed arches. Nearer my hotel there's a nice view of the square from a 3rd floor window, and an official building beside a fountain which seems to be Russian Art Nouveau. I am starting to find that people can be much more receptive to being photographed than in some Islamic countries and the curator with his young charge at another museum is happy to oblige. Not sure what the large group of young women was getting prepared for but they were also unfazed by a Western camera. And on another quirky note, spot the deliberate mistake on the Turkish T-shirt!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Qo‘qon, Qo`qon, Qoʻqon, Kokand, Коканд, コーカンド, 코칸트, Kokandas