Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday, April 22nd, Tashkent, Uzbekistan


Bet you've never had to call the hotel staff to get them to open your hotel door?  And then discover they couldn't open the door either?  One of our travelers suggested the hotel staff climb in through her window after crawling along the ledge from her neighbor's room, and work on it from the inside.  Finally, they got it open, and boy did she have a story at breakfast.  As a consolation prize, they gave her two bottles of vodka and some gifts of her choice from the hotel shop.

Today, we crossed over the border from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan, and drove to the country's capital, Tashkent.  We're staying at the Ramada Inn, near Independence Square (formally Red Square).  Walking to the huge square, we found that the central park, in front of the Parliament, was off limits due to security concerns.  So were the grounds around, and also the inside, of a Russian Orthodox Church.  What if you built a park, and didn't let anyone in?

We saw two particularly powerful monuments:  the Crying Mother and the 1966 Earthquake Epicenter.  Like all of these Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan sent over a million of its citizens to fight in WWII on the western Russian front.  Poorly equipped and supported, they lost 483,000 men.  The Crying Mother, and the scrolls listing the towns and casualties, reminds visitors of those sacrifices.

At 5:20am on April 20, 1966, an 8.6 earthquake hit Tashkent, killing over 100,000 residents and flattening the city.  At its epicenter, the city erected a statue ten years later.

To see the photos taken today, click on:
Friday, April 22nd

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