Ak Seray Palace

Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan, 2 October 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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In the distance, about a kilometre away, is what is left of Timur’s Ak Saray Palace. 

In the middle is a statue of Timur (Tamerlane), who was born here and was local governor at the age of 25.  Behind Timur you can see what appears to be two tall buildings.  They are the remains of the monumental entrance arch and reach only about half of the original height (!).  Beyond that is the top of a section of the city wall.  

I used a very long telephoto, the full-frame equivalent of 525mm and also cropped a little.  Perspective compression means Timur’s statue appears much closer to the background structures than it really is.  The city wall is also further away from the remains of the arch than it seems.

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In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
 
(from Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

There is now little to see of Kublai Khan’s summer capital of Shangdu (Xanadu) in Inner Mongolia, visited by Marco Polo in 1275 and described by him in 1300, because remaining materials were pillaged for buildings in a nearby town. The “pleasure dome” Coleridge refers to was a portable bamboo construction and there was also a richly decorated marble palace. This was all on a grand scale but it is an open question how well Shangdu in its prime would have compared with Timur’s Ak Saray Palace in Shakhrisabz in its prime.

Come to think of it, Timur claimed kinship to Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan.  (To be precise, he claimed his great x8 grandfather was Genghis’s great x3 grandfather and Kublai’s great x5 grandfather).  Timur had quite conceivably read about Shangdu which was sacked by the Ming Army only a year before the start of his reign.  He may therefore have had a specific aim to outdo Shangdu.  He did want Ak Seray to be the greatest palace of all time and it was on a much grander scale than anything he created in his capital city, Samarkand.

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We didn’t actually walk that kilometre down to the remnants of the arch; instead we drove down and are now walking towards it from the other side.  This is taken with a wide angle lens, the full-frame equivalent of 21mm, and I’m much closer than the previous image, so the perspective is quite different.  You may need to click on the image to see it larger, but the statue of Timur is still in view though now appears much smaller and further away, and in the distant middle right is the blue dome of the Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, near where I took the previous image.

The surviving towers are 38 metres high and you can just see the start of the curve of the inner arch.  That’s impressive enough, but the original interior arch was 70 metres high and the towers were 80 metres high.  That’s equivalent to a 25-story building.  Beyond that, just the inner courtyard was 125 metres wide and 250 metres long. The buildings on each side were two stories high and faced with blue, gold and green tiles and at the end was the grand reception hall.  The palace is likely to have included “a mosque, a courtyard for public audiences, a courtyard for private audiences, Amir Temur’s private quarters, a courtyard and a garden of Harem, a sauna, a courtyard with a library and a school, a farmyard with stables, buildings for guards and a kitchen“.

Construction started in 1380 using 50,000 involuntary workers.  The arch was finished in 1395 but the palace wasn’t entirely finished in 1404 when Castillian ambassador Ruy Clavijo visited.  If the decorations were as sublime as in the mausoleum of Shamsidden Kulol that we saw in the previous post, built by Timur from 1373 to 1374,  then it would have been impressive indeed.

The space between the two pillars looks wide and open, for anyone to walk through, but that’s not how it would have been.  Obviously, it would have been possible to restrict entry though events on a massive scale would also have occurred.  There was a wall around the palace as well as another around the city, and there would have been a gate under the arch and much of that space would have been enclosed.  Apart from what remains, the palace was destroyed by Abdullah Khan, ruler of Bukhara, at the end of the sixteenth century.  

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With a very long telephoto lens, I took photographs of details of the tiling on the pillars as I was walking in.  These decorations are unreconstructed, as efforts so far have focused on ensuring structural integrity.

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There are even some residents….

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Here we have Timur, in the middle of his largely vanished palace, staring out and contemplating how little remains.  It reminds me perhaps of this image of Lenin at Pyramiden from this post, or perhaps this image of a moai contemplating the environmental costs of mankind at Easter Island as described in this post.

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Perhaps this is the image where we may really get a feel for the monumental scale of what remains of the entrance arch and by inference of the palace that once lay beyond.

There is an inscription on the remains of the arch “If you challenge our power – look at our buildings!”.   Though there is no mighty head lying around, this is in turn somewhat reminiscent of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Ozymandias:

…”And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

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There’s not much left of some of the tiles.

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One last look at the remains of the lower half of the entrance arch from a different angle.

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And here is a glimpse of the city walls, very little of which remains, unlike Khiva.

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We continue on our journey to Samarkand, 80 kilometres to the north.

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There is a spring beside the road.

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I don’t remember the details but I recall there’s something sacred or legendary about the water here.

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And a small market at roadside in a mountain pass….

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… and from here we travelled on further towards Samarkand….

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In the next post I was about to segue seamlessly to Timur’s mausoleum in Samarkand but I have discovered a post from Bukhara I forgot to publish, so that will come first.

Kesh, Sogdia, Timur and a Sufi

Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan, 2 October 2018.

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Walking past the twin domes of the mausolea at Dor-ut Tilovat.

Shakhrisabz is one of the oldest cities of Central Asia, at more than 2,700 years old.  It was called Kesh and was one of the capital cities of Sogdia (or Sugd), and Kesh was the capital city of all Sogdia at some times.   Sogdia, though, was more a loose confederation of cities than a centralised state.  In terms of current borders, it was in Eastern Uzbekistan and Western Tajikistan, with some encroachment into Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.   Other Sogdian Capitals were Buhkara, Afraysiab (now Samarkand, which we will visit next) and Khujand in Tajikistan.

