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Photographer's Note

The remains of the abandonded city of Konye-Urgench in Northern Turkmenistan speak of a history of hardship. Once a thriving city at the Amu-Darya river along the Silk Road it was razed in an exceptionally brutal massacre by Genghis Khan in 1221. Very few buildings were spared. Although the city was rebuilt fate would once again turn its back on the city as a local climate change saw the Amu Darya river turn away to the north. And with Timur's army sacking the city once more in 1370 the inhabitants gave up and moved north to form the new Urgench, which today lies on the opposite side of the border, in Uzbekistan.

Walking through Konye-Urgench is a somewhat creepy affair. The road grid remains intact but practically no buildings are around, save for a handful of mausoleums and the 60 meter tall Kutlug-Timur minaret, towering over this desolate place.

What do you do when you are in the absolute middle of nowhere and your camera dies on you? We had just reached Khiva in the evening a few nights ago when the batteries in my EOS300 drained and I realized that I had brought the wrong type of replacements with me. There I was, just at the beginning of a two week journey through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and I had no batteries for my camera. I just wanted to cry.

Fortunately it was not a total loss, as I had been clever enough to pack my old pocket camera, the little Konica Pop-Super which, although nothing to brag about on a site like TE, served me well for a number of years, by always being handy. For example, during my military training it fit in my uniform chest pocket and hence was always at reach in the field.

I remember running around in the Khiva harassing other tourists for batteries. Those that had spares of course would not consider selling them to me. I had to endure a number of days in the Khiva, Dashoguz, Konye-Urgench and Ashgabat before I could finally restock on batteries and fire up the EOS300 again.

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Additional Photos by Johan Rehn (grantcorp) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 22 W: 13 N: 44] (123)
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