Saturday, July 23, 2011

Assalomu Alaykum from Bukhara

Here is am in Bukhara. I arrived yesterday afternoon after a pleasant train ride (first class really is the way to go on Uzbek trains). The AC was working, i had two seats to myself, we were only 1.5 hours behind schedule, and i spent the ride chatting with a British girl also traveling around Uzbekistan.

My hotel, the Komil Hotel, is perfect. It is in a 18th or 19th C home that is beautifully decorated and adorned with details carvings and design. The courtyard, breakfast room, and my own room are all like small, exotic palaces.
Bukhara is slightly more compact that Samarkand, and while Samarkand may have overall the more breath taking monuments, Bukhara is by far the lovelier city. Bukhara has not been restored and modernized the way much of Samarkand has. Its main streets are still an ancient feeling warren of dusty roads, sandy buildings and covered bazaars. At the centre of the town is Lyabi-Hauz, a plaza built around a pool, surrounded by giant  mulberry trees and with stunning medrassas on either side - all dating back about 500 or 600 years. There is a pleasant poolside restaurant (where i ate last night and fed many hungry cats), and lots of inviting shops selling carpets and scarves and whatnot all around.

The monuments here are less tiled and colorful, and more the color of the desert,  which means that wherever an azure dome appears it is astonishing. My favorite site so far though is the Kalon Minaret. It is 900 years old, about 50 meters tall and covered in rings of varying design. It is so enormous and so precise, that it is truly stunning. (Also, i like that at one point in history they used to put alleged criminals in sacks and thrown them from the top of the minaret to the ground in front of approving crowds. (This is why it is also known as the "Death Minaret".)

So today i wandered, visiting the usual sights (mosques, medrassas, bazaars, and a fortress). I has some wonderful tea and a strange stroll through a very ghetto Uzbek "carnival". It basically consisted of four rickety soviet-era rides, an ice cream stand and the world's most depressing zoo. The zoo was a collection of trailers painted with pictures of men shooting animals, depicted with bloody bullet holes. In side, there were a few fowl and about 4 or 5 canine looking creatures miserably chained to posts or in cages. I didn't go in.

I like it here. It is very relaxing and pleasant. Tomorrow i will hang out (I actually saw most of the sights i wanted to see today).  The day after tomorrow i set out in to the desert for my camel adventure.


1 comment:

luba said...

Hello. Love your posts and you.