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Wedding Day in Shakhrisabz

sunny 20 °C

There is little old-fashioned about the ancient city of Samarkhand, it even has a fabulous Italian gelateria and pasticheria. The cakes, at about a dollar a piece, are as mouthwatering as we have had anywhere in the world...


However, today we saw another side of Uzbekistan as we climbed high into the mountains and took the Takhtakaracha Pass just a few hundred kilometes from the Afghanistan border. There we stopped at a traditional farmer's market at the summit. The sky was blue and the air crisp and clean once we had risen above the morning mists and we were amazed by the incredible assortment of white cheeses made from the milk of the alpine herds...


We bought almond flower honey and saffron at the roadside market, but our destination was beyond the mountains at the birthplace of Temur, (Tamerlane), in the city of Shakhrisabz in 1336. Amir Temur and the dynasty of Temerids reigned over Mavorunnakhr, Khauronon, Iraq,Northern India and Afghanistan from 1370 until 1858 and there are statues and monuments honouring him in every Uzbek city . But the most impressive must be this one of him standing in front of the remains of his great white palace, Oq Saroy, in Shakhrisabz...


As regular readers know, we always try to get photos without people. However, it seems that every Uzbeck bride has to have her photo taken in front of every historical monument in the country along with most of the guests.

Uzbek weddings are restricted to 200 guests by law and it seems that half of the country was getting married this weekend. It was worse than the Biking Vikings who insisted in getting into every one of our photos in Denmark. This is just one side of the remains of the 600 year old entrance to Temur's white palace...


There was absolutely no one in front of this massive gateway until we took the shot and the wedding group rushed in to fill the void. So we moved to take a picture of the other side – and bingo: another bride and groom et al...


There were at least six wedding parties vying for the most photogenic spots around the great edifice so we thought we could get a better shot from further away. No such luck. The wedding groups not only followed but they wanted to get us into their albums as well...


And so we carried on to Temur's great mosque, Kok Gumbaz, which has the largest blue tiled dome of any mosque in Uzbekistan. It was built by Ulugbek in 1435 and look what happened...


Well – if you can't beat them.etc. ... And so we gave in and joined the wedding party...


We loved being part of the happy couples' day and wonder how they will explain the 'strange' foreigners in their wedding albums to their kids.

Posted by Hawkson 09:51 Archived in Uzbekistan

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I love the idea of being in a wedding party of locals! I used to go to weddings in the north end of Winnipeg just to see the acton when they came out of church. And here you are at the other end of the world....

by Joyce

Each place you visit seems unique. I love it that the historical sites are a desired background for weddings in your photos here. In Vancouver Queen Elizabeth Park at certain seasons is filled with bridal parties..

by Sue Fitzwilson

Weddings are a shared celebration Uzbekistan it seems. There you will be for as long as the couple stay together.

by Janet

Ah, the first photo. Would have spent many dollars at that counter. They all look so good.
Lovely black tresses everywhere I notice (minus three tourist greys). Not a blond in sight.

by R and B

Impressive palace ruins. Can imagine how impressive it would have been in its prime. Interesting to see brides in Christian white married in and photographed in front of mosques. Men in suits too. How customs migrate.

by Tom

I am really impressed by the buildings. Very different from others we have seen.

by Keith

Reading this entry and seeing the pictures, we are reminded of our wedding experience in Uzbekistan! Every historic site came with a bride and groom and entourage. Why only 200 at a wedding? Interesting.

Hi S & A
Only 200 because weddings were getting totally out of hand as people became wealthier. Weddings are very costly and a way of showing off to friends and neighbours is to blow everything on a big event. The government eventually put its foot down to stop people getting into ridiculous debt. J & S

by Steve and Alison

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