Monday, August 6, 2018

Kathleen Walsh's Central Asian Album

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Kathleen Walsh
For photographers, Central Asia is a wonderland : monuments, architectural detail, people, landscapes, textiles, a vast sky, bazaars.

Recently Kathleen Walsh travelled with Uzbek Journeys and very soon after her return, she curated an exceptional selection of her images of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Most of the images on the tours pages of this website were taken by Kathleen in spring 2018.

The design of her album is brilliant: all in one page (just scroll down), concise and witty text, and outstanding images organized into interesting categories. It is a very *human* album about her experiences in Central Asia.

Uzbek Journeys asked Kathleen to write a little about her work and travels:

"I am an amateur photographer and an obsessive traveller. Having discovered both of these in my 30’s, I am worried that there might not be enough time and resources to fulfill my passions to their fullest, but I'm giving it my best shot!

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The ancient mud brick walls of Khiva

I have  been lucky enough to work in international development, and between travel for work and leisure I have visited most of Asia and the Pacific, South America, and a little of Africa and Europe.

With my partner Graham, we  have only recently returned from our first trip to Central Asia and can’t believe that it has taken us so long to get there. We are already planning our next visit, and are also thinking about a walking trip to Japan - in the snow! (That should make for some spectacular photos.) 

I studied photography way back when we used film cameras and darkrooms and learnt a few skills then that I still find useful today.  I very much enjoy the whole editing and curating process.

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Inside a bric-a-brac shop, full of Soviet memorabilia, in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan


Worried that one day someone will press the ‘delete’ button on my computer and all my photos will be gone I try to share my pics as much as I can - online and in photo books, and recently I re-discovered the quirky practise of printing photographs".

If you have travelled in Central Asia, Kathleen's photos will evoke sweet memories. If you are planning a trip, her photos will be a catalyst to visit as soon as you can. [If you cannot view the album on your device, please visit https://spark.adobe.com/page/qGongXqzs8zIj/ directly].

View Kathleen Walsh's Silk Road album.

Related posts:
Paul Nadar's Images of Turkestan 1890
Rosemary Sheel's Images of Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan's Quest for Historical Photographs 
Ernst Cohn-Wiener Collection: Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan 


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A dome at Shah-i-zindar, the necropolis at Samarkand
 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Discover Central Asia in 2019

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Sunset, Khiva. Image: Kathleen Walsh
Details of Uzbek Journeys 2019 one-of-a-kind, small group tours to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are now available.

The 16-day Uzbek tours, scheduled for the very best seasons in Uzbekistan, focus on the architecture, history, art and craft of this fascinating section of the Silk Road.

Explore the architectural masterpieces of the ancient cities of Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Bukhara and Khiva.

Visit artisans’ workshops to meet families who have practised their craft for generations and contemporary artists who are fusing ancient techniques with modern style.

Roam the bazaars, lounge around in tea houses and spend the night in a yurt in the Kyzyl Kum desert. Learn how to make traditional bread in a tandyr oven and view a remarkable collection of avant garde art in remote Nukus.

The 8-day Kyrgyz tours combine the majestic, rugged landscapes of snow-capped mountains and lush valleys, with visits to craft co-operatives, design workshops, felt carpet makers and yurt makers.

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Lakes, mountains and meadows of Kyrgyzstan
Travelling around shimmering Issyk Kul lake, with the towering Tien Shan mountain range in view, you will understand how nomadic traditions are still at the core of the Kyrgyz people, who take immense pride in their heritage.

There are opportunities for gentle hiking, picnics by streams, and listening to traditional musicians.

You will have the chance to see a kupkari (buzkashi) match and an eagle hunt. The tour also includes a visit to Sunday's Karakol livestock market.

Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful country, often called the Switzerland of Central Asia, and sometimes  the Patagonia of Central Asia! It makes a marvellous contrast to the landscapes of Uzbekistan.



Why not discover this fascinating region in 2019?

View details of 2019 Uzbek tours.
View details of 2019 Kyrgyz tours.

