In late May the central Asian city of Bukhara showcases the splendid heritage and arts of the Uzbek people living along the famed Silk Road. The city’s UNESCO – protected 2,000-year old town whose urban fabric has remained largely intact for at least the last two centuries is adorned to suit the occasion. Medieval decorations line its streets, public buildings and squares where traditional parades, dances, and musical performances take place.
Photographer: Ning Yu Pao
The festival marks the reawakening of life after the long and frigid winter. Shopkeepers, merchants and craftsmen display their fine objects and artefacts in silk, cotton, leather Karakul lambs’ fleeces, silver, gold, glass, copper and more in the city’s most beautiful buildings. Masters in gold embroidery and carpet-weaving demonstrate their fine skills in competitions held around town ensuring that the traditions of Bukhara’s distant past are preserved and passed on to future generations.
To top it all the huge spice bazaar provides a wonderful opportunity to loose yourself in the maze of colour and smells from the herbs and spices used to create the flavours of its rich national cuisine.
“Festivals are the living dancing museums of cultures and traditions”
National Geographic Society
May is the ideal month to be in Uzbekistan
At this time nature comes alive with the colours of tulips in bloom and the smells of the ripening fruits of the apricot, walnut and pistachios trees that give the city its character of an oasis at the crossroads of the ancient trade routes on the edge of the Red Sand and Black Sand deserts in the Zerafshan River Delta in central Uzbekistan.
In 1993 UNESCO recognised it as a “monument city” for the consistency of style of the hundreds of well-preserved and incredibly beautiful mosques, madrassas, bazaars and caravanserai erected predominantly between the 9th to the 17th centuries. Bukhara is just one of the jewels of Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s cradle of culture and home to other evocative places such as Khiva and Samarkand which can provide a great opportunity to understand the history and evolution of the peoples and cultures along the Great Silk Road from China to the shores of the Mediterranean.
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