Friday, July 30, 2010

Tamarlane's City : Shahrisabz

Although Samarkand was the capital city of Tamerlane’s vast empire, Shahrisabz which is about 50 miles South of Samarkand was where his heart belonged to.

This is the birth place of a man who became a legend while he was still alive. He spent his early periods in this city and also had his first palace built here. Although only the entrance door remained, it could easily give you an idea about the grandeur of this mighty man.

While we were travelling from Shahrisabz to Samarkand, I long gazed the vast green pasture. It is a beautiful area. It makes me wonder why he left this amazingly serene place to conquer the world.

He initialy had built his tomb here but later changed his mind and ordered a new one in Samarkand. He left his tomb in Shahrisabz to his son Jahangir who died at an early age.

Today it is possible to visit the tomb of Tamarlane in Samarkand where he was buried with 7 other people; his children, Grand children and a favorite teacher. His one piece jade tomb carefully placed under the feet of his teacher’s.

Tamerlane’s legacy continued long after his death. When a Soviet anthropologist exhumed his body in 1941 he found these words carved inside his casket. ‘’ When I rise the world will tremble. Who so ever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I’’ and guess what??? Only hours after his exhumation, Germans started to invade Russia.

Today Uzbeks also like to tell you as an urban legend that Soviets only started to defeat the Germans after they have flown the Tamarlene’s body 7 times over the city of Stalingard. Well, there might be a certain truth in that as they re buried him in 1942 just before the Soviet victory in Stalingrad..

I have to mention that although there are many books writen about Tamarlane, there is one I enjoyed particularly. ‘’Narrative of the Embassy of Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo to the court of the Timour’’ It is a wonderful travel and historical memoirs of the Spanish Embassy Clavijo. I strongly recommend who wants to read further on this subject.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today let me take you to another city on the ancient Silk Road. A beautiful and a rich one. Actually, on those days it was on the central position between China and Mediterranean. It was the capital city of mighty Tamerlane. It was the the city where another great conquer Alexander the Great fell in love with a slave woman. The mother of his one and only child. He named this place Marakan. It was the city where Marco Polo walked on her streets with curious eyes.

The main center of the city is Registan square. Three beautiful madrasahs (schools) are the jewels of this square. As it is the case everywhere in uzbekistan, inside of these old schools are full of small shops wher you could find lovely hand made products..

As it was the capital of Tamerlane, he had built large palaces, mosques and his tomb in this city. But as he was an impatient ruler, he wanted all the buildings to be completed at his lifetime. Unfortunately as speed is more important than duration, most of the those buildings started to collapse soon. Here is the Bibi Hanim mosque completed in an incredible period of 1,5 years with the golds Tamerland brought back from India. Bibi Hanim was the Chinese wife of Tamerlane..

Another fascinating place in the city was its necropolis - Shah-i Zinde..Most of the tombs belong to the women's of the Tamerlane family. Later the city cemetary developed around this historical area. A fascinating place where they have painted the face of the death to blues and turquoises..

But as always my favorite place was where I could find the living. No better place than the market to find them...

Monday, July 19, 2010


I know that nowadays I am neglecting to write, but it is more tempting to get a book and lie on a cool place with a book on these long and hot days. Swim, read and nap. My wonderful trio for the summer.

Anyway, I also realize that I also neglected to post more photos from my trip to Central Asia. So let me take you to one of the high lights of my trip: Bukhara

This wonderful city mostly built during the 16th century under an Uzbek dynasty and most of the buildings in the city succesfully survived until 1920s. When the Russians came, they have restored the city instead of demolishing and thanks to them, today we are having a chance to travel back in time. A time when Bukhara was an important trading center on the silk road.

Today the impressive caravanserais,mosques, palaces and schools are as alive as they were centuries ago. Merchants on small shops are as keen as their predecessors to sell you something. My favorite, beautiful Uzbek embroideries -Suzenis- are every where and if you are patient enough to dig deep like me, you could find some old and handmade ones for a bargain but let them to be the subject of another post.

Every traveller has his/her own taste and I usually do not like to give advice but if you are someone like me who finds her best moments when travelling towards east, dont hesitate to add Bukhara and Semerkant -the subject of my next post- to your list.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

James Dean Wanna Be..

Once upon a time there was a dog who wants to  be just as cool as James Dean and she stole a cigarette from her human daddy....

Unfortunately her human mommy who is a non smoker screamed with horror when she saw her while the human daddy was trying to photograph the moment..Then there comes a long lecture about the dangers of smoking from human mommy. Well, Hera was a very good listener and stopped smoking instantly but the same is not true for human daddy.  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Total Eclipse

Today I read on the newspaper that some lucky few on the French Polynesia will observe a total solar eclipse. A very rare, extraordinary and a mystical experience.

I had the chance to see one on March 2006.When my friends invited me for the trip to see the eclipse, I was reluctant to go because it was visible on Side, a town on the Mediterranean coast which requires a 10 hours drive from İstanbul by bus. Well, to tell you the truth I wasnt thinking that it was such a big deal. How wrong could I be??

Finally I said yes and hopped on the bus with the rest. I was more interested to see the antic city of Side. At the end of the day it was a double bonus for me. I watched a wonderful show of the nature near the ancient pillars of Side.

We were lucky because it was a bright day with no clouds on the sky and the total darkness lasted couple minutes. I was expecting a semi darkness but it was dark as night.

But for some a nap was more important than everything. I remember taking this photo of a local just couple minutes before the eclipse.. 

Well, if you have a list of something like ''100 things to do before I die'' make one of the items 'to see a total solar eclipse' Its really a once in a life time experience.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Flowers from the Sea

As  Hera choose to pee and poo at the beach since her very first day here ,we are usually the earliest birds at the beach every morning which gives us the advantage of being the first ones to see what the sea offered previous night.

Couple days ago, there was heavy wind and big waves and the morning of that night I found these beautiful flowers. I have never seen them before. It looks like the wind and the first rays of the sun dried these little plants of the sea immediately.

As they are extremly fragile I only managed to salvage two of them. Have you ever seen something like that before? And the posing starfishes came from a far far away sea..

Monday, July 5, 2010


The nearest airport - Dalaman- is about a 3 hours drive from here. Not a very convenient distance... However the most popular marina of the country is only 15 minutes away from the Dalaman airport. So it is a very busy airport especially at weekends where rich and famous are rushing here to spend the weekend on their yachts..

I didnt see the old days of Göcek marina, but they said that it used to be a lovely and quiet seaside village before the construction of the 6 marinas and the airport.

While we were flying to İstanbul 2 weeks ago we spent couple hours at Gocek before catching our flight. It is still a lovely and quiet place at day time as most of the boats are sailing. There were lovely small shops and nice restaurants. It was a refreshing stop before İstanbul.


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