After the oriental and the Russian part followed the third yet again different part of Uzbekistan, which is the traditional Uzbek part in the Fergana Valley. The valley is the country’s most important agricultural region and is mainly settled by ethnic Uzbeks. One could observe this by the people’s dresses, their language and their religion.
After the oriental cities in Uzbekistan, Tashkent meant a big change. The capital of the central Asian country sports a majority of inhabitants of Russian descendence but also the architecture is very much influence by the Russian period.
One destination which appears on almost every itinerary through Central Asia is Samarkand. Timer made the city the capital of his empire in the 14th century, which reached all the way to modern day Istanbul. Today the city is known for its beautiful buildings, which survived many a storm during the past centuries.
After the long drive from Khiva to Bukhara I intended to spend two relaxing days in Bukhara. I used the time to get to know the wonderful old town and to learn a few interesting things about the people.
I was definitely looking forward to the day when I left Turkmenistan and I could start discovering the famous ancient cities of the silk road in Uzbekistan. Also to the day when I could freely move around in a country again. But how would the border crossing work this time?
Happy news from the visa front: earlier than expected, I found a letter from the Uzbek consulate in the mail yesterday. For some reason I feared there would be an issue with overlapping visas, but apparently this does not seem to be one after all. So what did I do to get the visa?
- Fill in the on-line form at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, print the resulting PDF file and add a photo to that form.
- Write a nice letter asking for a visa
- Add a registered and stamped return envelope
- Add my passport
- Send prove of money transfer for the visa request
and that was it!
The next step now is to request a tourist visa for Iran. I double checked the visa requirements on the website of the Iranian consulate in Munich (which is the one to contact if you live in Southern Germany) and it seems that there is no need to involve a travel agent. All the travel agent does, is to request a reference number with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which takes between 3 and 7 days. The consulate in Munich also performs this request and it takes 5 days. Thus there is not really any gain, except if I would ask for an express visa. In that case, the consulate performs the remaining activities in 2 instead of 10 days.
Tomorrow I will mail my passport with the following information to the Iranian consulate:
- Filled in visa request form, which you can find here
- Two photos
- Registered and stamped return envelope
- Prove for the money transfer for the visa request
Hope this works as well as the previous two visas!