For a 300 000 population and for a 1000 year old city which inhabits the mind of so many people, I imagine Bukhara much busier and livelier. I imagine the bazaars to be thriving with tourists and locals. It is just a quiet, laid back city especially on a Friday which is the prayer day, par excellence. The tourists, mainly French and some Japanese are easily recognized and we meet, re-meet often and salute each other.
It is grander than Khiva with its canals and one can feel there are too many medressas, minarets, bazaars. Again this feeling of frozen architecture pervades. The city centre is amazingly beautiful. Like Khiva, it was a centre for culture and science with eminent people Ibn Sina (Avicenne) among others.
The old fortress, Royal Palace – The Ark – escaped Genghis Khan sack but not the Red army in 1920. It is just some ruins within the fortress walls. The Kalon Minaret is one of the only monuments that was saved by Genghis Khan for its beauty. Every city we have been till now have been savagely destroyed by the Khan and luckily very often rebuilt by Tamerlane.
The locals seem to live quietly with the few tourists and are very friendly. We are welcomed and called by all the children. Some adults Uzbek tourists even want to be photographed with us. The older people are all dressed in national costumes. The younger women are beautiful but age does not help them. They quickly age and fade away.