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Walking towards Dor-us Siyodat.

Sogdia was independent during the first half of the first millennium BC until it was conquered by the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great around 540BC.  It was then independent again from about 400BC, when it freed itself from the weaker reign of Ataxerxes II.  This was at the time of the unsuccessful rebellion of his brother Cyrus the Younger, who died in a battle that he otherwise would have won.  Greek historian Xenophon, one of the leaders of the ten thousand Greeks that supported Cyrus, wrote Anabasis, an account of the battle and the subsequent story of the Greeks fighting their way back to Greece.  Egypt revolted at the same time and the last native dynasties retained independence for nearly 60 years (Persia had occupied Egypt since 525BC).  Ataxerxes was probably too busy unsuccessfully trying to retake Egypt, dealing with the later Satrap’s Revolt, and interfering in the conflicts of Greek city-states to focus on retaking Sogdia.

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Walking through the gardens, no doubt to an ancient plan but recently planted.  Gardens are always an essential part of Islamic public architecture.

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Alexander the Great then conquered Sogdia in 327 BC.  At this time, the last Archmaenid Emperor, Darius III is said to have been murdered near Kesh, retreating to the edge of his empire after military defeat.   Alexander’s famous paramour Roxane was also a Sogdian princess.  Sogdia became part of a succession of various empires, including Selucid, Greco-Bactrian, Kushan, Hephalite and Sasanian.  It still retained its identity and culture. 

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The birth of Sogdia was also associated with the formation of the Zoroastrian religion but Sogdia came to be an area of religious tolerance, also allowing Buddhism, Manichaeism, Judaism and Nestorian Christianity until Islam slowly took over from the eighth century AD.

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Loquats.

The Sogdians were also great traders, travelling the Silk Road from China to Byzantium and becoming prosperous as a consequence.  In 128BC, in the declining days of the Greco-Bactrian Empire, the Chinese succeeding in pushing through to Sogdia and successfully besieged the capital Alexandria Eschate (Fergana Valley, present-day Uzbekistan). They were after larger more robust horses so they could successfully combat and defeat the Xiongnu Khanate, a massive Mongolian empire of the ancestors of the Huns. This helped to open up the Silk Road, including for Sogdian participation.

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

Eurasian magpie.

The Han dynasty did not remain in the area for long but in the first half of the eighth century AD, the Tang dynasty had expanded so it was bordering on Sogdia.  However in 751 they were defeated by the Abbasid Caliphate (Persian-based Moslems).  Then in 755 came the An Lushan Rebellion which ultimately failed but hugely weakened Tang China. There had been a significant Sogdian community in China for many years, including some in influential positions.  But because An Lushan was part Sogdian, a Sogdian identity became less politic and they blended into the general population.

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A corner of Dor-us Siyodat.

While Sogdians were of Iranian origin, the Uzbeks are Turkic, so Sogdia gradually faded away after the Islamic takeover and the current inhabitants of Shakhrisabz are not Sogdian and do not speak a Sogdian language.  However, over the border in Tajikistan, Sogdians survive in the form of the Yaghnobi people in the Sugh Province, who also speak a language descended from Sogdian.

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Khazret Imam Mosque on the right (a working mosque we did not visit).

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Dor-us Siyodat, or the mausoleum of Timur’s eldest son Jakhongir.

All the buildings we will see are from much later than Sogdian times.   Shakhrisabz was the birthplace of Timur the Great (Tamerlane).  He had magnificent building projects here and for a while considered making it his capital.  So the buildings are from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. 

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Looking up inside the mausoleum.

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This image and the next are probably details of the same door.

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This was to be Timur’s tomb.  He wanted something small and simple but his successors gave him instead the magnificence of Gur-Emir in Samarkand (coming up, in a while).  He was never interred in this sarcophagus.

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

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Dor-us Siyodat was to be the burial place of Timur’s family.  Construction started in 1379 and two of his sons were buried here but most of the complex was destroyed by Bukharan ruler Abdullah Khan II in probably the 1570s and only Jakhongir’s mausoleum survived.

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Here we see the nearby Dor-ut Tilovat ensemble which includes Kok-Gumbaz Mosque (the large dome), the Gumbazi-Sayidon Mausoleum (the two smaller domes) and a Madrassah.  The mosque and one mausoleum was built by his Timur’s grandson Ulugbek, the left hand mausoleum was built by Timur.

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We are now inside the mausoleum of Shamsidden Kulol.   He was a potter, philosopher, theologian and scholar and the founder of Sufism.  He was also the primary spiritual and intellectual influence on Timur.  This is Timur’s testimony to him and and its elegance is breathtaking.

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The tombs of both Shamseddin Kulol and Timur’s father Taraghay are underneath the mausoleum.

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This is underneath the other cupola, built by Ulugbek for his descendants, though it is not clear whether any were ever buried here. 

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Architecture, Ceramics, Dor-us Siyodat, Dor-ut Tilovat, History, Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Shakhrisabz, Street photography, Travel

This image and the next two are details painted on the interior walls of the mosque.

