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IslamiCity > Travel > 2004 Program to Uzbekistan CULTURAL PROGRAM

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Some of the cultural activities are listed below that makes the IslamiCity tours educational and enjoyable both.



Historically the indigenous people used to get together at a central place/square for trading purposes. Silk route travelers from Arabia during their trade visits called the Trade Center as Souk (in Arabic) which later became Bazar which is popularly used in Turkey, Iran and Central Asia.

Tashkent's Chorsu Bazar or Bukhara's Grand Bazar is a very typical representation of the Silk Route trade culture. A huge domed Bazar houses few hundred vendors offering spices, fruits, nuts, roots/herbs and live stock (sheep, chickens, pigeons), household items, clothing, jewelry, etc. Bazar intoxicates its visitors with the fragrance of spices. Herbs and spices are extensively used in the East for cooking and for medicinal purposes.

It is fascinating to see almost every one selling very similar products yet sitting right next to each other and competing freely. A good demonstration of fair-trade and open market concepts which the post-modern world now claims to be one of it's marvels.

People come and shop with their vendors of preference and choice. A store is known by the vendor and his family. No store puts up any signage to draw customers. Same customers and vendors are dealing with each other through generations. Their relationship is based on pure mutually respected trust. Neither of them abandons each other for material reasons except when the trust is violated. Vendors and Customers both establish their relationships over time for the honesty in their transactions. There was neither any credit bureau then nor now. It all works well through the word of mouth.

The stores are generally managed by an entire family. The older members of the family contributes to the reputation of the store and the younger ones learn from their experience under their watchful eyes. One can see a whole family manning a small store perhaps with no more than fifty items or at most less than one hundred with a daily gross sales not exceeding equivalent to US$20. But the exercise of doing things together contributes to the collective growth of a family and enhances the bonds among each other.



For centuries the Uzbek people have been practicing this age old technique of relaxation. The steam bath-houses are a maze of rooms with varying degree of temperature. The deeper you go the hotter the room temperature. A full body massage with herbal oils (lukewarm) is considered to be the epitome of relaxation. It is said that the use of herbal oil nourishes the skin while the massage balances the physical aspects of the body. Most likely the steam bathing system migrated from Turkey.



Breads: All Uzbek bread is known as Non in Uzbek language. It is generally flat, varies in sizes with different baking techniques. Some popular kinds of the flat Nons are ... Sutli Non, Obi Non and Jizzali Non. Other popular Nons that are not plain flat but equally popular are ...   Kunjutli va sedanli (Flat bread with sesame and poppy seeds),
Piyozli Non (Flat bread with onions), and Shirmoi Non (Chickpea and anise).

The Big Meal Deal an experience!


Palov / Pelov / Pilaff: 

Palov or Pelov as is pronounced in Uzbek language is no different than the Pilaff elsewhere. Obvious main ingredient is rice and either meat or chicken with raisins and nuts, etc. Uzbek people use all types of nuts, almonds, pistachio, peanuts etc in almost all types of Pelov. Some of the popular pelovs are:

  • Kovurma Palov Sarimsokli Palov

  • Pilaff with Garlic Mayizli Palov

  • Bukhoro Pilaff with Raisins

  • Sofakli Palov - Samarqand Pilaff

  • Kovatok Palov - Pilaff with Stuffed Grape Leaves

  • Tovukli Palov - Pilaff with Chicken

It is common courtesy and decency not to criticize the food and their customs. Hosts, may they be restaurant personnel or tour guides & drivers, may think the tourists are not civilized. Remember Uzbek culture is diametrically opposite to the Western pop culture and is tens of times older than the birth of what is now known as the U.S. of A.

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