Bukhara is Central Asia’s holiest city and has buildings spanning around 1000 years. Most of the Centre is an architectural preserve, full of madrases, minarets, a massive royal fortress and remnants of a once massive market complex. Where we dined last night, the Lyabi-Huaz plaza, is one remaining pool area shaded by mulberry trees of a past complex of hundreds of shaded areas where people congregated, discussed daily life, children played and everyone sipped tea. Because the water was not changed often in the past, Bukhara gained a reputation as a plague city.

It is easy to see the sights as they are close together. You wander through some of the old bazaar halls between one area and the other. The cool shade is welcoming.

The Kalon Minaret, built in 1127, once once Central Asia’s tallest building. It is 47m tall with 10m foundations (including reeds stacked underneath in an early form of earthquake proofing). When the Mongols invaded Bukhara, Chinggis Khan was so dumbfounded by the building, he ordered it spared. Next to the Kalon tower is the Kalon mosque, built in the 16th century on the site where Chinggis Khan destroyed the earlier mosque.

Further on to this is “The Ark”. a royal town within a town. It is Bukhara’s oldest structure, occupied from the 5th century right up to 1920 when the Russian army bombed it. The walls are massive and awe inspiring. The Emir who lived here ruled the Uzbek empire. A few remnants of the royal sections remain including the reception hall which has an amazing coloured ceiling.

Returning to our hotel, I spotted a Mongol Rally car. The other rally group heading in our direction.

Off to Samarkand! Hope the roads are better!

C-YA Andrew and Jeff

Andrew Bochenek
Mongolia Charity Rally 2015

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