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These palm trees are the calling cards of the original Indian and Iranian designers..

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There is a large courtyard between the mausolea and the mosque.  We are looking across that courtyard, either to the madrassah or back to the mausolea.

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Arches in a corridor inside the mosque.

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The three final images are inside the Kok-Gumbaz (Blue Dome) Mosque built between 1435 and 1436 by Ulugbek in honour of his father (and Timur’s son) Shah Rukh.

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The recess in the white rectangle is the mihrab which indicates the quibla, or the direction to face in order to pray towards Mecca.  The minbar, or the imam’s pulpit, is just to the right of the mihrab.

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It was built on the foundations of an older mosque from the Karakhanid era (900 to 1200) and originally had a much larger dome.  That collapsed in the late eighteenth century and was rebuilt two hundred years later.  Judging by the apparent imperfections of the interior of the dome, they must have used original materials where possible.

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Last Night in Bukhara

Bukhara, Uzbekistan, 1 October 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, Chor Minor Madrassah, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Uzbekistan

This is one of the four towers of the Chor Minor Madrassah though the nest and storks are not real.

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A bit further back, here are the four towers.

. Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, Chor Minor Madrassah, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Uzbekistan … And the whole madrassah.  Not sure what the mats and reeds on a platform in the foreground are for.  Merchandise? Camels?

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Despite the name, it’s actually a gatehouse for a madrassah, built in 1807, but the madrassah no longer exists.  The four towers apparantly contain symbols to represent the four main religions but I wasn’t aware of that at the time and did not look for them.

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There was not much inside (though good acoustics) but we did climb up to get a view from the roof.

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Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, Chor Minor Madrassah, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Uzbekistan 

In 1925, before the domes were restored, there was a stork nest on each of the domes.

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Stopping at one of the many remarkable ancient doors on the street in Bukhara.

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On our way back to the hotel, we are passing through one of the bazaars, probably Tok-i-Sarraton (“The Moneychangers’ Bazaar”).

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This and the next two images are from Abdulazizkhan Madrassah, from under the archways rather than in the interior.

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Back out on the street, another ancient door.

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From this point on we were on a rooftop restaurant for dinner, also hoping to take some photographs of the Poi-Kalyan Ensemble as the sun went down.  I’d guess that this is the roof of a trading dome.

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It’s getting late but there is still a restoration workman on the roof of the Kalan Mosque.

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While it looks similar, this is not Kalan Minaret.  Not sure exactly where and what it is.  interesting back view of Bukhara, though.

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The two domes of the Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah.  You don’t see the restoration debris from ground level.  There are a couple of workers in the shadows too.

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Part of an interior gateway of the Kalan Mosque.

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There were some friendly locals on our rooftop restaurant and one of them asked to pose for me to take a photo….

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The dome of Kalan Mosque.

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We’re not in ancient Egypt but clearly Ra is fighting against against being swallowed by Nut and having to travel through the World of the Dead for twelve hours before being reborn the following morning….

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There’s an electric version of Ra inside this building though.

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Madrassah? Caravanserai? (Don’t know).

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Kalan Minaret, just after sunset.

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Closer view.

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The dome of Kalan Mosque.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah again, in much lower light.  No more workers in the shadows.

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It’s now dark. I perhaps remember that building but don’t know its function.  Probably a madrassah or a hotel built in the style of a madrassah.

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The Ark, Bukhara

Bukhara, Uzbekistan, 30 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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Ark is the Persian word for fortress, so this is the Ark of Bukhara.

The area in the foreground and out to the left is part of what was the Registan, an open area bustling with life and functioning as a market place, public square and execution ground.

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We have nine images of the outside walls.  The first six are taken with a Fuji 10-24mm lens (equivalent to 15-36mm in full frame) and they show perspective distortion.  Say you take a photograph of someone holding their fist out to the camera, you are very close to the fist and everything is in focus.  The fist would appear huge and the rest of the person very small.  So that is perspective distortion and it’s what we logically see, though our brain processes it to make more sense.  The the last three images are taken with a 12mm Samyang fisheye lens, so they go beyond that to also have fisheye distortion, though the last two are partially corrected.

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There has been a town here since maybe 500BC, though people were here before then and not much is known about that.  At that time it was part of the Persian Empire and was taken by Alexander the Great in 329BC. Over the years there was a succession of different invaders, often with devastating results for Bukhara.  It was part of the (Greek) Selucid Empire, the Kushan Empire, then the (Mongol) Hephalite Empire.  From 650 to 750AD, the Arabs slowly and intermittently took control, displacing Zoroastrianism and other religions with the Islam.  

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Then the Samanids took power in Bukhara in 892 and brought a restoration of Persian culture and language.  During the tenth century Bukhara was the capital of their empire, that at its peak (in modern terms) included Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and north-east Iran.  It also during that period became a world centre of learning, far surpassing anywhere in the decadent post-Roman West.  

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After that was a period of decline.  Bukhara fell to the Karakhanids in 999, the Karakhitai in 1141 and Koresemshah in 1206.  Genghis Khan took and razed the city in 1220, declaring himself the Scourge of God.  “If you had not committed great sins, God would have not sent a punishment like me.”

