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Travels on the Silk Road: Bukhara

The Kalon (= great) minaret of Bukhara greets the traveller in the flat Kyzyl Kum desert from far away. It is assumed that it served sometimes as a lighthouse to Silk road caravans. But mainly it was associated to the Juma mosque as a minaret. It has been built in 1127 on a special earthquake-adapted fundament (straw and camel dung mixed with mortar): during an earthquake the tower is supposed to be dislodged laterally from the broad fundament without crumbling. The tower was left intact during the sackings of Bukhara by Genghis Khan and later by Amir Temur (=Tamerlane) out of respect to the building, but the Red Army shot big holes into it. (The Bolsheviks had a hard time convincing Bukhara and it’s tyrant-Emir to succumb to the infidels. There are photographs in the Bukhara museum that show the streets of Bukhara littered with dead bodies.)

The Kalon is entirely built of bricks, bricks provide the structure and tiles of the same material the decoration. The style is influenced by the Persian Islamic culture brought to Bukhara by the (local) Samanid dynasty, although at the time of construction the local Turkmen Karakhitai dynasty was in power.

The slide was scanned, the sky blurred and lightened , smudges removed, the non-sky part sharpened.

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Additional Photos by Dietrich Meyer (meyerd) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 54 N: 651] (1628)
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