A Travellerspoint blog

The start of the Silk Road

Central Asia - Konye Urgench

sunny 30 °C
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Dawn at the Door to Hell

Dawn at the Door to Hell

Waking up in the desert, taking one last look at the Door to Hell, we got back in our 4x4s and headed towards the border.

Driving through the desert towards Uzbekistan

Driving through the desert towards Uzbekistan

This was a long drive, taking four hours along atrocious pot hole-littered roads stopping en route at the historic Konye Urgench.

Unlike the rest of wacky Turkmenistan, Konye Urgench was much more like what we would be seeing in Uzbekistan - being a UNESCO Silk Road historic city. However being Turkmenistan the site was relatively underdeveloped and dilapidated.

Konye Urgench

Konye Urgench

Walking around the site, consisting of a number of mausoleums, a minaret and a mosque, we got a feel for the next few days before finally heading to the border.

After a long crossing, including a health check and a taxi ride across no-man's land we eventually made it to our coach on the Uzbek side that would take us to the historic city of Khiva and our first night in a hotel in four days. Bizarrely, as unwelcome as we were made to feel by Border Control, as soon as we drove along the local roads every cotton picker and child stopped to wave at us. A nice touch, even if slightly spurious.

In Uzbekistan there is still a resistance to accepting that inflation has occurred. Despite the fact that $1 buys 3,000 Som, the highest note that is seen on the street is the 1,000 Som note. In addition to this, there is a black market that gives us double the amount of Som.

£25 later...

£25 later...

After us all converting our money for the next five days we ended up with a massive bag full of notes. For just £25 I had two large wads of money to carry around with me. No wallets needed in Uzbekistan - just bags.


Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Turkmenistan Tagged history fire border gas crater centralasia silkroad

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