Lesley Downer

Uzbekistan: where east meets west and past meets present

It’s so welcoming that at the airport even the immigration officials are smiling

You realise what a rarity western tourists are when the locals ask to take selfies with you. I was standing under the mammoth ramparts of the Ark, Bukhara’s great palace fortress, when two women came up and asked if they could have their picture taken with me. One was dressed Uzbek-style in a colourful dress and matching trousers, with a scarf knotted around her head; the other in a western blouse and trousers.

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