Bukhara: International Children's Day
June 2, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
On my last day in Bukhara I visited several medressas and mosques well as The Ark - the remains of a town within a town.
The Ulugbek Medressa (1417) is Central Asia's oldest medressa and a model for other large projects. Ulugbek, a mathematician and astronomer, was Genghis Khan's grandson.
The Ark is the oldest structure in Bukhara, occupied from the 5th Century until 1920 when it was bombed by the Red Army. The town is mostly in ruins now, but the protective walls are impressive. The royal quarters are used as museums. The Ark is swarming with visitors.
Beside a pool, opposite the Ark's gate is the Bolo-Hauz Mosque, the emir's official place of worship built in 1718. Here it's quiet, cool and refreshing.
The Abdulla Khan Medressa is named for the great Shaybanid ruler. Just opposite lies the Modari Khan Medressa, named for the Khan's mother. On the sun-blasted plaza between these two huge structures is an equally powerful minaret. The plaza is adjacent to Samani Park.
It is the park that provided the unexpected today.
What are the chances you'd meet two sets of twins while on a morning's stroll? That's just part of the surprise. The park is teeming with hundreds of children and their families, all dressed in their best as they celebrate International Children's Day. Little girls are in their party dresses. It's a festive atmosphere with rides and balloons and ice cream and Xat Dogs and Coke. Except for the shy teen-age girls, everyone is happy to "take a photo." But since I have "my ways," even the shy ones eventually relent.
Later it's dinner again at the Lyabi-Hauz and another mimosa salad.
I review my photos of this joyful day.
I contemplate tomorrow's journey across the Kara Kum Desert to Khiva.
Expecting the unexpected,