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Fabulous shawl from Aidai Asangulova's felt and traditional Kyrgyz craft atelier
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Ikat weaving loom
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Uzbek ceramic whistles from Bodom Gallery, Tashkent
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Main display room of Tumar Studio, Bishkek

Monday, July 9, 2018

Uzbekistan Still Mourns a Football Generation Lost to Air Crash - Part #2

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This article is the second and final part of the tragic story of the Uzbek football team, Pakhtakor.  (You can read Part#1 here).

Tragedy struck in 1979, when the team was flying to play an away game in the Soviet Top League. Their plane collided with another mid-air over the Ukraine and all team members perished.

During the 2018 World Cup, it's timely to remember this remarkable team and how the memory still impacts Uzbeks and Uzbek football.  This article, written by Chris Rickleton, is republished with permission from Eurasianet

The spirit of 1979 

Nobody has done more to keep the memory of that doomed team alive than 75-year-old Alla Tadzetdinova. Her then husband-to-be, Igdai Tadzetdinov, was club captain when, at the age of 17, she went to watch a training session with a football-crazy friend.

The courtship lasted a matter of months before the pair married. A daughter arrived two years later. By the time of Tadzetdinov’s death in the skies above Dniprodzerzhynsk, he had become the club’s irrepressible first team coach. The family got 300 rubles, roughly equivalent to around two months’ worth of an average monthly salary, in compensation from the government.

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The monument to the Pakhtakor team  in the village Kurilovka, Ukraine. It was established
in 2009 at the initiative of Alla Tadzetdinova to honour the 30th anniversary of the tragedy.
Tadzetdinova regularly speaks at youth soccer tournaments held in honor of the players and is planning a film about the 1979 team in time for the 40th anniversary of the crash.

Whenever she makes an appearance at the ground that has dominated her entire adult life, club dignitaries flock to pay homage.

Isakov, who has become increasingly reticent to speak publicly about the tragedy, refused several interview requests from Eurasianet until Tadzetdinova intervened and summoned him to the stadium.

“If he is hiding somewhere, we will find him. If he has crawled into a bottle, we will pull him out,” she promised.

The strong bonds connecting the duo and Vladimir Safarov, holdovers from a more intimate, Soviet-era Tashkent, were plain to see.

But for all Tadzetdinova’s force of personality, she is still consumed by the tragedy.

She has over the years made countless visits to the area of eastern Ukraine where debris from the fallout was first found nearly four decades ago. A memorial to the dead now marks the spot.

Lacking access to government documents on the tragedy, she has steadfastly refused to believe the official narrative of a mid-air collision.
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Pakhtakor FC players share a joyous moment in the 1970s

In 2010, she even went on an oddball Ukrainian TV program called Battle of the Psychics in an attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery. Later, the producer of the show sent her a letter claiming to have been in contact with an anonymous eyewitness who had seen the plane explode in mid-air and “come to understand” it had been shot out of the sky by a missile.

But the account offered in the letter, which Eurasianet has seen, is far from convincing.

The pain of the decades past is compounded by the fact that the club Tadzetdinova's husband gave his life to is no longer top dog in the domestic game.

Uzbek football as a whole has regressed significantly since Pakhtakor’s heyday, even as player salaries have soared.

“The other day I was watching the players from Lokomotiv Tashkent collect their championship medals. It is a great pain for me whenever Pakhtakor finishes second or third,” she told Eurasianet. “Then I saw the players’ wives. You should have seen their clothes and jewelry. We were just ordinary, poor people.”

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Today's Pakhtakor FC logo
Soccer players past and present still provide the main theme of conversation at the Tadzetdinov household, where a shrinking group of friends and relatives connected to the pre-crash Pakhtakor era still gathers occasionally.

Despite the emergence of other teams in Uzbekistan, Tadzetdinova is convinced Pakhtakor remains the “people’s club.”

“Playing for us is not like playing for some other clubs,” she said.

“You see, when our young guys go out onto the field, the spirit of that team from 1979 flies out there with them.”

Related posts: Uzbekistan Still Mourns a Football Generation Lost to Air Crash - Part #1
Tashkent's New Football Stadium 
Cricket in Afghanistan and Tajikistan 
Sidney Jackson - An American Boxer in Uzbekistan

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