Saturday – Bukhara

Yet another beautiful day and not so breezy as we set off on our second day of sightseeing in Bukhara.

First stop was the puppet maker. He was great and his puppets wonderful characters! They were very colourful papier mâché heads , hand painted with hand made clothes. Great fun!

It was then on to the fort or The Ark as it is known. The original building dates back to 400 AD and was the winter residence of the Emirs. It covers a huge area – 400 hectares and in its heyday housed 3,000 people. It must have been a town within a town!

As we approached it, the enormous sandstone walls gave the impression of enormous strength. They were not straight, but curved with large bulges equidistant around its perimeter. We accessed the building by a big front portal and enormous door that had a smaller door cut into it. There was then a curved passageway before daylight appeared again.

Although the whole building is not open to view, and in fact some is still just rubble, it was easy to see that the fort had been laid out in courtyards. It had a mosque, a harem and a large courtyard with a throne area at one end. This had a brick wall in front of the entrance to the courtyard at the opposite end to the throne. Apparently anyone approaching the Emir seated on his throne, would have to back, bowing to make their exit and the wall told them when they had to stop! Helpful or what?!

There were several rather dusty exhibition rooms, showing archaeological finds and also one with stuffed birds and animals that I didn’t go into, but Keith described as ‘self diminishing’. There were some very interesting other tourists there – elderly gentlemen with long coats and long beards and sparkly clad equally elderly ladies.

We adjourned from the Fort and visited an amazing photographer’s gallery. Some of his work was stunning – local scenes and people. It looked as though he ran classes in photography.

Next stop was the coffee shop for us. This was run by an energetic German lady, who made a lot of effort to entice us into cake eating! Keith succumbed to apple strudel – which seemed very fitting for the shop, but less fitting for the location ie Bukhara.

We headed back to the hotel for a siesta as neither of us felt 100%. It seems that gradually all of the group are succumbing to the maladies of travel gradually.

Keith joined the others for supper, but I abandoned ship for the day as I knew there was a long trip ahead to Khiva, the last of the Ubekistan Silk Road locations and another excitement for me with the thoughts it conjures up. I wanted to be in peak condition to appreciate it!

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