Bukhara

2009/07/19-24

Entrance to the Emir’s Palace

The old city of Bukhara is an organic maze of lanes and paths, and at every turn you get a new vista of 12-18th century buildings. At the edge of the old city is the Emir’s palace surrounded by an impressive wall. But not much remains inside because it was heavily aerially bombarded by the Red (Bolshevik) Army in 1920. Like in Samarkand, the water and electricity are often off! Unlike Samarkand, the old city and the historic monuments are intertwined and the area has lively stalls selling mainly locally produced fabrics, carpets, and pottery. There are several large stone pools in the old city with places to sit and eat adjacent to them. These combined with a stiff northerly breeze (a new phenomenon due to the diminished Aral Sea) makes it possible to be out, even in the heat of the day if necessary.

It is hot! So we go out in the early morning and late afternoon. It is not high tourist season here, that is in the spring and fall, I am told September/October is the best time to be here.

Unfortunately we have both got a stomach bug again and have spent much time on the toilet… not pleasant when the water is off! I spent one day in bed while Margo looked after me, now the roles are reversed.

By choosing to cycle from Bangkok to Europe we do not always get the optimum weather, some bike tourers move around between areas by public transport to better optimise their time, and I wonder if they do not have the best mode of operation. As it happens, we are forced for visa reasons to take a vehicle through Turkmenistan, thus missing the worst of the mid-summer desert cycling. There is some desert in Azerbaijan(~100km) but we will soon be in the high plains of Turkey or on a boat across the Black Sea.

Detail of ceiling of dome

C

One response to “Bukhara

  1. The 'Sultans Palace' is somehow misleading.
    The official title of the Bukhara ruler was Emir, not Sultan. See f.ex.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirate_of_Bukhara

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