"In Kazakhstan, lack of good hospitals is serious problem. The hospital Sema is a Turkish hospital, which has a very clean and contemporary facilities. And quality of doctors and other workers is also very high."
"The summer after I graduated college I came to central Asia with some friends to teach English. My girlfriend was among our group, though we had just started dating at the time. We had a great time, eating Osh (or Plov), hanging out on "Broadway" and taking in the fascinating post-soviet/east meets west/Muslim hodgepodge that was the place. I'm sad to think how different that experience might be in a post-9/11 world, or if it's even a possibility anymore to go do what we did.
BUT, in addition to this being the furthest I've ever been from home, our friends had the last laugh. They all decided that my girlfriend and I were going to get serious at some point, so they made a sign congratulating us on our as of yet purely theoretical engagement and went around the city taking pictures of the locals holding up the sign. We did eventually get engaged, but the film had been forgotten and never developed. Someone found the film and developed the pictures, then stuck them in a desk drawer of the apartment my friends were in. A year later one of our group returned and stayed in the same apartment. She found the pictures and sent them to us, about 2 years after they were taken. Even though we're not in them, I think they may be the best engagement pictures ever."
"The Registan was a public square, where people gathered to hear royal proclamations, heralded by blasts on enormous copper pipes called dzharchis - and a place of public executions. It is framed by three madrasahs (Islamic schools) of distinctive Islamic architecture."
"Rich merchants and their families ply the Silk Route of the Orient with their caravans in order to make lucrative business. The players assume the role of traders who marry into other families to extend their influences. Who will be the richest merchant?"
Location 35.8825° N, 76.5133° E
K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth, after Mount Everest. It is located on the border between Baltistan, in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, and the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China. Wikipedia
Elevation: 28,251' (8,611 m)
First ascent: July 31, 1954
Prominence: 13,179' (4,017 m)
First ascenders: Lino Lacedelli, Achille Compagnoni
Mountain range: Himalaya, Karakoram"
"Almaty is the largest city in the world’s ninth largest country – Kazakhstan.
Over the years, this former Soviet Union state has endured a turbulent time. Genghis Khan plundered these parts, the Russians came and conquered, and the notorious Stalin-era Gulags saw thousands of political prisoners confined to the icy wastes of the steppe.
Today the Silk Road city of Almaty, the former Kazakhstan capital, is a relaxed, tree-lined city, which appears quite willing to play second fiddle to the glittering new capital, Astana, some 75 minutes away by plane.
Kazakhstan is famous for its tulips, its apples and its horses. One man told me: ”We have three types of horses: those to work, those to ride and those to eat.”
Horse meat is a staple of most restaurants and it comes in many styles: At one restaurant there was an appetizer of “assorted horse meat platter”, while a main course offered “chopped pieces of meat, liver, lungs, heart, sheep’s kidneys, fried with potatoes in sheep’s fat”.
The drink of choice for the locals is kumys (fermented mare’s milk) or shubat (fermented camel’s milk).
Kazakhs also play a traditional game with horses. Called kokpar it involves scoring goals with a headless goat.
It has not yet been accepted into Olympic competition but Kazakhstan, after winning seven gold medals at the London Olympics, might be pushing for it.
The national airline, Air Astana, has recently added Stopover packages to allow short visits to Kazakhstan"
"In Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, the winter temperatures, driven down by the searing winds from the steppe, can reach minus 35 degrees Celsius.
But the shoppers in the Khan Shatyr - a 150m tall, tent-like structure designed by Sir Norman Foster - mingle among the luxury retail stores in balmy year-round temperatures of around 22 degrees. On one floor there is a beach and wave pool.
Khan Shatyr – launched in 2010 with a performance by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, is just one of the eye-popping sights of Astana, a Central Asian powerhouse whose wealth is fuelled by oil and gas and whose ambition is driven by its president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, once a first secretary of the Kazakhstan Communist Party.
The city in Kazakhstan’s north-east, might also be called Chez Sir Norman given the number of buildings that have been, and will be, designed by the international practice, Foster and Partners. They include the pyramid-like Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, now a centre to promote inter-faith harmony and dialogue.
Yet even this exceptional building is taking a back seat to Astana’s beautiful classical Greek-styled Opera House.
Astana says its Opera House will “enter with full rights” into the narrow circle of world-class opera houses and concert halls, such as La Scala in Milan, Teatro Real in Madrid, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, or the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
And after touring the breathtakingly ornate building, I believe it."
