Bukhara is the destination of this edition of Uzbek Life. Euronews’ intrepid adventurer Galina Polonskaya took a camel ride around some of the ancient city’s sites to get a flavour of its charms. e.
“Bukhara is more than 2,500 years old. In the Silk Road days long caravans came here from all over the known world, the legends of the magic oasis hidden between two deserts spread from India to China, and nowadays Bukhara can still win the heart of the most seasoned traveller.” Galina said, gripping tightly to the reins.
Bukhara is a city of wonders, and its merchants are enchanting. They welcome guests in exactly the same place that their forefathers did – under the ancient trading domes and in the surrounding streets. They have inherited the gift of a an outstanding capacity for foreign languages.
“You can still sense Bukhara’s atmosphere and its colours, when this ancient city was a big trading centre on the Silk Road”, said tour guide Mubashira Bahshilova. “Even today under those domes they still sell what was brought here hundreds of years ago, as well as the typical locally handmade goods.”
The Kalyan minaret is one of Bukhara’s most iconic symbols. For a long time it was the highest in Central Asia. It was also a lighthouse and at night torches would burn, lighting the way for caravans approaching the town.
Bukhara’s historic centre is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. One highlight is the mausoleum of the Samanid dynasty, built in the 10th century. It changes colour with the weather. Experts say the secret is in the special brickwork.
Mubashira Bahshilova explains: “The architect who created this mausoleum had 18 ways of laying the bricks. If you take a close look you’ll see each surface has 10 windows. Every window has its own decoration. So the windows on each front are different”.
The great polymath Avicenne was born in a village close to Bukhara, when it was still the capital of the Samanids. The author of “The Canon of Medicine” often came to the Emir’s residence, the Ark fortress, which has been destroyed and rebuilt repeatedly throughout history.
Galina Polonskaya says: “When Avicenne was 17 years old he healed an emir who was thought to be dying. The doctor didn’t want to be rewarded with gold. Instead, he asked for permanent access to the fortress’s library and its treasures.