"inside the Ark fortress" Ark - Bukhara Fortress Tip by josephescu
Ark - Bukhara Fortress, Bukhara: 24 reviews and 46 photos
Today the Ark is entered from the austere and forbidding western façade. Originally a second, southern Kalon Gate gave direct access to the Friday Mosque. The present gateway built in 1742 consists of 2 towering bastions linked with a balcony of six porticoed windows. Up to the turn of the century Bukhara?s only mechanical Arabic clock hung from the gateway, the desperate work of captive Italiann clockmaker Giovanni Orlandi. Orlandi had been abducted to Bukhara by a band of Turkmen slave traders, but had temporarily managed to buy his life by offering to make a customised clock and telescope for the gadget-crazy emir. When, however, the emir dropped his favourite telescope from the top of a 0inaret and the infidel Orlandi was discovered drunk with an Armenian acquaintance, he was again sentenced to death.
Pass by narrow winding arcades, the road climbs alongside the infamous row of cells and torture chambers up into the heart of the Ark. At the top of the walkway one reaches the deeply carved mushroom topped stalactite pillars of the court mosque, now a small museum of calligraphy. Next to the mosque stands the embassy of Kosh Begi, which houses a new exhibition of regional archaeology.
Countless harem bedrooms that the emir would have made up at any one time to minimize the risk of assassination. It is perhaps here, buried deep behind two city walls, wrapped in the imposing bastions of a fortress and concealed in a maze of bedrooms, that the root of the emirate?s introspection and isolation is most tangible.
An excellent aerial view of the Ark rewards anyone brave enough to ascend the rather unstable lift of the nearby water tower. While inside the Ark, you may be approached by one of the guards with the code word ?Panorama?, i.e. to stroll around the un-restored sections of the Ark, (over 80% of its total surface( for a 1 dollar baksheesh. The views over the Kalon Minaret and old town are the best you can buy.
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