Day 83: A very nice place on the ancient Silk Road
Bukhara Travel Blog› entry 118 of 260 › view all entries
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Kevin (USA)
Bukhara (or Boxoro) was the capital of several successive dynasties until Jengiz Khan came (this is pretty much the same story for every major Silk Road city in this region). However, the city flourished again in the 16th century as both a major Islamic theological centre and as one of the major stops on the slowly declining Silk Road.
I spent the day wandering around the city, visiting the many medressas and mosques. It struck me that the architecture is basically Persian (Bukhara was considered an outpost of the Persian empire) but many of the buildings were more beautiful than the ones I had seen in Iran.
Apart from religious buildings Bukhara also sports a (largely ruined) citadel, or Ark.
I also had a nice stroll through the modern centre of Bukhara. Not that there is much to see there, but it was interesting to see how a modern Soviet city has been created less than 2 kilometres away from the historical centre, yet the historical centre remains very lively as well. Much different than Khiva in that respect.
I bumped into a huge group of French travellers. Group tourists? Here? I was impressed. It turned out they were a group of adventurers travelling by car from Paris to Beijing - and back! A trip that would take them just three months. That is a lot of driving, me thinks. They were all in their fifties and sixties, and they were all driving motor homes. 50 of them in total. Apart from guides and local fixers they also had mechanics and medical staff travelling with them as part of the crew. The organisers used to do these journeys with Citroen 2CVs, but they soon found that catering for the motor home audience is in fact much more lucrative.
Kevin and I met up for dinner again and for lack of any original ideas we had another great dinner at the same chaikhana at Lyabi-Hauz.