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In 1500, an Uzbek Shaybanid dynasty took over.  The Timurids had a brief comeback under Babur in 1511 but he was defeated in 1512 and left, instead to conquer India.  The Shaybanids for a while brought a new period of prosperity and artistic accomplishment.  The Ark has been created and destroyed many times over the years but the present for dates from the Shaybanids and the buildings are all from within the last three centureies.  An Astakhanid dynasty took over in 1552 and slowly Bukhara declined from a major force to a regional power.

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In 1840, most of the brickwork in the walls you see here did not exist.  There was instead an artificial hill with a much smaller wall at the top.  The brickwork was added later in the nineteenth century.  In 1868, Russia defeated Bukhara and it became a Russian protectorate, though the Emir retained arbitrary and absolute power within the city of Bukhara.

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In 1918, a Bolshevik army from Samarkand arrived to take the city but the locals preferred to stay with the Devil they knew (or Islamic Emir as the case might be) and the army was defeated.  So Bukhara remained as a relic Mediæval enclave for a couple of years.

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In 1920, a more competent Soviet army appeared at the city gates, the city was taken and in the fighting the wooden buildings inside the Ark were destroyed by bombing and fire.  Most of what lay within the walls of the Ark remains destroyed.  From 1920 to 1924 there was the Bukharan People’s Soviet Republic and then it became part of Uzbekistan (which itself became independent in 1991).

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So here we are at the gate to the Ark.

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I think this is the former living quarters of the Emir’s kushbegi (Prime Minister), now housing an archaeological museum.

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An ancient petrograph from the museum.  Perhaps a leopard and a pair of ibex.  The label only said it came from Uchtut, which is a location about 150 kilometres south east of Bukhara.  They are probably from something like 3,000 to 4,000 BC.

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The Reception and Coronation Court, a large open-air iwan, where the Emir could meet or address people en masse.

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And here he is, the Emir, terror of the population, from a nineteenth century photograph using a digital camera smuggled in by a European.

In 1838, Colonel Charles Stoddart arrived in Bukhara, seeking to reassure the Emir about British troop movements beyond the border.  However, he was not acquainted with local custom and rode into the Ark rather than leaving his horse behind and later prostrating himself before the Emir.  He was cast into a caged hole that he shared with rats.  When the British occupied Kabul and might later have had designs on Bukhara,  he was taken out to the custody of the Chief of Police and allowed proper food and clothing.  Then when the British were defeated in Afghanistan, he was cast beck in the hole again.  In 1840, Captain Arthur Connelly turned up to try to persuade the Emire of the benefits of closer association with Britain and after a while he was thrown in the hole as well.  In 1842 they were executed.

Nineteenth century Bukhara was a somewhat polygot city including Jews, Afghans, Armenians, Russians, Persians, Chinese and Hindus.  It was also a health disaster, with fetid water for long periods producing epidemics and reshta, a vile parasitic worm.  It was also cruelly despotic and a strange mixture between licentious depravity and ruthless enforcement of minor religious norms.

Ah, that’s right, I remember now.  I actually took that photograph.  It’s not from the nineteenth century.  The boy’s father paid a small amount for him to dress up and pose on the throne.  Unaccompanied in nineteenth century Bukhara though, the boy would have been in severe danger from the Emir.

Nowadays though, Bukhara and Uzbekistan generally is very friendly and welcoming.

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A tourist being led around the Ark on a camel ride, in a faint echo of a now distant past.

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We are now inside the Bolo-Khauz Mosque, part of the few surviving structures on the Registan.  It was built in 1712 by the Emir’s wife.  I do not seem to have photographed the outside.

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This is the main prayer hall.

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This time, with the fisheye lens.

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This is the Chasma-Ayub Mausoleum.  I don’t seem to have photographed inside so perhaps it was closed or photography not permitted.  It has four domes from different periods and with different architecture.  The earliest, the conical one, is from the time of Timur in 1380.

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This is the Israel Samani Mausoleum.  It dates from the tenth century, the period of the great cultural flowering of Bukhara and is named after the founder of the Samanid Dynasty.  It incorporates elements of earlier Sogdian and Sassanian/ Zoroastrian architecture.  It escaped the depredations of Genghis Khan because it had become buried under sand and earth and was rediscovered in 1934 by a Soviet archæologist.  The tombs were then removed by the Soviets.  This Samanid mausoleum was a model for many of the fourteenth to seventeenth century mausolea of India.

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A view of the symmetrical interior.

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Looking up at the dome (with some fisheye distortion)…

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… and a closer (rectilinear) view.

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I’m not sure what structure this is; I presume it was visible from the rooftop restaurant we attended that night.

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And this is the top of the Kalan Minaret from a distance.  we saw it more close-up in daylight in the previous post.

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Kalan Mosque, Bukhara

Bukhara, Uzbekistan, 30 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

You are looking at the Poi-Kalyan Ensemble.  Kalan Mosque is on the right, Kalan Minaret in the centre, Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah behind the minaret to the left, and a wall of the Miri-Arab Madrasah at far left.

Only a generation ago this was the site of a cotton bazaar, including huge piles of cotton atop swaying camels.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

The Kok Gumbaz (or Blue Dome) of the Kalan Mosque.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking through at the main entrance-way to the interior of the Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, with a lone student framed by the lattice-work.

The madrasah was built in 1535 and remains the foremost centre of religious education in Bukhara.  It still operates as a madrasah, with around 180 students and is consequently closed to tourists.

