Last night before bed I went for a walk back to the famous minaret I’m so interested in because they also used it to execute people so I could see it at night. I had seen pictures of it lit up and wanted to see it for myself. It’s beautiful at night.
We woke up this morning and had breakfast here at the hotel. Here’s the spread the hotel has out for us each morning. This is just for us. It’s our table. They will also make us omelets and specialty coffees if we want.
Today was our day to see all the final places on our list for Bukhara, all the out-of-town things we needed a taxi for. We asked the front desk if they could arrange a ride for us and they were happy to accommodate us. They found us a nice car, well, a white Chevrolet, with air conditioning. The guy spoke English and that was a huge bonus. There’s extraordinarily little English in Uzbekistan.
The one major complaint we had about him was he made us feel rushed all day. We paid him a perfectly decent amount of money to take us everywhere we wanted to go. But, as soon as we would arrive somewhere he was like okay you’ve seen it now let’s go on to the next place. But we’re history teachers! We actually want to *see* these places. We want to walk around, look at everything, walk the halls, and get a real feel for the place. We didn’t come all the way to Bukhara to buy some trinkets and drink some tea. We came to see history. I was getting pretty annoyed with him at first and then I just had to let it go.
That’s another one of those major differences in Bukhara and everywhere else in Uzbekistan. Oh. My. God. We have not met even one other person in this whole country that seemed to understand what the word rush even means. No one is in a hurry for anything. Everyone is chill. Everyone is relaxed. No one is ever in a rush for anything. But this guy? He just wanted us in and out of every place in. A hurry so he could get his money and get on with his life.
He had a great sense of humor, and he took us to an awesome place for lunch. Overall, we enjoyed talking with him. It was a big relief to not be struggling trying to fumble through our poor Russian all day. I just wish we had not have felt so pressured to hurry so much. These places were important to us, and he clearly did not understand that or respect it even after we told him.
First, we went to the shrine of Bahaudin Naqshband. This place was mentioned to me by two differernt people. One was a friend of a friend on Facebook. A friend shared one of my blog posts and one of his friends that’s interested in Uzbekistan commented on it, I happened to see the comment, and he said it’s too bad they’re not going to Bukhara so they could go to the bahaudin Naqshband Shrine, and I said oh, my friend, we are going to Bukhara! Then, the hotel owner here told us it’s the number one place he recommends we must go. He said it’s a very spiritual place and we would feel moved.
Yeah. Well. We didn’t feel moved. I think we’re a bit too cynical for that bullshit but it was pretty. It it definitely an active religious pilgrimage site. I don’t think there were any other tourists there. We stood out. Everyone was there to show their respect and pray at his tomb. Who was Bahaudin Naqshband? A very famous Sufi.
Next we went to the Sitori-I-Mokhi Khosa Palace. The last palace of the amir if Bukhara. It was amazing! There’s an old legend about how he would have his 40 concubines all bathe in a pool of milk, he would throw an apple into the group, they would fight for it, and whoever got the apple won the honor of spending the night with the amir. Something tells me the story is not true.
Next we went to eat.
Then we went to Chor Bakr. A descendent of Muhammed is buried here. During the soviet time it was forbidden to be used as a religious site but since the fall of the USSR it has gained more and more importance in Uzbekistan and now, for Uzbek Muslims, the consider it one of the places they must pass by on their way to Mecca for the Hajj. There are also a lot of pigeons.
After Chor Bakr we went to Chor Minor, which means four minarets. The name is actually mistaken because they are not four minarets, they are four towers. They’ve always been four towers. Some historians say the art around the top of the towers represents four major world religions from time of the building of the tower, 1807, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
Next we went to the preserved house of a rich merchant of ancient Bukhara. There were several young couples dressed in traditional garb having their engagement photos taken. It was cute. I asked this couple’s friends if they thought they’d mind if I took their photo and one girl said of course not. They had a small room in the house dedicated to those lost in Stalin’s Great Purge. There’s a museum dedicated to the purge in Tashkent Brandon and I look forward to seeing on our way back to Kazakhstan next week.
That’s it for Bukhara! We had ice cream and a latte then I sat down to write this. I’ve been writing for an hour, I still have to do some editing then add all my photos. We’ve reserved the hot tub for 8PM to relax our weary muscles, we’ll eat dinner after that, sleep, wake up, then drive to Khiva in the morning.