Tag Archives: Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan Round Up

We really enjoyed Uzbekistan. The people are warm and generous, the food and fresh produce is amazing, and the sights, oh, the sights..

What photo takes you right back to Uzbekistan?

Early morning at the Registan

Jo, Julie and I enjoying the early morning Registan in Samarkand all to ourselves

The Registan in Samarkand – the sight that put Uzbekistan on our radar was even better in real life.

Summarise Uzbekistan in three words.

  • Wow – First said out loud when we walked through the back streets of Tashkent’s Old Town which abruptly opens up into Khast Imom Square, it became synonymous with Uzbekistan
  • Turquoise – Not only the beautiful tilework on the mosques, minarets and medressas, but we were blessed with fantastic weather too
  • Welcoming – We were a little apprehensive of our reception before we arrived in Uzbekistan, as some other travellers experiences included overcharging, but to our delight we found it was quite the opposite – everyone we met was friendly, curious and were happy for us to take their photo. We were also given more fruit than we could carry in the Fergana market!

You really know you’re in Uzbekistan when…

… the £20 you’re carrying for your daily budget won’t fit in your wallet and you’re paying for everything in notes worth 20p!

$100 US Dollars exchanged  on the black market to 300,000 Uzbek Som!

$100 US Dollars exchanged on the black market to 300,000 Uzbek Som!

What one item should you definitely pack when going to Uzbekistan?

Lip balm. Uzbekistan is a desert country which means everything dries pretty quickly. Great for clothes, not so great for health, especially around the Aral Sea where the climate is not only dusty but salty too.

Food of Uzbekistan

We weren’t expecting much from Uzbekistan’s cuisine, fearing that it might be a little like Mongolian food, and although there is a resemblance we found it to be more vegetable oriented, and tasty if similarly heavy on the mutton. That said, most local restaurants seem to have pretty much the same menu and some days we felt like we were eating the same thing again and again.

Uzbek foods listAt the Fayzulla Khojaev House Museum in Bukhara there was an interesting kitchen exhibit including a list of national dishes by season


The ubiquitous round breads called ‘non’ smell incredible and when fresh you don’t need anything with them (though a smear of butter is not a bad thing). They’re served with every meal and are especially good for mopping up the sauce from a soup or stew. We found that there were small variations in every city we visited, for example, in Bukhara they seemed particularly thick and dense, whilst in Khiva they were almost flat, all crust and very little middle.

Pram trollies of bread at Chorsu BazaarPram trollies of bread for sale in Tashkent’s Chorsu Bazaar


Plov is the national dish of Uzbekistan. Basically it is mutton cooked with rice and shredded vegetables (chickpeas and raisins sometimes feature too). There are slight variations around the country, my favourite was the Bukhara version with lots of juicy plumped up raisins, but the Fergana version with brown rice was good too. It’s usually eaten at lunchtime and is cooked and served from massive cauldrons especially around the town’s market.

PlovPlov for lunch, served with bread, tomato salad and tea


‘Salad’ is offered with every meal and the most basic version consists of chopped tomatoes, cucumber and onions liberally sprinkled with dill. In any restaurant fancier than a hole-in-the-wall cafe there were a selection of tasty and interesting salads to choose from, from stuffed slices of fried aubergine to pickled carrots to mayonnaise heavy chopped salads. Tomatoes and cucumbers must have been in season when we visited as the markets were full of perfectly ripe piles of them, we used them as an easy, healthy and cheap addition to a picnic lunch.

Uzbek saladsUzbek salads and piles of delicious juicy tomatoes in the bazaar


Somsas are basically Uzbek pasties. Although the name comes from the same root as the Indian samosa they are baked not fried. They became our go-to lunch snack with tomatoes and cucumbers on the side. The filling was most often meat and onions but we also had a potato version and a delicious pumpkin version in Samarkand.



Finding a shashlik stand is easy, not only is it one of the most commonly available street foods, but the smoke and the aroma waft down the street. It is grilled kebabs of meat and occasionally vegetables, especially tomatoes and green peppers. The meat can be chunks of beef or mutton, or mince pressed around the skewer. They are served with a big plate of raw onion which we usually didn’t touch.