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Going into the Kalan Mosque.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Under one of the 288 domes of the mosque.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Earthquakes are not unknown in Uzbekistan.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

In the great rectangle of the mosque, looking west. 

The Kalan Mosque is one of the oldest in Central Asia and also the second largest.  It was intended to house the whole population of the city and the rectangle can hold 10,000 to 12,000 people.  The original was built in 795, collapsed twice in the early tenth century, burned to the ground in 1068 and was destroyed by the Mongols under Genghis Khan in 1219.  The current mosque was finished in 1541.

The recess in the huge rectangular structure is the mihrab and that structure is the qibla wall so together they indicate the quibla, or the direction to face in order to pray towards Mecca.

The small octagonal structure dates from the nineteenth century and is probably where a second Imam would echo the words of the first.  Alternatively, it may be the site of an ancient well or a shelter for the Emir on his weekly visit.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking south.

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Looking east.

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Near the west end of the rectangle, still with a wide angle lens but not as wide an angle as the previous image.

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Looking up at the main portal of the west end of the mosque rectangle.

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A couple of views looking back through that portal.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Looking up at the dome.  The writing around the dome reads “Immortality belongs to God”.

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There’s always a need for washing….

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Down a long corridor, probably on the south side.

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Another dome.

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .

Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Walking back out to the portal behind the tree….

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Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Kalan Minaret, Kalan Mosque, Landscape, Photography, Poi-Kalyan Ensemble, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

Back outside the mosque to the Poi-Kalyan Ensemble.  So the Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah is on the left, showing in this image only one of its two domes.

The minaret is 48 metres high (155 feet) and there has been a minaret here since 919.  The original one was destroyed in an earthquake in 1068 and a replacement collapsed a few years later.  This one dates from 1127 and Ghengis Khan was so impressed with it that he ordered it to be exempt from the razing of the city.

The small Miri-Arab Madrasah behind and to the left of the minaret was also a bath house.

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Trading Domes and Madrassahs, Bukhara

Bukhara, Uzbekistan
30 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

You can see the mass of domes ahead and to the right.  There are five Trading Domes in Bukhara and for centuries these enclosed markets protected customers from wild swings in weather.  This is Toqi Telpak Furushon (or the Cap Makes’ Bazaar).

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This is looking up at the largest dome.  You could see one of the “dome windows” in the previous image.

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A closer look at the centre of the inside of the dome.

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A knife making workshop.

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Looking back at Toqi Tilpak Furushon, having walked through.

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Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

We’ve walked through Toqi Telpak Furushon and probably around another Trading Dome we will get to soon.  To the right there are two madrassahs facing each other.  This is Ulugbek Madrassah.

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Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

The inside of Ulugbek Madrassah.

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Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

This is the top of the arch at the entrance to Abdulaziz-Khan Madrassah and the next twelve images are inside that madrassah.

The fractal profusion of connected objects under the central arch and the three smaller “window arches” are muqarnas.  In their simplest form they can be cubes and they have a function for corner bracing, paradoxically enhanced by their profusion.  They can also take many forms including stalactite and also have aesthetic and religious associations.  The stalactite structures lead the eye upwards and speak to the connections between heaven and earth.  Their geometric complexity is also an echo of the Pythagoreans who looked upon numbers as the fundamental element of the universe and numbers were thus to them divine.  Muqarnas are a fundamental element of Islamic architecture since the eleventh century.

The two madrassahs facing each other form a single ensemble called Kosh Madrassah.  They also represent the heritage of two different dynasties, the Timurids and the Ashturkhanids.  Ulugbek Madrassah was built by Timur the Great’s grandson Ulugbek in 1420, whereas Abdulazizkhan Madrassah was built by the Emir of  Bukhara, Abdulaziz Khan in 1652. 

(So Abdulazizkhan Madrassah was built in the same period as Nicolas Focquet built Vaux-le-Vicomte in France.  He was subsequently thrown in prison by Louis XIV and Vaux-le-Vicomte used as a model for building of Versailles.  If you study them carefully, you may find some differences in architectural style between Vaux-le-Vicomte and Abdulazizkhan Madrassah.)

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This was an attic for scholars, dating back hundreds of years. I believe we are looking at shelves for books and perhaps writing materials.

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We walked up some stairs to enter here.

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A wider view of the room.

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This image and the following eight are looking up at the ceilings within the madrassah. 

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

Though they are different views of the same interior they nonetheless show great variety.

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

Many other instances of muqarnas are on display.

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

(I’ll just let you talk to the images for a while).

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

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. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

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Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

.Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

Now back in the open, looking west and heading back to the nearby Trading Dome Toqi Zaragon.

There have probably been trading domes in Bukhara for as long as there has been the Silk Road but Bukhara itself has been wiped away from time to time.  For example, Genghis Kan, a hero in Mongolia but possibly the world’s most genocidal ruler, razed it to the ground in 1220.  So the five surviving trading domes are more recent than that.  Toqi Zaragon dates from 1570 while Toqi Tilpak Furushon, which we visited earlier, dates to the later sixteenth century.  Historically, the entrances to the trading domes were large enough for a fully-laden camel to pass through, though seemingly much larger these days.

.Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving 

In the far background is the Kalon Mosque and the Kalon Minaret (next post).

