"Buhkara & the Holy Trade" Bukhara by josephescu
Bukhara Travel Guide: 374 reviews and 977 photos
The bustling commercial heart of the city snakes through streets of shaded stalls, fortress caravanserais and domed bazaars to form one of the most colourful and cosmopolitan trading grounds in the Islamic world, whose growth has for centuries depended upon its strategic location on the crossroads to Merv, Gurganj, Herat, Kabul and Samarkand. From dawn to dusk an endless procession of camels and heavily-laden donkeys crashed through bursting streets in a chaotic exchange of insult and barter. Five vaulted and domed bazaars (toks), covered busy road intersections, each monopolizing a separate trade to facilitate tax collection: jeweller’s bazaar (1570), cap makers bazaar, moneychanger’s bazaar, etc. So lucrative the trade was that at the turn of the 19th century Bukhara boasted 127 working madrassah and a mosque for every day of the year.
Today modern businessmen echo the call of ancestral traditions: metal chasers haunt the Jeweller’s bazaar, dressmakers and their looms revive the sale of silk in the Abdullah Khan Tim, booksellers, embroideries and Karakul milliners have set up shop in the Capmaker’s bazaar although free marketers in the moneychanger’s bazaar have been curbed by government policy.
In Bukharan backstreets Central Asian life reveals itself. Dogs yap, goats wander, children play in the dust and a whirling dervish lies hidden behind every corner. Many of its large monuments have been reconstructed to their former glory. However, the smaller ones are still in varying states of disrepair or disregard, hardly touched since they were locked up after the fall of the emirate.
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