Friday 27 May 2023
Highlights: Sunrise over the Kyzylkum Desert, Exploring the Caravanserai Rabat-I-Malik, Exploring historic old sector of Bukhara
I woke up around 5 am in our Yurt after a mostly peaceful night sharing accomandation with 4 other tour members. The early morning meant I have time to get up and see the sunrise over the Kyzylkum Desert.
Breakfast was served around 7.30 am as we swapped stories of last night around signing and dancing under the stars. There was no shower this morning in this remote place, so we all had a small degree of sand and salt (from the lake yesterday) as we left our camp ground at 8.30 am on a bumpy and vert slow drive out of the desert.
On the road to Bukhara we stopped at the Caravanserai Rabat-I-Malik in Navoiy Province. A caravanserai was accomandations setup along the Silk Road around the 11th century that were usually around 50 kms apart from each other. A trading group, which could be made up of 3,000 camels, could usually travel 10 kms a day so every 5th day they could stop at a place like this for a few days of rest, trading and refreshing time for themselves and their carmels.
A caravanserai would normally have a Sardaba, a cold cellar with water, nearby. We got to explore a rare sardaba that is still standing even if it isn’t really working anymore.
We arrived in Bukhara around 2 pm and checked into our hotel in the historic sector of the city. After some much needed showers and some hours rest we headed out to explore a little of the anicent city.
After only a few minutes walk our first stop was at the Nadir Divan-begi madrasah built in 1622 and the nearby Hodja Nasruddin Memorial statue which celebrates a local character who underplayed his intelligence and helped the poor.
Nearby to here was the beautiful Lyabi Hauz Pool which was created to help provide fresh clean and free water to residents in a city that gets extremely hot in summer and really most of the year.
We then visited a Master Puppet workshop to see how local puppet are made and were provided with a short demonstration of a puppet show. Glen and Bruce from our group found look a like puppets 🙂
Next up was a visit to the historic Jewish centre and a labyrinth of laneways. There are only around 200 Jewish families left in the area but we had a breif look at the Bukhara Synagogue and visited an old Jewish House that is now used as a resturant but gave us a good idea of construction from the 16th century.
We then walked to the Magoki Attor, or the “Pit of Herbalists”, recent research has found that in the past this was a Buddhist shrine, and from the 5th century a Zoroastrian fire temple, later used for Jewish ceremonies and finally as a mosque. The “pit” where the mosque stands is in fact the old actual street level of 12th century Bukhara.
From here is was time to explore various merchants which included miniature paintings and a metal crafts maker along with silk and other clothes makers.
We then stopped at two Madrasas (old school places of education) in Madrasa Abdul Aziz Khan and Mirzo Ulugbek Madrasa. Fabolous buildings.
Our last historic site for the day was Kalyan square which contains the Mir-I-Arab Madrasa, the Kalyan Mosque and the massive Kalyan Minaret which stands at 45.6 metres high. A very impressive complex.
From here we finished out the night having dinner in an old Jewish house now converted to a local resturarant.