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

Inside the Trading Dome we see women weaving carpets by hand with incredible skill and meticulous attention to detail.

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

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. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving

You can of course buy carpets, with a huge array on offer.  You just need lots of money including for shipping it back home.

. Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah, Architecture, Bukhara, Carpets, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Trading Domes, Travel, Ulugbek Madrassah, Uzbekistan, Weaving .

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Arrival, Bukhara

Bukhara, Uzbekistan
29-30 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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Architecture, Art, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Nadir Divan Begi Madrassah, Photography, Silk, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

A truck on the road between Khiva and Bokhara. Likely advice to any pedestrians on the right side of the road – run!

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The sign at the restaurant at the left says “ШАШЛИК СОМСА КЕПСИ ТОВУҚ ЖИЗ”, or as you might have guessed “Shashlik Somsa Kepsi Chicken Jiz”.

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A dome in the late afternoon light in Bukhara.

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This looks like a sunset but the sun is well above the horizon, so it’s an exposure directly into the sun which is shining through the window in the cupola. Rather than a low light exposure, it is actually 200 ISO, 1/8,000 sec, f11.
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A little later with a cloud of birds in the distance. These two were probably taken at dinner.
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An hour later, a wedding group on the streets.
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This is above the main portal of the Nadir Divan-begi Madrasa.

It was built as a caravanserai (prosaically, if you like, a motel with camels instead of cars) but either dedicated as or later converted to a madrassah (or school, often religious) and the architecture more resembles a caravanserai than a madrassah. It was built during the reign of Imam Quli Khan (1611 to 1642, a time of prosperity and peace) and built by his Vizier Nadir Divan-begi, after whom it is named. In the image above, the sun has a face as do the serpents below him. Traditionally, Islam strongly disapproved of depiction of humans and animals but this was relaxed in the Persian-influenced world in the early seventeenth century.

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This image and the next eight are also in the Nadir Divan-begi Madrassah.
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Wall and ceiling details…..
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Architecture, Art, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Nadir Divan Begi Madrassah, Photography, Silk, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .
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Architecture, Art, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Nadir Divan Begi Madrassah, Photography, Silk, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .
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A silk weaver.
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Discussion of potential purchases, perhaps.
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Looking up….
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A variety of textile wonders on offer…..
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This is the ancient Magoki-Attori Mosque.
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This southern entrance dates to the 12th century and you can see the trace of carved blue majolica tiles.
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There was originally a Zoroastrian fire temple and later a Buddhist temple. The Moslem religion arrived about 650AD but its takeover was gradual. At one time both Jews and Moslems were said to have worshiped here concurrently though this may have been at different times of the day. Bukhara burnt down in 927 and the mosque was built or rebuilt at this time. It was rebuilt in the 12th century using the design of the previous mosque and restored in the 14th and 17th centuries and the 1930s and 1970s. It had to be dug out in the 1930s because over the years it had sunk below rising levels of sand.
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It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest mosques in central Asia.
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Carved doorway.
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Looking up in the top level, from the 1930s.
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Not far away is the foundations of an ancient structure but I can’t remember what our guide said and I can not find information on what it was.

(The edge of the Toqi Telpak Furushon Trading Dome is in the background at the far right. We go there in the next post.)
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Architecture, Art, Bukhara, Ceramics, History, Landscape, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Nadir Divan Begi Madrassah, Photography, Silk, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan

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Juma Mosque and Toshkhovli Palace, Khiva

Khiva, Uzbekistan
28 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

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We’ve just left the Kukhna Ark (previous two posts), and here is a most impressive door handle and knocker nearby.

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… also a cheerful dromedary camel, lying in sand.

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Wedding party on the road, as we walk towards Juma Mosque.  Probably Tura Murad minaret in the near background.

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We are now inside Juma (or Djuma or Friday) Mosque which has a single hall interior and was built in the late eighteenth century over the remains of the previous mosque, so that many of the pillars here are much older.  There are 213 pillars, each different.  The oldest four were salvaged in the tenth century from the declining city of Kath, which had been the capital of the Khwarezmian Empire.  Another seventeen were added a century later.  Other pillars date from the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries but most of them are from the eighteenth.  The acoustics of the hall are also impressive.

Kath (modern town: Beruniy) was the capital of Khwarazm under the Afrighids (a Persian dynasty) from 305 to 995AD.  They were Zoroastrian until the 8th century when there was a violent forced Moslem conversion.  The Ma’munids took over in 995.  The Ghaznavids (a Persian dynasty of Turkic Mamluk origin) then took over a couple of years later.

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I took quite a few macro shots of carvings on the pillars.  Unfortunately most failed but here are two.  (Technical note: I think I switched to manual for focus-bracketing the image of the hall above, and forgot to switch back to Auto ISO).

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Architecture, Art, Ceramics, History, Juma Mosque, Khiva, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Toshkhovli Palace, Travel, Uzbekistan .

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Outside, a young bride-to-be on the street.

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Architecture, Art, Ceramics, History, Juma Mosque, Khiva, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Toshkhovli Palace, Travel, Uzbekistan

… and we walked towards our next destination the Toshkhovli Palace.

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A ceiling detail from the palace.