Doner kebab

The other kind of kebab, doner kebab, is chicken or beef stacked up into a huge pillar and cooked next to a vertical grill with the outer layers being carved off as they cook. It was possible to get the meat in various kinds of bread but our favourite way was rolled with salad, mayonnaise and ketchup in a huge flatbread called lavash and warmed in a sandwich toasting grill. Yum.

Doner kebab lavashOur favourite doner kebab stand in Chorsu Bazaar, Tashkent


Laghman is a hearty noodle soup with meat and vegetables and became a firm favourite of ours. The noodles are somewhere between Japanese udon and Italian linguine, and the broth is meaty and flavourful. We also had a dry version where the noodles were fried with the meat and vegetables.

Laghman noodle soup

Soups and stews

Laghman was what we found most often but we had a variety of other soups and stews as well.

Uzbek soups and stewsClockwise from top left: beef with vegetables; shurpa (soup) was like laghman without the noodles; shivut oshi is mutton served on dill noodles, a specialty in Khiva; ‘bivstroganof’ was a slightly greasy potato and meat dish


Cold noodles mixed with horse meat and heavily seasoned with salt and pepper. Much tastier than it sounds!



When I did a bit of online research about these I found that the name usually refers to a Russian or Ukrainian dish of cabbage leaves stuffed with seasoned mince and rice. The Uzbekistan spin seems to be to use green peppers instead of the cabbage. They were sometimes served in a soup and it was a nice change to have the vegetable as the central part of the meal (although obviously they’re not vegetarian).



Uzbekistan’s very sunny summers produce some incredibly good fruit. We had unbelievably sweet and juicy melons, peaches and grapes and they were very cheap – a whole melon cost only £0.40! Dried fruit such as apricots and raisins were good for snacks.

MelonsMelons for sale at a market on the road between Tashkent and Fergana


In Uzbekistan, drinks can be divided into three categories:

  • Tea – the drink of choice, made from loose leaves and about a 50:50 split between green and black tea
  • Teapot

  • Soft drinks – on our first afternoon in Tashkent (actually on the way to our guesthouse from the airport) we spotted a familiar looking bright yellow drinks wagon by the side of the road. When we realised it was the rye bread drink, Kvas, which we’d first enjoyed in Sergiev Posad in Russia, we immediately bought a bottle. As well as Kvas, a fruit based drink called Mors is also popular and sold from the same kind of wagons
  • Kvas wagon

  • Alcohol – although Uzbekistan is a Muslim country, there was no stigma attached to drinking alcohol. Beer was our most common choice but we tried the local vodka and wine too – even doing a wine tasting in Samarkand.

Fergana, Uzbekistan

The Fergana valley is the easternmost part of Uzbekistan. It is incredibly rich and fertile farmland and has the highest proportion of ethnic Uzbeks in the country. As we travelled around Uzbekistan we met lots of friendly people and it seemed that, disproportionately, when we asked them where they were from they mentioned one of the cities in the Fergana valley. It is perhaps unsurprising then that here we were overwhelmed by meeting some the most friendly, generous and hospitable people in Uzbekistan – a country that overall we’ve found to be incredibly welcoming!

Mountain pass between Tashkent and FerganaThe beautiful view from the mountain pass between Tashkent and Fergana

To get to Fergana from Nukus in the far west of the country where our trip to the Aral Sea ended, we needed to go via Tashkent. It’s possible to fly, but we had time and a hankering for the Russian trains that we had experienced over a year earlier near the beginning of this trip so we bought tickets for the overnight train to the capital and were excited to find out that it originated in Saint Petersburg!

Sleeper train from Nukus to TashkentHappy to be back in a Russian train

The railways were built during Soviet times and much of the rolling stock dates from that period so it was very similar to how we remembered except that this time the carriage seemed to be full of Uzbeks who’d been shopping in Russia. The guy across the way from us was sharing his bunk with two huge TV sets, and one couple had boxes and boxes of stuff, far more than they could carry.

Full bunkSharing a bunk with two brand new TVs – one propped in front of the window and one taped to the bunk above!

After an overnight stay in Tashkent, we then had to navigate the journey to Fergana which turned out to be a bit of a marathon. First we had to get a mashrutka, or minibus, from Chorsu Bazaar, near our guesthouse, to Kuyluk Bazaar, 20km outside the city, where the shared taxis to the eastern cities congregate. Then we had to find the shared taxis to Fergana (harder than we’d expected), negotiate a price for the trip and wait in a swelteringly hot car while the driver rustled up passengers for the other seats (that’s the shared bit; buses are not permitted on the mountain roads so regular cars are used to move people back and forth).

