Bukhara Uzbekistan

A visit to Bukhara
Bukhara Uzbekistan (Uzbek Latin: Buxoro; Uzbek Cyrillic and Tajik: Бухоро) Bukhara as an ancient city is a city-museum, with about 140 architectural monuments dating from the 9th to the 17th centuries. People have inhabited the region around Bukhara for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long served as a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. UNESCO has listed the historic center of Bukhara (which contains numerous mosques and madrassas) as a World Heritage Site.
I recently traveled the Stans with Road Scholar. If you would like to go to the Stans and travel that part of the the Silk Road I highly recommend them. Bukhara is an interesting city with a “Surprise Behind Every Corner”. We stayed near a bazaar in a caravanserai, and had great fun shopping and sightseeing. I will show pictures from our trip, and hopefully infect you with the desire to visit this amazing area.

 

Mir-i-Arab Madrassah in Buhkara UzbekistanKalon Minor
 Beautiful monuments,
Beautiful monuments, One of the Oldest is;
Kalyan minaret. More properly, Minâra-i Kalân, (Persian/Tajik for the “Grand Minaret”). Also known as the Tower of Death, as according to legend it is the site where criminals were executed by being thrown off the top for centuries. The minaret is most famed part of the ensemble, and dominates over historical center of the city. The role of the minaret is largely for traditional and decorative purposes—its dimension exceeds the bounds of the main function of the minaret, which is to provide a vantage point from which the muezzin can call out people to prayer. For this purpose it was enough to ascend to a roof of mosque. This practice was common in initial years of Islam. The word “minaret” derives from the Arabic word “minara” (“lighthouse”, or more literally “a place where something burn”). The architect, whose name was simply Bako, designed the minaret in the form of a circular-pillar brick tower, narrowing upwards. The diameter of the base is 9 meters (30 feet), while at the top it is 6 m (20 ft). The tower is 45.6 m (150 ft) high, and can be seen from vast distances over the flat plains of Central Asia. There is a brick spiral staircase that twists up inside around the pillar, leading to the landing in sixteen-arched rotunda and skylight, upon which is based a magnificently designed stalactite cornice (or “sharif”).
About a hundred years after its construction, the tower so impressed Genghis Khan that he ordered it to be spared when all around was destroyed by his men. It is also known as the Tower of Death, because until as recently as the early twentieth century criminals were executed by being thrown from the top. Fitzroy Maclean, who made a surreptitious visit to the city in 1938, says in his memoir Eastern Approaches, “For centuries before 1870, and again in the troubled years between 1917 and 1920, men were cast down to their death from the delicately ornamented gallery which crowns it.
Bakhautdin Naqshband Mausoleum
Camel in Front of Ark.Bolo Haouz Mosque Bukhara Uzbekistan UNESCO siteChor Minor MosqueStatue of Ulugh Beg
Ulugh Beg
Mīrzā Muhammad Tāraghay bin Shāhrukh better known as Ulugh Beg (الغ‌ بیگ ) was a Timurid ruler as well as an astronomer, mathematician and sultan. His commonly known name is not truly a personal name, but rather a moniker, which can be loosely translated as “Great Ruler”

On the Silk Road in Central Asia

“Two thousand years ago, caravans of pack animals and traders followed a route west from their home in China over the Steppe of Central Asia and into the fertile valleys of Europe, bringing with them silk, porcelain and spices. When adventurous Europeans traveled the Silk Road in the opposite direction, they came back with knowledge that changed the destiny of Western Civilization. Experience the history, culture and people that link the living cities and ancient ruins lining the Silk Road.”

The above is the introduction to the Program Summary by Road Scholar about a wonderful educational trip to the five “Stans”. Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

 

“In the heart of the Asian continent, where mighty conquerors and trading caravans once strode the Silk Road, the “seven Stans” weave a carpet of many colors. Prior to 1991 maps showed only Afghanistan and Pakistan. Then came the Soviet Union breakup and the birth of five new nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Today, these independent states continue to forge identities amid continuing conflicts.”
http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/seven-stans-photos

  • In the upcoming posts I will present photos taken on our recent trip “On the Silk Road in Central Asia”.
    Some years ago we traveled along the part of the Silk Road in China, perhaps a few of those pictures will also be featured.

 

  • In preparation for this trip I read many books, some Fiction, but mostly Nonfiction including: Raiders from the North by Alex Rutherford, Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan, by Hildi Kang, Shadow of the Silk Road Colin Thubron, Journeys on the Silk Road by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters, The Cancer Ward Alexander Sulzhenitsyn, The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk, The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. All were interestong because I hadn’t read much about the karea. If any of you are interested I would highly recommend the last two, amazing incites and history.
  • Before we left the States we were advised that the Stans produced beautiful Arts and Crafts. We were able to view and purchase examples of this in each country.
    A map of the Central Asia relates the potentially explosive region in which these Countries are located.
    http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/coast-countryside/guide-to-the-stans/viewgallery/965175

The Stans got their Independence from USSR two Decades ago and the path the countries have taken since the independence is somewhat different. For more reading check your local library.

Kyrgyzstan was the first Stan that we visited. A sign that I photographed in Bishkek impressed me–I have included it in this Introduction to the Silk Road series on my site.