Hi, friends!

My name is Cholpon. I grew up in a small town of Naryn in the south-eastern part of Kyrgyzstan. From the early ages my passion was to travel and discover new places. I enjoyed showing around to my friends and teachers who came from abroad to teach English. Further I entered the University to study linguistics but to connect my life with tourism it was not enough. Therefore I went through special courses of guiding by local mentors in Bishkek who run tourist agencies. This is how I got involved into this world of adventures and new experiences.
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Samarkand paper
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Samarkand paper

Samarkand paper production is one of the most ancient crafts preserved in Samarkand by masters who keep this tradition from their ancestors to their descendants. I happened to visit it during my second day of tour in Samarkand and was very satisfied to have not missed such an interesting visit. This unique workshop continues producing papers using the old technology like hundreds years ago. 

The old paper plant takes place in a small village named Konigil, near Samarkand. From the outside the plant looked like a regular village house, but with a delicate touch of ancient epoch. There was a small murmuring source of water running nearby giving the whole vision a cozy countryside look. Everything inside is decorated and constructed in ancient style that gives you a feeling that you are lost in those times. 

The owner eloquently tells the story of appearance and development of paper in Samarkand. The tradition starts out of need in the 7-8th centuries and this paper was famous all over the area. The technology is just the same as in those times. 

Papers are made of mulberry bark. First it must be cleaned and boiled in a large pan for a long time. Then it has to be beaten off in large stupas to make a homogeneous mass. Next, the resulting mass is placed in a tub of water, mixed and filtered it. The strained mass is pressed onto flazelin sheets for a while. Finally, the paper is removed from the sheets and dried for one day. To remove roughness and unevenness on paper, they polish it on a marble table with a piece of marble. This kind of paper becomes strong and smooth and serves for many years. 

Nowadays this paper is used for restorations of ancient manuscripts and important historical documents. It is interesting to see that some extraordinary things are made of this paper besides regular souvenirs like postcards, notebooks, masks. But they managed to make dresses, dolls and handbags out of paper! 

In general, if you have a tour in Samarkand, do not miss Konigil paper plant.

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