Surrounded by taxi drivers at Kuyluk BazaarAndrew surrounded by taxi drivers at Kuyluk Bazaar, at this point we were trying to work out where the shared taxis left from

Eventually we set off, Andrew quickly made friends with the guy sitting next to him, chatting in a combination of broken Russian, broken English, sign language and diagrams. There were numerous stops; we were given a yoghurt drink to try, bought bread from what appeared to be a bread and melon market beside the highway in the middle of nowhere, and met a group of Spanish construction workers at a truck stop ruing the food they had to put up with while working on a new road in the mountains. At the final stop before we reached Fergana city, the driver took us through his home town of Oltiarik where we met his grape farmer friend who cut three massive bunches of grapes straight from the vines and presented them to us. Wow, what a journey!

Journey from Tashkent to FerganaShared taxi from Tashkent to Fergana (clockwise from top left): Julie trying a local yoghurt drink; view of the mountains we had to cross; we bought delicious bread from this lady; grape farmers with just one of the three bunches they gave to us

We arrived in Fergana quite late in the afternoon and worn out from all the travelling so we decided to take it easy on the following day. We had a lie-in, ate some of our mountain of grapes for breakfast and then set off to the bazaar to have a look around. It was an interesting place, stuffed with tons of fresh produce as you would expect for a farming area in September.

Fergana BazaarFergana Bazaar (clockwise from top left): butcher in the open air; girls selling carrots; huge pumpkins; this cobbler glued the soles of my sandals back together and refused payment

Just as we were trying to work out where to eat lunch, we were approached by a local man. His name was Habib and, during the usual chit-chat, we found out that he learnt his excellent English while working in London for a while before returning home to open a pharmacy and a cafe. He found out that we wanted to try the local plov as we’d been told that Fergana’s version of the national dish was especially good and he set off with us in tow eager that we should only try the best. We were a bit worried that we were messing up his plans for the day but by now we’ve learnt that in these situations we just have to submit. After trying several places and asking advice from a number of locals he settled on a particular restaurant before joining us and paying for our meal! After eating, we assured him that we could manage to make a few purchases in the market without help, and he left us with his phone number and directions to his cafe in case we needed anything.

Fergana plovFergana’s version of plov is made with brown rice

Dust storm in Fergana BazaarAfter lunch we’d intended to explore some more but unfortunately the wind picked up causing a dust storm in the centre of town so we retreated back to our guesthouse

The next morning, we took the bus to the nearby town of Margilon which is the centre of silk production in Uzbekistan, the 3rd largest silk producer in the world. The Lonely Planet informed us that the Kumtepa Bazaar which runs only on Sundays and Thursdays was a good place to get a local vibe and see the silk being sold by the metre. I’m not sure quite what we expected but it certainly wasn’t the massive hive of activity selling everything from leather boots to car tyres to melons that we found.

Melon seller at Margilon BazaarMelon sellers line the approach road to Kumtepa Bazaar

Before we ventured into the market proper we wandered along the roadside. Firstly because as the minivan had passed we’d seen mountains of melons for sale from the boots of cars and we wanted a closer look, and second because we’d spotted some seriously heavily loaded cars and thought we might find a good vantage point to take some photographs. Most of the cars in Uzbekistan are either small Daewoo Matiz or a Chevrolet saloon model called Nexia, but whenever we’ve seen a car with a heavy load it has always been an old Soviet model, usually a Lada. Here was no exception with massive loads of furniture balanced precariously atop and in the boot.

Laden ladasLaden ladas outside Kumtepa Bazaar

Margilon bakerThis baker beckoned us into his shop and we watched enthralled as he shaped and baked the bread – you can just see the loaves stuck to the inside of the oven in the background

Finally we entered the central market area. I don’t think too many tourists get out this way because, like the markets that we visited in Bangladesh, people were extremely curious, chatty and welcoming. Like Bangladesh, Uzbekistan is a Muslim country and, in the traditional Muslim culture, it’s not unusual for men to direct all questions to Andrew, want their photo with him and not even shake my hand; all done with extreme respect and courtesy, and occasionally advantageous as while I’m being ignored I can be taking photos of interesting stuff, but still it’s a bit tiresome after a while. In Margilon there were at least as many women vendors as men and probably more women customers and so I got a lot of interest and interaction too.

