"You're American!?" exclaimed Mohammedjon, a stocky, 50-something distributing prayer mats at Kokand's Norbutabiy Mosque. Mohammedjon hugged me and began to describe his love for Donald Rumsfeld: "The Taliban killed Uzbeks [in Afghanistan]. Locked them in shipping containers. Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of state [sic], a smart man, he saved our cousins. We love him. We love him so much. Uzbekistan loves Donald Rumsfeld."
Mohammedjon enquired about my family. We discussed American politics. Then he pulled a loop of black prayer beads from his pocket, stuffed them into my hand and wrapped me into another bear hug – declaring that I was welcome at the mosque, welcome in Uzbekistan, welcome to photograph anything.
Men play chess at Tashkent’s Chorsu Bazaar
On the Tashkent-Andijan train
A woman works a loom at a bag factory in Kokand
The Plov Center in Tashkent can feed hundreds at a time. A portion of this national dish costs around $2.
A soldier and friends take a selfie at the Karimov museum (“The Scientific and Enlightenment Memorial Complex Named after the First President of the Republic of Uzbekistan”) in Tashkent.
Russian-speaking tourists in Samarkand
Uzbek tourists from Fergana, a city in the Fergana Valley, at the Registan in Samarkand
Soldiers wait for a train in Tashkent
A woman prays at the tomb of Shad-i Mulk, the niece of Tamerlane, who died in the 1370s. The tomb is part of the Shah-i Zinda necropolis in Samarkand.
After Friday prayers in Kokand, men line up in two facing rows for a funeral.
Each takes a turn passing the casket to the cemetery.
A methane station between Jizzakh and Tashkent. Many cars are powered by methane, held in canisters in the trunk. Occasionally they explode. For safety, passengers are required to exit the car before it pulls into the station for a refill.
Students in the Fergana Valley town of Rishton
Students inside the Kukeldash Madrasah in Tashkent
A wedding in Rishton
The Rishton market
At Tamerlane’s mausoleum in Samarkand
Inside the Karimov museum
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor. Sign up for Eurasianet's free weekly newsletter.