There are times that, honestly, I can’t really explain why. A place just grabs me, without much of a clear reason way. Istravshan was, I think, one of those. Though of some prominence in Tajikistan’s history, today Istravshan is just a small-town with a big bazaar and a couple of historic mosques and mausoleums. It could be any city in Central Asia, in that respect. Still, though, it stuck with me terribly fondly.
In the central park, Rudaki overlooks a modern mosque and a couple of cleaning ladies sitting for a quick break.
Which they didn’t seem to mind me interrupting. Directions in hand, I left them to their leisure.
Like any town in Central Asia, there’s a big bazaar where you can buy.. well, just about anything. Bonus points if it was, at some point, part of a sheep.
It smells, of course, like shashlyk…
The neighborhoods, too, are worth a wander.
For the occasional laugh.
For the children that seem at times to be just waiting for someone to walk along with a camera.
And of course for the beautiful buildings tucked away in the maze.
You will eventually get turned around, but no worries.
Just ask the nearest grey-beard and he’ll send you off the right way.
From a hill overlooking the town and sunset, the bazaar seems tantalizingly close.
Drop back in on the market at the end of the day.
But be sure to dodge those shashlyk spears!
It isn’t particularly beautiful, particularly old, or particularly important.
It is pretty pleasant, and I lingered for days. Check it out.