Waking up in İçərişəhər – Baku, Azerbaijan

Arriving in Baku, I would always come here first. Each time I would explore the maze of narrow sandstone streets within its walls, and walk past every little pale house – some empty, some with chattering coming from inside. I would drink sahlep on a low sofa at a cafe on Boyük Qala, while watching the street outside wake up; always climb up the Maiden Tower for a first sight of the Caspian Sea; always go into the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, to hear again the stories that Azerbaijan tells about itself. … More Waking up in İçərişəhər – Baku, Azerbaijan

Memories of Chorsu Bazaar – Tashkent, Uzbekistan

I dreamed of Uzbekistan for 12 years. Imagining being under an Uzbek sky – wandering through a market,  exploring, talking with people, taking their photograph, savouring every taste, sound and smell – became a preoccupation. Then it became an obsession: with each year that passed, overdrawn, tied to a different life, this journey seemed more impossible, until just the word ‘Uzbekistan’ made me upset. I gave up on my dream, and resigned myself to always feeling this way. … More Memories of Chorsu Bazaar – Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Kandalaksha – Russia’s Arctic North

A thousand miles from Moscow, a thousand kilometres from St. Petersburg, the Arctic town of Kandalaksha, on the frozen shores of the White Sea in Murmansk oblast’, is one of Russia’s most northerly communities. Founded 500 years ago as a fishing village, but with an aluminium smelter and locomotive depot giving the area an industrial purpose under the Soviet Union, Kandalaksha has been forgotten for the last twenty years. It is now only a dot on the vast Kola Peninsula – a 100,000 square kilometre expanse of pine forest between the White and Barents Seas. … More Kandalaksha – Russia’s Arctic North