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Publisher Yaffa Assouline was intent on capturing and bringing Uzbekistan to the world stage, and in collaboration with photographer Laziz Hamani, this is exactly what she achieved with Uzbekistan: The Road to Samarkand (2014), a book that took shape over a year-long journey. Take a look at some of the book’s highlights to get a glimpse of the country and its people.
The 336-page tome explores the visual culture and colourful history that characterises the Central Asian country.
“The only other place one can find such architecture, with its vibrant mosaics, is in Iran – and some people I have met from Iran actually say that the architecture in Uzbekistan is more beautiful,” explains Yaffa. “The beauty of its architecture, with all these magnificent buildings standing next to each other, is something you can’t forget. The medieval Shah-i-Zinda complex in the northeastern part of Samarkand was particularly mind-blowing.”
Along with the intricacies of textures and textiles that render its towns and cities “open museums”, as Yaffa describes them, the country’s unadulterated natural landscapes are documented in the book and explored for the relationship they play in informing the design of buildings.
“I was so enamoured by how the colours of their natural resources seemed to be reflected in the architecture,” says Yaffa, who felt a particular connection to its vast salt lakes, and a visit to the “literal city of the deal”, Mizdakhan Necropolis.