Silk Route Scouting Report – Bukara, Uzbekistan
After crossing the Tarakum desert (or at least the edge of it on paved – not very good – road) and passing over the Soviet-built 1,400km Karakum canal, I have arrived in Bukhara (or Boxara as the locals call it), Uzbekistan.
This morning, while walking from one amazing historical site to another, I noticed a lack of automobiles and wondered if Bukhara was having a car-free day. All the main roads were free of vehicles but full of policemen. Eventually, I was told that the Uzbeki Prime Minister was in town and to allow him to move from one point to another, the roads were closed to regular traffic. Most of you know how much I love automobiles so I did not complain!
Bukhara is full of big and small treasures and they certainly made the effort of getting here worthwhile.
Tomorrow, I am off to another famous landmark – Samarqand. My guidebook, in describing the city, quotes a traditional saying: “Samarqand is the beauty of the earth, but Bukhara is the beauty of the spirit.” However, in the next breath, it mentions that Armenius Vambery, (whoever he was), upon visiting the city in 1868. wrote that “Bukhara (is) the most shameless sink of inequity that I know in the east.”