Monday, November 6, 2017

The Turan Tiger



 
Caspian tiger (P. t. virgata), also known as the Hyrcanian tiger or Turan tiger was found in the sparse forest habitats and riverine corridors south and east of the Black and Caspian Seas, through the Pontic-Caspian steppe into Central Asia, and onto the Takla-Makan desert of Xinjiang. The Caspian tiger had been recorded in the wild until the early 1970s and is now extinct. The extant Siberian tiger is the genetically closest living relative of this recognised subspecies.  






Sunday, November 5, 2017

Djanpik-Qala (IX-XI, XIII-XIV centuries AD)


The outstanding Soviet archaeologist S.P.Tolstov, who was the head of Khoresm archaeological and ethnographic expedition in Karakalpakstan, called Dzhanpik-Kala (Djanpik-Qala) the most beautiful fortress in Khoresm.

Located 6 km to the South-East of the town Karatau some six km off the Nukus to Urgench highway (50 km from Nukus) not far from the banks of Amudarya, on the border of the Baday-Tugay biosphere reserve not far from the south western edge of the Sailtan Uvays Mountains it can be accessed by a winding dirt road (7Km) from Gayur Qala or (6 Km) off a turning on the main road.

The fortress was built on the ruins of a much early settlement dating from the 4th century BC. The towering external walls, which are seen today, date from the medieval period, the fortress itself largely built between the 9th and 10th centuries AD. The vast Djanpik Qala is irregularly shaped and protected by a double wall with an archers gallery on the second floor. A rectangular citadel is located on the highest point of settlement. Five towers located around the perimeter are still visible. From the 10th to the 14th century it became a residential zone with many workshops and stores.

 It was first sacked by the Mongols (along with most of Khoresm) in the years 1220-1.  After the invaders left there was further construction  residential and workshop zones within the fortress and once again became an important centre of craft production and trade with workshops for glass makers, weavers, blacksmiths, potters and stone carvers. Silver and copper coins and many other items indicate that it must have been and important port and trading post on the river. Artefacts indicate that the town had a sophisticated water supply and drainage system. After Amir Timur conquered and destroyed the Khorezm State in 1388, the fortress was abandoned.
 
On the north-western side of fortress there is a palace or a citadel with walls with elegant façade stucco moldings, typically of the medieval architecture of Khoresm. The layout of the settlement is complex extending over a large area with large level difference following the landform.

On the top of fortifications were open slots for archers protected by a low wall in the front. It is possible to walk up the stairs, located inside the wall. Five towers have survived each located about seventy (70) meters from each other. Only one tower on the eastern wall has an inner room, other towers are monolithic. There were two entrances. One entrance on the northern wall comes to an cemetery, and another on the bend in a wall from the southern side.

There are still traces of a break on southern wall, which were made during the invasion which led to the collapse of the settlement.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Lower Amu Darya River


The photo below shows the dense series of irrigation canals of the delta of the Amu Darya which are visible due to the reflection of sunlight off the surface of the water. The river provides life-giving water to crops on the Amu Darya Delta (dark green). The river originates thousand of kilometers to the southeast in the Pamir Mountains (Tajikistan/Afghanistan)  and flows across the arid Turanian plain and eventually deposits into the Aral Sea, an inland drainage basin. Before entering the Aral it forms a vast delta (see image below). The primary crops produced on the Amu Darya Delta is cotton and rice both water-intensive. The lower Amu Darya irrigated agriculture and relatively dense population. It is an ethnically mixed population being inhabited by Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, Kazakhs and Turkmen.


Photo: A satellite image of part of the Lower Amu Darya (River),

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art named after I.V.Savitsky

 

Language Ecology: Understanding Central Asian Multilingualism.

Understanding Central Asian Multilingualism:

Central Asia and its major ethnolinguistic groups map go to Central Asian Languages

Source:  University of Texas

The region of Central Asia is highly multilingual: each of the republics of the region is named for a titular nationality, each in turn with its own language, Kazakh in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan, Tajik in Tajikistan, Turkmen in Turkmenistan, and Uzbek in Uzbekistan. Speakers of these languages are found not only in their respective republics, but also in the neighbouring republics.  Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Karakalpak and Uzbek are classified as members of the Turkic language family, while Tajik, an Iranian language, is considered to be a Central Asian variety of Persian. Russian is widely spoken in each. Each displays variation among regional dialects with transitional varieties that may share features with each of the above languages, leaving us with a complex Turkic and Iranian dialect continua with boundaries that may be fuzzier than the sharpness of political frontiers might suggest. This book explores several diachronic stages of Central Asia's language ecology focusing on multilingualism and languages of wider communication and the lenses of diglossia with or without bilingualism, ending with a sample of contemporary language ecology of Central Asia. It argues that an ecological approach to the question of language change in Central Asia gives a greater descriptive analysis, while a comparative diachronic and synchronic approach provides insight into the processes of change and helps to shed light on current language trends in the region.

