Educational Travel to Central Asia – get on board!

Educational Travel to Central Asia – get on board!

"Everything I have heard about Samarkand is true except that it is more beautiful than I could imagine" Alexander the Great, circa 400 AD - something I learned in grade 6 in Uzbekistan, where, trust me, with 3,000 years of history, that's a lot of Social Studies! His words ring true even today and educational tours to ancient Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and beyond offer participants an opportunity to experience a breadth of civilization, depth of culture, and diversity of landscape unlike anywhere else in the world. There are so many opportunities to discover the cultural treasures of the countries along the great Silk Road routes, long cut off from the West during Soviet rule. First-hand experiences support a practical approach to curriculum and help create an expanded knowledge base for students, professional academics, and life-long learners. My experience as an educator, travel specialist and speaker, and my insider knowledge of Central Asia let me create unique educational tours. Our in-country network of personal connections allows us to organize unique experiences with local experts in any field, including curators, historians, archaeologists, artists, artisans, Registan Square, Samarkand, Uzbekistan musicians, religious leaders and scholars.
I've loved sharing my homeland with the world so far. Don't wait to start planning your trip to Central Asia. With Silk Road Treasure Tours, itineraries and custom departure dates can be guaranteed right away. 3,000 years of history is waiting!

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Musical Instruments of Central Asia: The Doira

Musical Instruments of Central Asia: The Doira

Who can resist the fascination of watching a skillful drummer at work? Certainly not me and my toes were tapping and hands clapping along when I recently had the opportunity to meet one of the legendary masters of the Uzbekistan doira, Abbos Kosimov.
The doira is known as one of the oldest percussive instruments in Central Asia, a frame drum known also as the dap, dayereh, childirma or charmanda. This lightweight drum is made of goatskin stretched over a round frame with metal rings attached on the back, creating a sound much like a tambourine. It is used to accompany both traditional and popular music, even wedding ceremonies, beating out the rhythms and incorporating the musical chimes of the usul - the rhythmic accompaniment to dancing and singing. Originally used only by women, 2000 year old archaeological evidence shows a woman playing a doira.
Abbos Kosimov is one of the most widely known doira players, recognized worldwide as a master of the instrument and as an ambassador of Uzbekistan culture. Originally from Tashkent, he has a stellar academic and performance CV, establishing his own music school in 1994 and is the recipient of the presidential title of Honored Artist of Uzbekistan. He has participated in international festivals, concerts and workshops around the world and his popular performance group "Abbos" features traditional instruments of Uzbekistan.
Abbos Kosimov and his students and colleagues were honored guests at my home for New Year's and all of my American friends and family were thrilled and amazed by his performance. Alternately rousing the crowd with rapid-fire tattoo or calming us with the sounds of nature, we could imagine swirling skirts and flashing jewels in a tribal village or lying peacefully under the stars in the desert.

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Guest — Sitora Mirsoatova
Astounding performance! Abbos Kosimov is indeed very talented musician. I couldn't help but danced along. It is very relaxing as y... Read More
Thursday, 19 March 2015 04:34
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Doppi & Tubeteika - When is a hat not just a hat?

Doppi & Tubeteika - When is a hat not just a hat?

When is a hat not just a hat? If you are from Uzbekistan, you can easily spot the differences amongst the seemingly endless array of colorful and embellished doppi and tubeteika worn here.

Tubeteika (from the Tatar tubeke or top) is the Russian word for what is known as a doppi in Uzbekistan. They take a variety of shapes depending on local tradition and the maker’s creativity, but can be round, square, slightly conical, or even tetrahedral, and best of all - easily folded to carry! Rich fabrics and colors patterned, embroidered and embellished, this little cap is a cultural icon of Central Asia and an essential part of folk costume. While it may not be a common sight in big cities these days, no one would consider attending a festival, wedding or religious event without one.

Embroidered Doppi from BukharaI grew up in Bukhara, considered one of the most ancient cities of the Silk Road, a treasure trove of centuries of tradition. In Uzbekistan, mothers and grandmothers make beautiful handmade dresses and hats for their families and ever since my childhood, I’ve loved my matching outfits, never complete without my doppi. Sometimes they would come from the hat seller at the Chorsu Bazaar, known as the crossroads bazaar of the Silk Road since the 16th century. My hats were made of cotton or silk, or Persian lamb in winter, and embroidered with motifs in gold thread and bead work. My aunt’s home is located right behind the Kalon minaret, one of the major sites of Bukhara and I learned my first English words here from visiting tourists. They always asked to take my photo dressed in my uzbeki style dress and doppit. My love of traditional clothing has inspired me to collect hats everywhere I travel.

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