Friday 24 October
Our last stop in Uzbekistan was Nukus, but it was the drive there that was more interesting that the city.
We stopped by three fortresses that were part of the Khanate’s defence. We saw many others along the way, perhaps just a mound now or a small turret, destroyed by invading forces and worn down by desert winds.
The Karakum desert looks most inhospitable and the small towns we passed have a lonely, morose feeling to them.
There is oil in the desert and refineries were scattered throughout.
The roads were mostly awful, pot holed, bumpy bits of broken bitumen or shale rock. Occasionally there would be a nice long stretch of sealed road, presumably paid for by an oil company.
Uzbekistan has enough oil to provide some wealth, but it is a long hard haul in the sparsely populated desert areas.
We arrived in Nukus in time to make a quick dash to the Savitsky Museum, the home of avant garde Russian art. It is an interesting story. Igor Savitsky lived in Nukus during Soviet times. Somehow he managed to collect some Russian art and hide it there. He also developed a school of artists who concentrated on life and times under soviet occupation.
Sadly, no photographs, but the museum is well enough known for the story and some pictures to be displayed from the ‘net and a documentary The Desert of Forbidden Art has been made. There is also an ancient story on Youtube about the collection called Keepers of the Lost Art.
Once the museum closed there was little to do, a wander around the town and a stop at the town market before the challenge of finding somewhere to eat.
Tomorrow we cross the border to Turkmenistan, the last of out ‘Stan countries.