Tadjikistan, Douchanbé, Dehnavaki-Bolo, Mounira, Morhu, tapshan, tapchane, © L. Gigout, 2012
Avec Morhu chez Mounira, dans son village proche de Douchanbé.

(We are aware that the english translation of the different texts is not very correct,  please accept our apologies for that. However, we hope there are not so much misunderstanding. We are working on they improvement. Thank you.)

It was a time of my young years when I went to bed early, in the impatience to add a new episode to a serial which drove me every evening to the country of Baybars, of Thousand and one Nights, on the caravan routes of the Book of Marvels by Marco Polo. Many years later, while I wished to go to Baku, a friend pronounced the name of Samarcand where he had been on the occasion of a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan. I decided to change my plans and to go there. I knew nothing about Samarcand and about Central Asia but the name of this city was curiously familiar to me. "The smell in the word" would say Bachelard. It was the magic lamp from which arose oases, caravanserais, heady fragrances and belly dancers. The city could only have been the siege of my former dreamings. The clichés have short-lived with a historic reality so fascinating. The region, situated between the Caspian Sea, Mongolia, the Hindou-Kouch and Siberia, populated initially with nomadic shepherds, saw following one another brilliant civilizations and barbaric waves of destruction. Number of ages met there and continue to exist the some next to the others. It knew alternately the big empire achéménide of Persia, Alexander the Great, the gréco-bactrien kingdom, the Buddhist missionaries, the Arab propagators of Islam, the turco-Mongolian empires of Gengis Khan and Tamerlan, the era of khanats, the colonization by tsarist Russia, incorporation in Soviet Union and the Independence with artificial borders became real with the need to admit the construction of independent and sovereign nation states. The Silk route, which went from the former Chinese capital X'ian to Antioch in Syria, allowed the installation of a transnational culture which connected together diverse peoples and isolated tribes. The trade was vectors of confrontations of the ideas and tonics for the development of the arts. Cradleland of the Turkish people, Central Asia knew two golden ages. The first one with the Iranian Samanid dynasty and its capital Bukhara. The second at the occasion of the symbiosis between the settled or nomadic Turkish populations and the Mongolian conquerors. The arrival of Tamerlan, which established at the end of the 14th century its big emirate with Samarcande for capital, announced the advent of a brilliant artistic, cultural and scientific era. René Grousset, historian of the East, the author of the essential Empire of steppes, so notices the role of Châh Rokh, the younger of the four Tamerlan’s sons : "[He is] the most remarkable of Timourides. Good captain and brave soldier, but of humor rather peacefull person, humane, moderate, loving Persian letters, big builde, protector of the poets and the artists, this son of the terrible Tamerlan was one of the best sovereigns of Asia. Its long reign from 1407 till 1447 was decisive for what we called, in the cultural domain, the revival timouride, Persian golden age of the literature and the art. Hérât, of which he had made its capital and Samarqand, his son Oulough-beg residence, became the most brilliant homes hearths of this revival. So the sons of the one who had ruined Isfahan and Shiraz were going to become the most active protective of the Iranian culture."

During the summer 2010, I went for the fifth time in Central Asia. Not to go backpacking as I usually made but to attend the marriage of a friend. My two daughters accompanied me. We lived in the hotel Legend, a pension in a traditional ouzbek house in the old town near the Registan. It was in July and the sun, soft at the first hours in the morning, would not delay becoming burning. Nevertheless, we took our time before pacing up and down the alleys and the sites of the old capital of Tamerlan. Registan, necropolis Shah-e Zinda, the mosque Bibi-Khanym, the mausoleum Gur-Emir, so many remarkable sites that I did not tire of visiting. It was very too pleasant to nap in the soft shadow of the climbing vine, stretched out on a confortable wood platform provided with a carpet, with slender mattresses and with pillows, and I had difficulty in convincing us to go out from there to expose ourselves to the unrelentig sun.

"How confortable we are on that !", had exclaimed one of them the first morning. "Really cool. What's it called ?" has continued the other one. I had already noticed this singular object during my previous journeys but the remark of my daughters drew my attention. Both enthusiasts of an aesthetics associated with the morning musing, could only be right. It appeared to me that this object, so much common that it became invisible, was the image of a specific and delighted lifestyle which merits that we have a closer look to it. That is how, two years later, I set off again to leave, this time, to the discovery of the big sofas of Central Asia.

motif, Ouzbékistan, Samarcande, Registan, © Louis Gigout, 2012

Louis Gigout, Asie centrale 2012, Sète 2013, Pournoy-la-Chétive avril 2014.
Du même auteur :

Syracuse, Éditions de l'Harmattan, 2007.
Un voyage en Ouzbékistan en 1999
Madina, miniaturiste à Boukhara

Thanks. A heartfelt thanks to Nargiza Fayzieva, manager in Sogda Tour, who organized with me the journey and the meetings in Uzbekistan, and to Nafisa and Antoine Buisson for their advices and their help in Tajikistan. Thanks to Saad Al-Haire (Samarkand, Tashkent), Mourodkhon, Rahmatullo Fayziev Ergachev (Samarkand), Madina, Rushana Burkhanova (Bukhara), Sobir, his family and friends (Derbent), Tuychiboy Dzhunaev, Saïd Makhmudov, Morhu, Mounira, Farrukh Negmatzade, Sokiboy Sultonov, Lola Ulugova (Dushanbe), Savsangul (Khorog/Pish), Hilola, Suhrob, Zilola (Khujand), Dariya Sakulova (Bishkek, Osh), Hayat Tarikov (Arslanbob), Zafar, his family and friends (Fergana), Gulmira, Kamola Mamadalieva, Rano (Tashkent), the bride and groom in Richtan and to all those who opened me their door with a rare hospitality and an incomparable human warmth. This travelogue is dedicated to them. Thanks to Bernadette Grosse and to Gisèle Meichler for their careful rereading, to Anne Ducloux (Tradition and modernity) and to Stéphane A. Dudoignon (The words to express it).