""I speak not for myself but for those without voice... those who have fought for their rights... their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated."
"Sawtalo Sar Mountain (GPS 34.8697222, 70.96027779999997) - This was the map used by the doomed Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan June 28, 2005. Four Navy Seals came across herdsman and following the Rules of Engagement let them go. Their position was then immediately compromised and discovered and they were under heavy attack from 3 directions. Michael J Murphy was known early in life as "the protector" defending both a mentally challenged pupil and a homeless man from attackers. He was also a life guard. He knowingly left his cover to get a better signal to reach HQ to try to save his team and lost his life. Only Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell survived. His book was the basis for the film Lone Survivor starring Mark Wahlberg. A rescue chopper carrying 16 was also shot down killing 16.
My late father-in-law (who was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for bravery) helped lay down the foundation for the Navy Seals serving under Gen Douglas MacArthur leading some of the first frogmen into the sea to remove sea mines. Many of his innovations and tactics are still used by Seal teams. He set free diving records (had the Bends a few times) and dove with Jacques Cousteau, introducing a lot of diving technology to America. He didn't learn how to swim until age 33! He was nicknamed Red Dog Fane. I once bumped into a Seal coming back from Afghanistan. We started to talk and randomly i asked him where he lived. He told me he bought a house where i once hung out for years in Vancouver, BC. We couldn't believe it. He ran outside to get his ID with address just to prove it was real. We are welcome back there any time."
"We went to Amarnath caves with the family a couple of years ago.This is a divine destination, an abode of Shiva. Open only 30-50 days in a year.
We took a helicopter ride to the caves and it was an experience of a lifetime to fly over the snow laden mountains. I got to sit besides the pilot which was an added bonus.
Natural Shivling made of ice (no photography allowed or I would have loved to share a snap).
Another option is to trek through the beautiful thin pathways with a gorgeous view.
Must visit once in your lifetime!"
"Dal lake- one of the most beautiful lakes in india. Famous for shikaras and immobile house boats. There is a floating garden and market inside the lake, source of water is considered to be natural springs. In winters it is delightful to watch as the mountains surrounding it gets snow covered leaving an indelible impact.
A must vist is recommended."
"Shakaracharya temple- gives a full view of the srinagar city on reaching the top.
This temple was built by shankaracharya and is a temple of Lord Shiva."
"Fort Bala Hisar (aka. Qilla Bala Hisar) is one of the historic places of Peshawar, Pakistan. Peshawar is the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province (formerly known as North West Frontier province). The word Bala Hisar is from Dari Persian, meaning, “elevated or high fort”. The name was given by the Pakhtun King Timur Shah Durrani (1773–1793), who used the fort as the winter capital of the Afghan Durrani Empire, with the summer capital being in Kabul. The Sikhs who conquered Peshawar in the early 19th century named it Samir Garh in 1834 but the name did not become popular.
The Fort stands on a high mound in the north-western corner of Peshawar City. Not long ago, the fort used to be conspicuously away from the old city of Peshawar, but now the construction of new buildings has covered space between the old city and the fort. However, the fort’s position on a high mound gives a commanding and panoramic view of the entire Peshawar valley. On a clear day, one can see the mountains encircling Peshawar valley and beyond. The area covered by the inner wall of the fort is about 10 acres (40,000 sq.m) and the outer wall is about 15 acres (61,000 sq.m). The height of the fort is about 90 feet (27 m) above ground level. The exterior of the Fort is beautifully lit at night and presents a spectacular view of its grandeur.
The Fort is a historical place which has been well maintained. The best part of the fort visit is their museum which has a large collection of antique weapons, dresses, very rare photographs and other historic items. They have beautiful sprawling lawns, and in spring season the flower show is a must see.
The Fort has been the headquarters of the Frontier Corps since 1949. The visit to Fort would require prior coordination with its administration as it is not open for public but they do facilitate tourist visits for free."
"The Qissa (aka. Kissa) Khwani Bazaar (or 'Bazaar of the Story-tellers') is in Peshawar, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (previously known as North West Frontier) province Gazetteer, traveller Lowell Thomas and Peshawar's British Commissioner Herbert Edwardes called it "the Piccadilly of Central Asia" - extending from west to east in the heart of the city is the romantic 'Street of Story-tellers' - the Qissa Khawani Bazzar
During the region of emperor Kanishka (Kushan dynasty in 127–151 AD) merchants from South Asia used to come here. They used to do business at day time and at night they would go to an inn, sat around fire, sipping Qahwa (green tea) and used to tell stories of their regions. Thus the bazaar got its name "the Bazaar of Story-Tellers". In ancient times, travels were long, tiring, and dangerous. This was the camping ground for caravans and military adventures, where professional story-tellers recited ballads and tales of war and love to throngs of traders and soldiers. It was said that in those inns, either you would meet someone who will guide you in your further travel route or even you could find a travelling companion on road as well.