Funny hat lady at Margilon BazaarJulie sharing a joke with the ladies at the entrance to the bazaar. They were selling the traditional hats called Tubeteika or Duppi so of course I had to try one too!

Silk vendor at Margilon BazaarThere were just a few aisles dedicated to the silk but it was spectacularly beautiful

Leather bootsStalls are grouped by the type of goods being sold. One of the first sections that we walked through was selling leather boots

Tyres at Margilon BazaarWe though we had reached the edge of the bazaar when we rounded a corner to find a huge area devoted to tyres and other spare parts for cars

Old lady at Margilon BazaarThis lady asked me to take her picture then Andrew made her laugh

Carpets at Margilon BazaarThere was a big area behind the main market selling the furniture that we’d seen loaded onto cars at the front. Inside we found a carpet section to complete the home decoration.

Having reached the farthest end of the bazaar, we spotted a kebab stand and took a seat set back out of the way for a bite of lunch when a man saw us, stepped into the cafe, smiled and said ‘Samarkand’, remarkably he was one of the friendly local tourists we’d met at Shah-i-Zinda in Samarkand. Excitedly he pulled up a photo of him and his friend with Andrew on his phone while I found the corresponding shot on my camera! Crazy that we could come halfway across the country and meet again by chance. We took another photo to prove the coincidence and turned down his kind offers to take us to his house for food.

Fergana guyAt Shah-i-Zinda in Samarkand above, and below at Kumtepa Bazaar in Margilon

We agreed that Kumtepa Bazaar was one of the friendliest and most interesting markets we’ve ever been to, and well worth the long trip from Tashkent.

Tour to the Aral Sea

As well as being well worth a visit for the excellent Savitsky Museum, Nukus is the jumping off point for tours to what remains of the southern Aral Sea. We booked through the Jipek Joli Hotel and they were able to match us up with another couple of travellers to share the cost of the car and driver.

Aral Sea tour groupAndrew, Julie, our driver (who Andrew nicknamed Arnie), Tahir and Yin Yee beside our trusty 4×4

The first stop on the tour was just 13km west of Nukus at the Mizdahkan Necropolis which has been used as a burial ground since the 2nd century BCE when the area was the site of a large city. The city was destroyed by Chinggis Khan in the 13th century but burials have continued to the present day. We’d already visited with Jo and seen many of the older and more impressive tombs on the hill top so this time we struck off in a different direction and were surprised to discover some graves marked with Orthodox crosses amongst the much more common Muslim crescent moons.

Mizdahkan NecropolisThe Mizdahkan Necropolis stretches across two hills and contains thousands of graves

On our first visit we were given some information by the site’s caretaker delivered in a very inventive display of charades once he realised we don’t speak Russian. His miming of a camel definitely sticks out, but in reality we probably got a lot of the words without necessarily understanding the complexities of the history he was explaining.

Interior of Mazlum Sulu Khan MausoleumInterior of the Mazlum Sulu Khan Mausoleum, a restored subterranean tomb dating from the late 12th century

We noticed that a lot of the graves looked as if they were collapsed or opened up. We speculated that perhaps bodies were removed after a time and spent a lot of time peering down to see if we could get any clues. We later found out that the collapse is a natural settling of the earth over the reeds which are laid above the body so it’s surprising (and lucky!) that we didn’t see any skeletons…

Mizdahkan Necropolis detailsMizdahkan Necropolis (clockwise from top left): Jo at the entrance to the Mazar of Shamun Nabi; plastic flowers and crescent moons decorate many of the graves; collapsed grave; gravestone with Orthodox cross

An hour or so after getting back into the car we stopped for lunch and met up with the passengers of the other car doing the tour on that day – three Swedish men who do a trip each year with the theme of disasters (last year they visited Chernobyl!), and their local guide. Not long after lunch the surfaced road turned into dirt track, reminding us of the tours we did into the Mongolian countryside.

