|2010||Tentative list||Submitted as tentative site by State Party|Els Slots (The Netherlands):
Uzbekistan has selected 18 locations to be part of the international Silk Road nomination. They include archaeological sites of trade centers, buddhist temples, a citadel, a caravanserai, stupa's, mausolea, minarets and medressahs all over Uzbekistan. They do not double the current Uzbek WHS of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva by the way (though all of Silk Road fame).
On my recent trip to Uzbekistan, I visited 2 sites out of these 18: Chor-Bakr and the Bahoutdin Complex. Both are located a few km's outside of Bukhara.
Chor-Bakr is a 16th century necropolis, containing the family tombs of Abu-Bakr-Said (related to the Prophet Muhammad). From the 19th century on the site was developed further by adding a mosque, a khonaqo and a pretty little minaret. At my arrival at 9.30 I found the place deserted, except for a couple of parading peacocks. The complex anno 2010 has come a long way from this quote from my 1996 LP Central Asia ".. there's little sign of recent restoration". Chor-Bakr now looks as polished as all monuments in Bukhara. They even already have a Unesco sign! It is definitely a worthwhile site to visit though, very large, intact (or restored to look like that).
The Bahoutdin Complex is a much more lively site. This is an important Sufi shrine that attracts lots of locals. It houses the tomb of Bahoutdin Naqshaband, the 14th century founder of one of Central Asia's most influential Sufi orders. The complex around the marble tomb of Naqshaband has several lovely features. There's a neat turquoise pavillion, around which people circle 3 times for good luck. The same goes for a dead tree trunk on the grounds, under which people have to crawl. The site is quite spacious and is adorned by beds of roses. It is a pilgrimage site in action, but not too strict. Both local and foreign women enter with short sleeved shirts and without a head scarf. There's an ice cream seller on site, and people stroll around in groups or families just having a day out and taking photos. In retrospect, this was one of the most impressive sites that I visited in Uzbekistan.
Date posted: May 2010
Have you been to Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan? Share your experiences!