Surkhandarya: Flamboyant region of Uzbekistan
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Surkhandarya region is located in the southern part of Uzbekistan, this is a special, wonderful land with a wide variety of landscapes. Thanks to a favorable geographical location the civilization in these places flourished since ancient times and numerous historical changes have left a unique touch to local cities.
The everyday life of Baysun residents strikes tourists with its special color, it is studied by many historians and ethnographers. Houses here are decorated with locally carpets called suzane, national costumes are decorated with unusual ornaments that are embroidered by hand. To serve the tables they also use locally produced and painted dishes.
Local people carefully preserved the folklore traditions in its original form passing them from generation to generation. Weddings, funerals, births and celebrations are accompanied by original and vivid rituals that exist only in this area. Here, any important event in the life of people is accompanied by a complex ritual songs and dances. The Muslim mentality, which displaced from the minds of Uzbeks many pagan traditions, did not affect the local residents that much and who still perform make-it-rain ritual, picking-up mountain tulips celebration and many other rituals.
The value of Baysun's traditions is so great that this region was listed by UNESCO in 2001 in Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, which included only 19 cultural and historical areas around the world.
Not far from Baysun is the Surkhan Reserve, which is aimed to preserve the diversity of the region's fauna and flora. Here, tourists can touch the real fossils left by dinosaurs that lived in this area millions of years ago. Neolithic and Mesolithic drawings of ancient people are found in the local rocks.
Climbing the mountains, tourists can visit Teshik-Tash cave, which is known all over the world thanks to the remains of a Neanderthal child found here in 1938, the reconstruction of which is one of the most recognizable images of an ancient man in the world. For a long time, it was believed that the remains belonged to the boy, but later studies discovered new facts - in fact, the skeleton belongs to the girl 8-10 years old. The animal bones found nearby suggest that it was not just a burial, but a real funeral ritual. According to the reconstruction by Russian anthropologist M. A. Gerasimov, a sculptural portrait was created, which is kept in the Termez Museum.
Nearby is the cave of Amir Temur, but research works are not possible at the moment because of the constantly crumbling rock. Legends say that the saber of one of the greatest commanders of Uzbekistan is buried in this cave.
The mountain ranges around Baysun are a real storehouse of stories and legends. One of them is also related with the cave, which is called Zarautsay. As the rumor says, here are hidden the treasures of the famous navigator and traveler Marco Polo. He was going to save them from robbers who attacked his caravan while following the Silk Road. So far treasures were not found, but the researchers discovered ancient writings on the walls, dated from various periods - from the Paleolithic to the Bronze Age.
Another legend is about saint Omonkhona spring that is visited by pilgrims from all over Uzbekistan to drink its soul-cleansing water, which has medicinal properties. The water of the source heals indeed, since it is mineralized naturally and cures diseases of the liver and kidneys.
Baysun is the beautiful mountainous wild land, the lost world of medieval villages and titanic landscapes. In fact, this is a whole country, where it would be worth spending a few days and will undoubtedly leave one of the strongest impressions of Central Asia.