Driving over the Ustyurt PlateauBumping over dirt tracks on the Ustyurt Plateau

For the rest of the afternoon we drove over the Ustyurt Plateau, the raised landform which divides the basins of the Caspian and Aral Seas. This was itself once under an ocean and we found shells amongst the strange scrubby desert plants.

At the edge of the Ustyurt Plateau Us at the edge of the Ustyurt Plateau

Just off the Ustyurt Plateau lies Lake Sudochie and beside it an abandoned fishing village. The guide told us that this lake was once part of the Aral Sea and, although it had also dried up in the past, it has been artificially recreated by feeding it with a canal from the Amudarya River. It is home to a surprising number of birds, though we couldn’t get a good look at them as we didn’t have any binoculars with us.

Lake Sudochie panoramaLake Sudochie

Abandoned fishing village beside Lake SudochieThe mud walls of an abandoned fishing village beside Lake Sudochie

The Aral Sea was fed by two rivers, the Amudarya in the south and the Syrdarya in the north. In the middle of the 20th century, the Soviet Union decided that the Central Asian area would produce all of the cotton required for the whole of the USSR. As cotton is a very thirsty crop, and the Central Asian deserts and plains are not naturally a particularly wet place, hundreds of kilometres of irrigation channels were constructed to water the plants from the two rivers. Due to evaporation and leakage, these canals were extremely inefficient and up to 75% of the diverted water was being lost. Directly because of this, the Aral Sea, which was once the 4th largest saline lake in the world started to shrink. We arrived at the western shore of the remaining lake just as the sun was starting to go down.

Local men rest on the cliff above the Aral Sea's western shoreLocal men take a rest overlooking the remains of the Aral Sea

As a testament to how fast the lake is shrinking, our guide told us that just two years ago it wasn’t possible to see the other side of the lake, now we could see the yellow line of the shore along the horizon. Those willing to brave the cold, including Andrew, went for a dip in the salty water. As the water’s volume shrinks, the salt becomes more concentrated and currently the Aral Sea has about 150g salt per litre compared to 40g in the Pacific Ocean. This high level of salinity gives you extra buoyancy and it is possible to float with your arms and legs sticking right out of the water.

Floating in the Aral SeaAndrew floating in the Aral Sea

That night we slept in tents a little way from the lake’s shore. Our driver cooked us a dinner of plov over a campfire while we marvelled at the pitch black sky and the huge number of stars.

Milky Way near the Aral SeaThe Milky Way stretching across the sky over our campsite

We struggled to get the zipper on our tent to open and close without the zip splitting, but eventually we were both inside and settled into our sleeping bags. Predictably, I found it quite cold during the night while Andrew thought the temperature was verging on too warm. This despite the fact that I had on my fleecy hat, long-sleeved T-shirt, leggings and socks while he was just in shorts…

Sunrise over the Aral SeaWe woke just after 6am to watch a beautiful red sunrise over the lake

After a breakfast of bread, cheese and salami we set off in the cars, at first driving over the Ustyurt Plateau again, where we stopped to see some old gravestones from Kazakh tribes, before descending onto what was once the seabed and driving towards Moynoq.

Kazakh tribal gravestonesKazakh tribe gravestones from the 16th century

Descending from the Ustyurt Plateau to the former seabedDescending from the Ustyurt Plateau to the former seabed

50 years ago, Moynoq was a thriving fishing town producing 20 million cans of fish per year. Nowadays, it is over 150km from the edge of the Aral Sea. It’s all very well seeing pictures and hearing stories of the lake’s demise but I didn’t really understand it until we’d driven for an entire morning from the edge of the lake to a town which used to be on the lakeside.

Shrinking Aral SeaSatellite photos documenting the shrinking Aral Sea (from top): 1960, 1970, 1990, 2000, 2009

The most stark reminder of the Aral Sea at Moynoq is a ships’ graveyard. While most of the former fishing fleet has been dismantled for scrap, a few boats have been left to rust in the desert as a reminder of the former industry. To see the rusting ships and look into the distance across miles and miles of desert was incredibly poignant.

Ships' graveyard at MoynoqShips’ graveyard at Moynoq

Unfortunately, the effects of this man-made disaster are even more serious than the loss of livelihood for the area. Climactically, the sea used to have a moderating effect meaning that summers are now much hotter and winters much colder. Winds whip up dust storms containing a mixture of salt and sand and depositing them in the atmosphere resulting in accelerated glacier melt on nearby mountains, and serious health impacts for local residents, including respiratory diseases.