Language Ecology: Understanding Central Asian Multilingualism. In E. S. Ahn & J. Smagulova (Eds.), Language Change in Central Asia (pp. 11-32). Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton.  Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272503591_Language_Ecology_Understanding_Central_Asian_Multilingualism_In_E_S_Ahn_J_Smagulova_Eds_Language_Change_in_Central_Asia_pp_11-32_Berlin_DeGruyter_Mouton



 

Monday, July 17, 2017

List of Birdlife sighted in Karakalpakstan


























Photo: http://tugan.uz/files/falconry-baloban.jpg

Go to  http://www.inaturalist.org/places/karakalpakstan

iNaturalist.org bird list and has photos of over 260 different birds in karakalpakstan such as the endangered saker falcon (Falco cherrug) above. The saker are primarily desert and steppe falcons that prefer open country such as grasslands with few trees and cliffs. This species breeds from eastern Europe, and eastward across southern Russia, to as far as Manchuria. Northern populations are migratory. They winter in Ethiopia, as well as the Arabian peninsula and northern Pakistan. The largest decline of the Saker falcon in Asia is in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. 
 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Shashlik

Shashlik, or shashlyk, (Russian: шашлык) is a is a dish of shallow meat, usually lamb with a minimum of spices and is an essential street food in most of the countries of the former USSR. There are disputes about where the name shashlik comes from but most likely is that “Shash” in ancient Turkic means “piece”. And ”lik” means ”six”. As a result, shashlik - is six pieces of meat. Shish” in Turkic - means "peak", "bayonet", “lik” - "for" it also could just mean skewered meat. Shashlik (as opposed to other forms of shish Kabob) is usually presented in form of chunks of meat. There are many variants, in the shape, size and choice of meat portions.  The preparation is very important - the temperature of the coals, time marinating, and careful presentation of the meat.

Typically Shashlik is prepared using leg or side of lamb in a quantity that depends on how many people you’ll feed (recommendation use at least 500gm per adult).  Cut up the meat and the fat into bite-sized pieces.  Don’t forget the fat.  It’s delicious. Traditionally the meat and fat are marinated in mineral water (seltzer) add salt, pepper, coriander and chopped onion. It is important to turn the meat around every few hours to make sure it’s evenly marinated. Total marinating time varies but a minimum of 8 hours albeit 24 hours is better. The marinated meat is then strung on skewers (always six pieces) with tomato and/or onion and the last piece usually a piece of lard.
Postal stamp of Tajikistan "Oriental bazaar" displaying an old man grilling shashliks on a mangal.
A traditional grill called a mangal (mahn-gahl) is filled with burning coals which are .  Fry it over the hot coals, at first on the one side, then on another side to release the juice and a golden brown colour. For evenly frying the meat wave a hand fan from time to time to increase the heat. If the fat lard runs off and forms a flame, sprinkle coals with water mixed with white vinegar. Cook till it’s done. Before serving, put the shashlik into a lagan (large plate). Garnish with white onion rings. The Shashlik is sometimes also served with vegetables that have been cooked in a similar fashion on separate skewers. Another tradition is to take the finished meat and remove each chunk from its skewer by holding it between pieces of bread. The bread and the meat are put into a large bowl or pot and then covered, shaken and allowed to rest for a few minutes so the flavours and juices from the meat penetrate the bread.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Uzbekistan, UMMC sign memorandum to implement Tebinbulak titanium-magnetite project

Uzbekistan and the Ural Mining and Metallurgy Company signed a memorandum on implementation of the project on developing titanium-magnetite ore Tebinbulak field in Karakalpakstan with the construction of a steelmaking plant for US$1.5 billion. The Tebinbulak field has an forecasted resource base of 3.5 bn t of ore similar to the deposits of Kachkanar in the Urals. The field is located near Nukus and was opened in 1937.
The document was signed at the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Moscow on 3 April 2017 within the state visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Russia (4-5 April 2017).

The project on development of Tebinbulak field envisages the construction of a mining complex with a capacity of 14.7 million tonnes of ore a year with production of titanium and vanadium by 2021  Due to high investment expenses, the field has been slow to enter development. The field is being rehabilitated in order to create own resource base of Uzmetkombinat, which currently produces carbon steel flat and long products and also manufactures rolled copper and copper alloy products, as well as processing and recycling steel scrap. It is estimated that the field can provide long term raw materials for the future operation of the combine.

Source: https://www.uzdaily.com/articles-id-38939.htm 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Update : Takhiatash Thermal Power Plant Upgrade


The Takhiatash thermal power plant is to be upgraded to meet rising electricity demand in the western part Uzbekistan. The project will involve building two combined-cycle gas turbine units with a capacity of 230-280 MW, decommissioning old and inefficient power generation units, improving energy efficiency, and increasing power supply to the Karakalpakstan and Khorezm regions.

UzbekEnergo announced in December 2016 that the consortium including the South Korean Hyundai Engineering and Hyundai Engineering and Construction won the tender for the modernisation of Takhiatash Thermal Power Plant (TPP).

The consortium who won the international competition for the project "Construction of two 230-280 MW combined cycle power plants (CCPP) at at Takhiatash TPP" proposed a price of 457 million dollars and a 2.5 year build time. There were a total of 10 bidders from China, South Korea and Turkey. Hyundai winning the tender against strong competition from Turkey (Calik) and several China EPCs.

The project will cost a total of $ 678.2 million funded by a $ 300 million Asian Development Bank loan, US $ 230.7 million from the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan and the rest from UzbekEnergo’s own funds.
The current capacity of Takhiatash GRES is 730 MW. The first unit was commissioned in 1956, the last (fifth) - in 1967. The power plant provides electricity to the north-west of Uzbekistan- the Republic of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm region.

The Takhiatash TPP is the main source of power supply in the Karakalpakstan and Khorezm regions. In 2012, power consumption in these regions was 2,293 mln. kilowatt-hours (kWh) with maximum load of 466 megawatts (MW). By 2020, the power consumption is expected to exceed 3,620 mln. kWh, with maximum load of 620 MW.

(ED: Note The term GRES (Russian: ГРЭС) refers to a condenser type electricity-only thermal power station introduced in the Soviet Union which still exist in Russia and other former Soviet republics. The Russian abbreviation ГРЭС stands for Государственная районная электростанция, or "state-owned district power plant" Over time the abbreviation has lost its literal meaning, and the term refers to a high-power (thousands of megawatt) thermal power station of condenser type. The term TEC or TETs (Russian: ТЭЦ, теплоэлектроцентраль) refers to combined heat and power plants).