We had lunch at a city centre restaurant overlooking the Lyabi- Hauz reservoir and despite the freshness it provided some of us preferred to stay indoors, as the heat was visibly high. The buffet-like meal wasn't as interesting as the ones we had been having at people's houses,which naturally allowed us to immerse in the traditional cuisine.
Soon after the meal we headed towards the country side residence of the the Bukhara Emirs, the Sitor-i-Mokhi Khossa located 4 kilometres north of the city and which belonged to the last governing Emir of Bukhara, Said Alimkhan.
We had to get through a main entrance ark decorated with mosaic before walking into the inner yard with several galeries.
The main building of the Palace which comprised several rooms and premises for the emir was constructed under the supervision of Russian engineers, the exception being the "White Hall" which was built according to Bukharan artistic designs. Everything in those rooms seemed to blend perfectly from the warmth of the decorative colours to the artistic pieces. Luxury did play a role in the way we became impressed by those but I'd say it was the balance between the various elements that played the most important role.
We wandered about those in a sort of slow motion mood so as to capture every little element of the whole ensemble and I'd lie if I were to say that I was not mesmerised by the atmosphere.
Some buildings were added to the main complex still during the life of the Emir Khan, which now house the Museum of National clothes with a huge collection of "Suzane" (traditional hand embroidered covers), which I didn't photograph, because whilst in Khiva we had to pay one single photo tax, in Bukhara we had to pay one almost every time we wanted to take a photo of the interior of any monument or important building.
Once outside the Museum we came across an artist of miniature painting whose works of Art were breathtaking as far as the detail of certain facial features are concerned. Even those among us who were not particularly Art oriented got fascinated by his artistry. I couldn't resist buying one of the miniatures (in fact most of us couldn't), whose main theme was the trip carried out by Marco Polo along the Silk Road. In it some of the main characters who played an important role in the process and the well known Uzbek character Nasreddine with his donkey (I had already heard of and had a rather interesting story book for children from but whose nationality I didn't know to be Uzbek).
(To be continued)