Rusting ship in Moynoq

In Kazakhstan, where the northern part of the Aral Sea is situated, work has been done to reverse the sea’s shrinkage with significant success and positive impacts to both local people and the environment. Unfortunately, the Uzbekistan government seems more interested in extracting gas from the seabed than seeing it again covered in water and sadly it is likely that it won’t be many years until nothing more is left of the southern Aral Sea.

Drilling for gas in the Aral seabedGas drilling rigs as we crossed the former Aral seabed

Much of the information I have used about the Aral Sea’s history comes from this excellent article. I highly recommend a read if you’re interested in an in-depth analysis of the impact (thanks to Jo for sharing the link with us).

Savitsky Museum, Nukus, Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan

“Le Louvre des steppes”Télérama Magazine

“One of the most outstanding museums of the world”The Guardian

A large part of north-western Uzbekistan is actually an autonomous region called Karakalpakstan. Mostly desert, and once a part of Kazakhstan, this dusty, barren landscape hit the limelight in 1998 when the New York Times published an article about an art museum with a story just as amazing as its collection.

The Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art

The Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art today. Created and curated by Igor Savitsky, it’s also known as the Nukus Museum or simply the Savitsky Musuem

Igor Savitsky (1915 - 1984)

Igor Savitsky (1915 – 1984)

Igor Savitsky (1915 – 1984), an artist himself, escaped persecution at the start of the Soviet Revolution by training as an electrician, afterwards dedicating his life to the preservation of cultural artefacts of the Kazakh and Uzbek peoples, and later the works of Russian artists who fell foul of the Soviet Union’s changing tastes during the 1930s and 40s.

Not long after the New York Times article, Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev, a couple of independent film makers who were wrapping up another project in Tashkent, heard about the Savitsky museum and decided to make a documentary about it. In 2011 they released “The Desert of Forbidden Art.”

After watching the film, we were keen to show our support for the work of the museum in its preservation of the 90,000-odd works Savitsky was able to collect. We booked a 1 hour guided tour which took in the 2 floors of the main museum building.

The 2nd floor of the main building - all available space is used for display

The 2nd floor of the main building – all available space is used for display

Starting with the ethnic collection of traditional costumes, our guide Ays explained details of the ceremonies, the jewellery involved, and the embroidery skills used to make the decorations for the traditional nomadic Karakalpak home, the yurt.

Karakalpak women in their traditional wedding outfits

Karakalpak women in their traditional wedding outfits

A small corner of the Applied Arts exhibit at the Savitsky museum

A small corner of the Applied Arts exhibit at the Savitsky museum

Ays, our guide, explaining about the central chest of the museum's 6-wall yurt. The photo is of Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov with the current Director of the museum, Marinika Babanazarova

Ays, our guide, explaining about the central chest of the museum’s 6-wall yurt. The photo is of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov with the current Director of the museum, Marinika Babanazarova

The 1st floor also contains of section of works by Karakalpak artists

The 1st floor also contains of section of works by Karakalpak artists

But it was the entirety of the second floor that we’d really come to see, and Ays deftly switched to retell the history of each artist on display and the significance of their works exhibited.

"The Bull" by Yevgeny Lysenko (1923) has become the signature piece of the museum

“The Bull” by Yevgeny Lysenko (1923) has become the signature piece of the museum

"Dyers" by E.L. Korovay (1931-32) one of my favourites from the collection on display

“Dyers” by E.L. Korovay (1931-32) one of my favourites from the collection on display

The collection also contains sculptures. "Composition 'Balcony'" by V.S.Kalinichev

The collection also contains sculptures. “Composition ‘Balcony'” by V.S.Kalinichev

"The Araba Cart" by A.N.Volkov (1924)

“The Araba Cart” by A.N.Volkov (1924)

If this museum or its collection were pretty much anywhere else in the world, it would be full of visitors, but on the Sunday we were there, we counted 5 other visitors over 3 immeasurably enjoyable hours.

We were pleased to find that the museum is now in a better state of repair than was depicted in the film, and that there are two new buildings under construction on the site, one specifically for preservation and restoration. With a completion date of late 2016 this is one museum we’ll hopefully be back to see in a few years time.