Along the Silk Road We Go
As the days at KIMEP were passing by in an array of lectures, hours spent studying for upcoming midterms and minutes stolen for having a little bit of fun, a brand new organization called KIMEP CAT decided to take a leap into an unbelievably exciting journey to Uzbekistan. Equipped with their visas (which were quite tricky to get), energized by the perspective of traveling to the cities of ancient times and eager to explore the Silk Road history, CATs took off to one of the most beautiful places of Central Asia, not expecting anything but getting more than even could be expected during long Nauryz holidays.
KIMEP CAT is actually not an organization of cats, just so you know, it is an acronym standing for Central Asia Travel and that’s exactly what they do – travel around Central Asia. Their next destinations being chosen to be Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara – three cities united into an amazing cultural cradle of history, – and a group of enthusiasts ready to be exposed to Uzbekistan’s heritage being gathered, it was a great start to an unforgettable adventure. Students from South Korea, Singapore, the UK, Hong Kong, France, Slovakia were the lucky ones to see the beauty of the region and even experience exceptionally amusing train rides from one city to another.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and condition of the night train we took to travel from Almaty to Shymkent. It was beyond my expectation and it was definitely a good start to our trip. Despite the difficulties at the border control, I know that it was all going to be worth it the moment I stepped into Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. If Tashkent was a person, I would describe Tashkent as someone who is able to manage both work and play very well. Despite modernization, it has managed to preserve its traditional heritage. I also learnt that the buildings and architectures in Tashkent still have a soviet-era influence,” says a student from Singapore.
First days in Tashkent were of those kind when travelers realized that they entered a particularly different place, one they probably have never seen before. The capital caught their eye from the first sight, daring them to explore whatever it had to offer and so they did – they followed its luring call and surrendered to its charm, slowly filling their hearts with warm and fuzzy emotions.
The road was lying ahead and the tourists moved onward to the next stop – Samarkand, a pearl of the Orient with its intricate streets and unrepeatable architecture. It was so colorful and lively that they felt like they were in a whirl, so full of unfamiliar sensations thrown at them by yet more mosques, medressas and mausoleums and buildings that screamed of history and heritage of ancient times.
The last stop in the adventure was Bukhara, a city that is more than 2,000 year old, and its antiquity could be sensed in its architectural monuments, in its air and its essence. Best example of the medieval times, that’s the place where the travelers learned how to cook a traditional Uzbek dish called ‘plov’ and felt their tongues melt – that delicious the food was. Murmurs and laughter surrounded them in a cloud of happiness and they found themselves in the best company of newly acquired friends, their travel companions and students just like any. Ain’t it an amazing experience?
At last, exhausted after long nights on the road and endless hours of walking around one city after another, tired of collecting the dust from the pavement on the heels of their shoes, the travelers were yet relentless and kept going, on and on to the shining roofs of more mosques and the remnants of the Silk Road. They were spiritualized by the Islamic culture seen in almost every corner and every building, be it Tahskent, Samarkand or Bukhara, and there they learned the spellbinding stories and myths of the old times, finding themselves captured in the enormity of their relics, captivated by their magical tunes.
KIMEP CATs truly believe it was one journey to be remembered and as one of the student writes, “in front of those remains of human ancient deeds and lives, I got this indescribable feeling of time distortion, feeling like touching Immensity.” Quite amazing, how traveling can make you feel closer to something really big, don’t you think so? And KIMEP CAT is yet to bring even more unforgettable trips to many of you, keep your ears perked, folks!
Author: Alina Tuleugazy