Toshkhovli (or Tosh Hauli or Stone Courtyard) Palace was built from 1830 to 1838 by Allakuli-Khan as an updated dwelling from the Kukhna Ark.  Apparently some architects who refused to build it in two years were executed and it took eight years to build.  These days it also houses a Khorezm Handicrafts Museum.

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This is in the Harem area and the iwan we see (the recessed courtyard decorated with majolica tiles) is one of the four for each of the Khan’s wives.  Behind this exterior was her living quarters and a lounge room for her attendants.  Even courtiers were refused access here.

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A section of the ceiling of the iwan at the left or right.

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A section of the ceiling of the iwan in the middle.

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They’re clearly not wagon wheels.  Perhaps they were used for cattle to grind grain.

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This is the iwan of the Khan, and in front of it on the round platform is the framework of a yurt that would have been his summer residence.  Behind the iwan are corridors connecting to the iwans of the wives that only the Khan could use.

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An impressive door, possibly of greater antiquity than the palace.

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There are two sections to see of the palace, and you have to go outside and re-enter to see the second one.  That is the exterior of the palace behind the wall.

There is an old well in the Palace, which we did not see.  However there is a more important ancient well (which we also did not see) near the north wall of the old city, which is central to the story of Khiva.  It was the original reason for merchants stopping here along their Silk Road journeys.  It is said that on tasting the clear water they would exclaim “Khey Vakh!” (“How Wonderful”) so the locals named the well Kheyvak, which led in turn to Khiva getting its name.

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Another ceiling section.

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This is the Khan’s bedroom.

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Opposite the iwans of the Khan and the wives, this is the residence for the concubines and the household staff.

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Back outside the palace again.

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An array of textiles on an open courtyard.

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Shown from a different angle, this shows where we are.  Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum on the left and the base of Islam Khoja Minaret.

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Nearby, a selection of handicrafts.

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Remarkable wood carving.  Maybe a door, not sure.

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We are back near we were staying, cruising the markets for handicrafts.  Tura Murad Minaret is in the background.  The man sitting in the chair was waiting for prospective customers to don his coat and a hat and pose for a photograph.  The locals passing by don’t look that impressed.

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Markets and Kalta Minor in the background.  I did buy a hat like one of those on the right.

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The camel is still there a couple of hours later.  That must be the Muhammad Rahim-khan Madrasah in the background.  Perhaps that door is solely for camels from the madrassah.

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A young couple having wedding or engagement photos in the old city.

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Looking back at the top of the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum and the Islam Khoja Minaret.

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Not sure exactly which buildings the last two images are from.

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That is Tura Murad Minaret again in the background though.

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Kukhna Ark, Khiva, Part 2

Khiva, Uzbekistan
28 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)

After the last post, I was expecting to move on to the Juma Mosque and views of Khiva at night.  However, I was using two cameras and it turned out that the date time settings for one of the cameras was eleven hours different to the other one.  So when I finished selecting images from the Kukhna Ark, these were just from the camera with the correct date time setting and the images from the same time with the second camera were mixed up with later and night images from the first camera.

Had I realised this, there still would have been two posts but I would have divided them up differently.  Still, it’s not so bad because the lenses on each camera were quite different so the images between each post are quite different.  The first six images here are street photography with a wide angle lens and the rest are long telephotos, many very long telephotos.

For the more technically focused, both cameras were Fujifilm X-T2s.  In the first post I used six different lenses but 40% of the images were from a 10-24mm f4 lens (15mm to 36mm full frame equivalent) and another 40% from an 80mm f2.8 macro (120mm equivalent), sometimes with a 1.4x teleconverter.  In this post, the first six images are with a 23mm f2 lens (35mm equivalent) and the rest were with a 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens (150mm to 600mm equivalent) and about half of those were with a 1.4x teleconverter.  Most of those were at the longer end of the zoom range so could be up to 840mm full frame equivalent.

There are brief comments on many of the images below but for more information on Khiva and its history, go back and view the previous post if you have not already done so.
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Street markets in the old city.  They must be somewhere near where we were staying but I can’t work out exactly where for the first two images.

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The car in the distance puzzles me because the map shows only three gates into the Old City and it’s not one of them.

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This is the Tura Murad Minaret.

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We are now further in the distance from the previous image.

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Now we have turned around and are heading back towards the Kalta Minor.  The young boy is riding a modern contraption that I believe is called a bicycle.  An early traveller in the nineteenth century rode through Uzbekistan en route from England to India.  Locals who saw this strange unnatural apparition were either convulsed with laughter or recoiled in fear.

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We are now on the roof of the Kukhna Ark.  See previous post for more info.  From left to right, Tura Murad Minaret, Islam Khoja Minaret & the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, Kalta Minor and Amin Khan Madrassah.

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Islam Khoja Minaret & the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum.  (I mislabelled an image of this in the previous post, since corrected).

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Ceramic tiles near the top of the Kalta Minor.

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The wooden structure is the Terrassa Restaurant, where we have dinner that night and I produce night images from there in the next post.

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Detail of Amin Khan Madrassah.

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A corner of the Muhammad Rahim-khan Madrasah, next door to the Tura Murad Minaret.

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No idea of the name of this minaret.

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I think we are looking south at the west wall of the Amin Khan Madrassah and the old city walls.

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Muhammad Rahim-khan Madrasah and the Tura Murad Minaret.

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Many of these images are not possible to place.

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However, this must be the dome of the Amin Khan Madrassah.

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Down below me, a workman was sawing away at something in a reconstruction area.

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I turned away to photograph this old madrassah (?).  You can see how many of the tiles have fallen off.  Then I heard a loud crash.

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The workman had sawn away a supporting beam and demolished a wall.

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With these long telephoto shots, I can’t identify exactly where it is….

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Two young women below, maybe walking home after shopping, one wearing a dress with a wonderful traditional design.

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Kukhna Ark, Khiva

Khiva, Uzbekistan
28 September 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)
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Here we are arriving at the city walls of Khiva.

Khiva was built close to the Amu Darya River though the river now flows elsewhere.  It is also close to the border with Turkmenistan and on the other side of the border there is desert.  It is part of the Khorezm, a fertile area surrounded by deserts that has been a centre of civilisations for about four thousand years.  From 1077 until 1231 (when the Mongols turned up after their emissaries were executed) the Khorezm was the centre of the Kwarazmian Empire, including Persia, Afghanistan and much of central Asia.  The Amu Darya was known as the Oxus to the Greeks and Romans, for example in the time of Alexander the Great.

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There has been a settlement at Khiva, a depot on the silk road, for two thousand years or more and parts of the city walls are thought to date from the fifth century, but it has only been a significant city since the sixteenth century.  That century saw the foundation of the Khanate of Khorezm and the shift of the capital from Kunya Urgench (now in Turkmenistan) to Khiva.  For some centuries it was a regional powerhouse.
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The Russians first turned up in 1717 with 4,000 troops who were welcomed, ushered to quarters and then slaughtered.  In 1839-40, another army of 5,000 (with 10,000 camels) set out to achieve revenge but perished in the desert.  The Russians finally turned up in 1873.  After the Revolution in 1920 there was briefly the Khorezm People’s Republic until it was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1924 and divided between the Uzbek and Turkmen SSRs.  Uzbekistan became independent in 1991.
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Street markets, on the other side of the West Gate.

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Some goods in the street.

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A map of the old city.  We entered from the gate at the bottom.

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This is the door to our accommodation, the Mohammed Amin Khan Madrassah (or the Orient Star Khiva Hotel).

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… and here is the interior courtyard.

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This is the top of the Kalta Minor (or Short Minaret).

It was commissioned by Mohammed Amin Khan (or Medamin) in 1852 and was intended to be 70 meters high but was abandoned at 26 metres after his death in 1856.
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A couple of partly corrected views using a fisheye lens which remain distorted but show something of the sense of scale.

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Across an open courtyard with the Kalta Minor in the distance.  The open doorway in the middle distance is I think the Information Centre, the small rectangular building at the right is the Zindan or jail and we are heading through the doorway at the right, into the Kuhkna Ark, or the Museum of Ancient Khorezm.
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… and in we go,,,

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This is not the main door to the Ark, it must be another one just inside.

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The Khans of Khiva had several residences but this is the original one and since it is fortified, it was a place of refuge in times of uncertainty.

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This is the Summer Mosque (1838) with tiles by Ibadullah and Abdullah Jin.

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Here is a closeup of some of the tiles.  My partner Jools who graduated in ceramics, tells me the glazing shows a high level of proficiency.

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Architecture, Art, Ceramics, History, Khiva, Kukhna Ark, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Uzbekistan .
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A section of the ceiling.

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Opportunity missed.  These caps look more interesting than some of the ones I purchased in Bukhara and Samarkand.

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From the Summer Mosque, we move on through the doorway at the right.

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On the other side are a few guards or policemen.  Three different uniforms and the ones one the right say “Milliy Gvardia” on the back meaning Uzbekistan National Guard so they are soldiers.  Probably all of them are.

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This is the Khurinish Khana or Throne room. There used to be a wooden throne gilded in silver but that was carried off to St Petersberg by the Russians and never returned.  Receptions were either in the (open three-sided) iwan in summer or in a warm yurt in winter, erected where the circular stonework is.

Uzbekistan these days is very safe and friendly but in the nineteenth century Khiva wasn’t a democracy and there could be savage penalties for minor infractions of religious rules.
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The top of a section of the walls.

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People from nearby areas come to the historic sites for wedding photos.  In this case a conjuring trick – the bride floating in the air.

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Behind them we see the crenulated outer wall of Khiva, potentially giving covering fire from a variety of angles.

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A view to the south west.

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Islam Khoja Minaret & the Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum.

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Kalta Minor and Amin Khan Madrassah (where we were staying).

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The Chinese New Silk Road is arriving in Uzbekistan, it seems.

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Crenulated city walls again.

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Tower and walls in the Ark.

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Part of an ancient door inside the Ark.

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… which we have now left.

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Looking back at the entrance to the Ark.

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(More on Khiva in the next post).

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(Technical note:  I processed these images in both Lightroom and Capture One.  About half are from each and three were processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Capture One has an advantage over Lightroom with selections and masks (so for processing regions), where colour is an issue, or with clarity.  Most of these images just received overall processing though.  If anyone wants to see whether they can detect any difference, images 1, 5, 8, 9, 13, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29,32, 33 36 and 37 were processed in Capture One, while images 10, 11 and 30 were processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.)