Qissa Khwani Bazaar is one of the oldest and the busiest place in Peshawar city. The Bazaar contains all kinds and varieties of shops, mostly having Pashtun and Peshawari cultural items. The Bazaar is famous for its qahwa – a traditional green tea with cardamom. Today the story-tellers are gone but the atmosphere lingers on. Bearded tribesmen bargain with city traders over endless cups of green tea. Fruit stalls look like small colourful pyramids. People from everywhere throng the crowded street. Afghans, Iraqis, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Afridis, and Shinwaris move around with ease and grace in their colourful native robes and rub shoulders with the Western tourists - lost in a world so different, so enchanting."
"The National Anthem of Pakistan is also known as ‘Pak sar zamin shad bad’ (blessed be the sacred land). Its music was composed by Ahmad G. Chagla in 1949, preceding the lyrics, which were written by Hafeez Jullundhri in 1952. It was officially adopted as Pakistan's national anthem in August 1954.
In December 1948, the Government of Pakistan established the National Anthem Committee (NAC) with the task of coming up with the composition and lyrics for the official national anthem of newly independent state of Pakistan. The NAC examined several different tunes and eventually selected the one presented by Ahmed G. Chagla. On 21 August 1949, the Government of Pakistan adopted Chagla’s tune for the national anthem.
This unique anthem tune, without lyrics, was performed for the first time for a foreign head of state on the state visit of the Shah of Iran to Pakistan in Karachi on 1 March 1950 by a Pakistan Navy band. It was later played for Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan during his official visit to the United States on 3 May 1950. The NAC distributed records of the composed tune amongst prominent poets, who responded by writing and submitting several hundred songs for evaluation by the NAC. Eventually, the lyrics written by Hafeez Jullundhri were approved and the new national anthem was broadcast publicly for the first time on Radio Pakistan on 13 August 1954, sung by the poet Hafeez Jullundhri himself.
The national anthem of Pakistan is a melodious and harmonious rendering of a three-stanza composition with a tune based on eastern music. Twenty-one musical instruments and thirty-eight different tones are used to play the anthem, the duration of which is 80 seconds. The Urdu lyrics have commonality with Persian making them understandable in both languages. No verse in the three stanza lyrics is repeated."
"The first time I ever left the US was to go to Pakistan (long story). Such a beautiful, misunderstood country and people. I pray that stability prevails there so more people can get the chance to experience it's wonderful culture.
Although I spent most of the time in Islamabad and Pindi (the capital and surrounding suburbs), I also had the chance to visit other cities like Jhelum, Gujarat, Mirpur, and the gorgeous Murri. I went to a Pakastani wedding, shopped in a bazar, visited the Faisal Mosque (breathtaking), and even had a pet goat named Habib (he was subsequently slaughtered for Eid, which nobody had told me about, but I've recovered... mostly). I also had the blessing of going with my friend's family to a shelter for those that had lost their homes in the earthquake, which was humbling and heartbreaking."
"Stumbling on this wonderful and beautiful scenery today, it is a landmark that unites the people of Pakistan.
The Pakistan Monument in Islamabad, Pakistan, is a national monument representing the nation's four provinces and three territories. After a competition among many renowned architects, Arif Masood’s plan was selected for the final design. The blooming flower shape of the monument represents Pakistan's progress as a rapidly developing country.
The structure comprises four blossoming flower petals, built of granite, representing the unity of Pakistani people. The inner walls of the petals are decorated with murals. The central platform is made in the shape of a five-pointed star which is surrounded by a water body."
Afghanistan is not the story Khalid Hosseini and Media wants you to believe. There is hope, and laughter in Afghanistan and that should be celebrated in Afghanistan than to think there is sorrow and a hand out. The location of INSIDE OUT will take part alongside ISAF HQ Barricade and in the old city of Kabul. For foreigners they don't venture into old city so it would be a discovery of what real Afghanistan is like. For the Afghans, it is to appreciate their people, their ethnicity and that everyone wants a peaceful future for their country."
"I went out my house & there were was pickup football game happening right in front of our house - there's a playground there - Maidoni Baziye Adfal"