Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday, April 27th, Bukhara, Uzbekistan


Yesterday, we drove to the birthplace of Tamarlane, 80 kilometers southwest of Samarkand in three passenger cars over some very magnificent mountains.  It was a beautiful trip because it was spring, and the mountains were free of snow.  Unfortunately for Tamarlane, he died in the beginning of winter in 1405.  He left specific instructions that he wanted to be buried with his family in his home town (his two sons which preceded him were already buried there), but the chaos of not naming an heir, plus the fact that it was winter and the snow kept his family from transporting his body over the mountains, prevented him from ever making it to his tomb.  He's still in Samarkand, where we visited him three days ago.

Near the site of his tomb is a huge set of arched gates, which once held a rooftop garden and a pool.  It is rumored that Tamarlane wanted to move his capital to his home town, and that this structure was evidence of his intentions.  A Spanish envoy who visited at the time wrote about it, and said that it was almost twice as high as it now is, and connected at the top.  Standing at the base, it's hard to imagine that such a building could have been accomplished.  

The tomb is nearby, and was found only accidentally in 1989, when two kids playing ball lost it down a hole.

Today, we drove for five hours to Bukhara, passed by a Caravan Saray (Old Silk Road hotel), had lunch near our hotel, and spent most of the day shopping.  We're now trying to figure out how to avoid excessive baggage charges on the flights home, and wishing we could have bought the stuff nearer the end of our trip.

To see some neat photos of Uzbekistan in the past, click on:
Old Silk Road

To see all of the photos taken yesterday and today, click on:
Tuesday, April 26th
Wednesday, April 27th

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