• Old Dude seeing me on my phone: Why don't you read the news instead of tweeting and texting.
  • Me: I'm actually reading an article from The Economist on my phone about Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan's mock elections. What are your thoughts on the topic?
  • Old Dude taken aback: I don't know.
  • Me: Well then why don't you read the news instead of chastising teenagers on their phones?

The Registan was the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand of the Timurid dynasty, now in Uzbekistan. The name Rēgistan (ریگستان) means “Sandy place” or “desert” in Persian. 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.

Ulyosh is a Scientific Secretary for an art gallery in Uzbekistan. She was diagnose with tuberculosis (TB) in 2008 – her first day of treatment was on World TB Day. She was shocked when she found out what she thought was a common cold was actually TB. Treatment, luckily, was not difficult for her. She said, “from the very beginning, I told the disease: I will conquer you – you will not conquer me!”

TB is not only a physical condition, but it also takes a toll on one’s mental state. the side effects from treatment are extremely challenging to face, with a series of ups and downs. Sometimes it’s easy – sometimes, it’s very hard. This is where the mental challenges step in: trying to remain positive through adversity.

Ulyosh made it routine to drink lots of water and go for long walks. She also read literature on how to think positively and reach your goals in life. Although she went through many ups and downs in treatment, she realized that treatment is just a time in your life, it’s not forever. Unfortunately, her husband left her and her family was ashamed of her. Despite that, only her real friends stood by her side. She recounts that, “during the period, I found out who my real friends were.”

All illustrations © Ulyosh


Ceiling of the Museum of Applied Arts in Tashkent, Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, unknown photographer, source: Possibly the best-looking museum in Tashkent, the Museum of Applied Arts is situated in the former home of Imperial Russian diplomat Alexander Polovtsev. This museum is as popular for its setting as for its many beautiful exhibits. Polovtsev was an avid collector of handicrafts and his personal possessions still form the heart of the museum’s superb collection of decorative arts. Tsarist diplomat expressed his appreciation of Uzbek architecture by having his residence built by masters from Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Ferghana and Tashkent. He was transferred before completion in 1907, so never saw the finished courtyard of verandas and reception halls, vibrant with colour, ganch and wooden carving. The first public exhibition was held here in 1927, and it was classified as a national collection a decade later, source: