Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara | Bolo Haus Mosque

Bolo-Hauz (Children’s Reservoir?) Mosque was reportedly built in 1712 by the Ashtarkhanid ruler Abul Fayud Khan (1711-47) for his mother, Bibi Khanum. Later it was apparently frequented by the emirs of Bukhara who lived in the nearby Ark.
Bolo Haus Mosque (click on photos for enlargements)
Bolo Haus Mosque
This short minaret was added to the complex in 1917 by Shirin Muradov, a famous Bukhara craftsmen.
 Bolo Haus Mosque
The entryway, or iwan, is a fairly recent construction, added to the mosque's eastern facade 1914-17 by the last Mangit ruler Sayyid Alim Khan (1910-20)
Detail of entrance to Bolo Haus Mosque
The porch in front of the Bolo Haus Mosque. The twenty columns are made from poplar, walnut, and elm wood. 
Porch of Bolo Haus Mosque
Detail of wooden columns of Bolo Haus Mosqueue
Detail of wooden columns of Bolo Haus Mosque
Detail of wooden columns of Bolo Haus Mosque

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | Naqshbandi’s Mother

A third of a mile north-northeast of the Tomb Complex of Naqshbandi, the seventh of the Seven Khwajagan Of The Bukhara Oasis, is the tomb complex of his mother. It is a favorite pilgrimage site for women. 
For more see Seven Saints of Bukhara: The Khwajagan, or Masters of Wisdom.
 (click on photo for enlargement)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #7 Naqshbandi

Muhammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshbandi (1318–1389) was the seventh of the Seven Khwajagan of the Bukhara Oasis. He is the eponym of the Naqshbandi Order which exists down to the present day. His mausoleum complex, seven miles east-northeast of Bukhara, is one of the most popular pilgrimages sites in Uzbekistan and is visited by Naqshbandis, other pilgrims, and tourists from all over the world. 
For more see Seven Saints of Bukhara: The Khwajagan, or Masters of Wisdom.

 (click on photo for enlargement)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mongolia | Zaisan Tolgoi | Fifth of the Nine-Nines | Tavisan Budaa Khöldökhgui

The Fifth of the Nine-Nines—nine periods of nine days each, each period marked by some description of winter weather—begins today, January 26. This is Tavisan Budaa Khöldökhgui, the time when “Cooked Rice Cannot Be Frozen.” I must admit I really don’t understand the definition of this period. It seems to me that cooked rice would be frozen at any temperature below freezing, and we can certainly expect colder temperatures than that during the last week of January and beginning of February. Anyhow, the Fourth of the Nine-Nines was supposed to be coldest of the Nine-Nines, but it turned out to be fairly moderate—yesterday the temperature got up to 6º F. in the afternoon. This morning, the first day of the 5th Nine-Nine, it was a mere 20 below 0º F at 7:00.

As all you Devotees of Sin (the God, not the act) know, the Full Moon occurs tomorrow at 12:39 p.m. This is the Wolf Moon, the winter moon when wolves experience the most hunger. Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian New Year, begins in seventeen days, on February 11. In case you are wondering, the Tsagaan Sar Countdown Clock on my blog counts down to the New Moon, which actually occurs at 3:20 p.m. on February 10. The Tsagaan Sar celebration starts the next day. As you probably know, this will be the Year of the Female Water Snake.  
When you are out for your pre-dawn constitutional this coming week might want to check out the waning moon gliding by Saturn around February 2nd and 3rd.
Graphic Courtesy of Sky and Telescope

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #6 Kulal

Sayyid Amir Kulal (d.1370) was the sixth of the Seven Khwajagan of the Bukhara Oasis.

Sayyid Amir Kulal’s mausoleum complex is located eight miles east of Bukhara.
Entrance to the mausoleum complex of Sayyid Amir Kulal . . . For more see Seven Saints of Bukhara: The Khwajagan, or Masters of Wisdom.

 (click on photo for enlargement)
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #5 Samasi

I spent most of the morning tramping around the ruins of Varakhsha, the ancient city on the western edge of the Bukhara Oasis which once served as the seat of the kings of the region. Leaden skies loomed overhead and gusting winds swept snow flurries through the ruined walls and battlements. In the first millennium the city was well within the boundaries of the Bukhara Oasis; now it is on the very edge, with desert stretching off the west. 
Ruins of Varakhsha (click on photos for enlargements)
Shortly after noon we left for the mausoleum of Muhammad Baba as-Samasi. My driver had been to the mausoleum before, but he had gone there directly from Bukhara. He was not quite sure how to get there from the ruins of Varakhsha. We drove north a few miles and found ourselves in the desert.  At a  crossroads we stopped to ask directions from a man passing by on a tractor.
Desert at the first crossroads
The wind had picked up, blowing fresh snow flurries almost vertically across the sand. Following the tractor driver’s directions we soon found ourselves amidst the barren and fallow fields on the cultivated edge of the oasis. We came to crossroads with no idea which way to go. We drove on a couple of miles before encountering a car coming the other way. The driver informed us we were going the wrong way. We had to go back to the crossroads and turn right. We followed the road to the right a couple of miles and came to another crossroad. The last man we talked to had not mentioned this crossroad. We turned right and drove four or five miles until we came to small house set back off the road. We stopped and the driver went to the door to ask for directions. We had taken a wrong turn at the last crossroads. We returned and turned right again. We must have gone through eight or nine crossroads before we finally found ourselves in the parking lot of Muhammad Baba as-Samasi mausoleum. It had taken us an hour and a half to get here, although I later discovered the mausoleum is only eight miles from Varakhsha. 
Western edge of Bukhara Oasis showing Varakhsha and the Mausoleum of Samasi 
My driver, who was wearing only a sports coat, and I hurried through what seemed like gale-force winds from the parking lot to the entrance portal. 
Portal of the Samasi Mausoleum . . . For more see Seven Saints of Bukhara: The Khwajagan, or Masters of Wisdom.

 (click on photo for enlargement)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #3 Faghnawi

The third of the Seven Khwajagan of the Bukhara Oasis was Mahmud al-Injir al-Faghnawi (1227–1317). He was the disciple of Arif ar-Riwakri. His mausoleum, in a small village twenty-one miles north of Bukhara, is now a popular pilgrimage site. 
Entrance to the al-Faghnawi Comple . . . For more see Seven Saints of Bukhara: The Khwajagan, or Masters of Wisdom.

 (click on photo for enlargement)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #2 Riwakri

The second of the Seven Khwajagan of the Bukhara Oasis was Arif-Riwakri (d. 1239). He was one of the four main students of Ghujdawani and the direct inheritor of his teachings. He was now buried in the village of Safirkon (apparently at one time known as Riwarkar), twenty-five miles north of Bukhara. 
Mosque at the burial site of Riwakri . . . For more see Seven Saints of Bukhara: The Khwajagan, or Masters of Wisdom.

 (click on photo for enlargement)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara Oasis | Khwajagan | #1 Ghujdawani

 According to Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani:

The designation of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain has changed from century to century. From the time of Abu Bakr as Siddiq [573 CE–634 CE, a companion and father-in-law of Muhammad and the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad’s death] to the time of Bayazid al-Bistami [804–c.874] it was called as-Siddiqiyya. From the time of Bayazid to the time of Adb al-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani it was called the at-Tayfuriyya. From the time of  Adb al-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani to the time of Shah Naqshbandi it was called the Khwajaganiyya. From the time of Naqshband through the time of Ubayd Allah al-Ahrar and Almad Faruqi, it was called Naqshbandiyya . . . And today it is known by the name Naqshbandiyya-Haqqaniyya.
It is the Seven Khwajagan, or Masters of Wisdom, all of whom were born in the Bukhara conurbation, who concern us here. These are:
  1. Al-Ghujdawani (d.1179)
  2. Arif ar-Riwakri (d.1219)
  3. Mahmud al-Injir al-Faghnawi (d. 1315)
  4. Ali ar-Ramitani (d.1315/1321)
  5. Muhammad Baba as-Samasi (d.1354)
  6. Sayyid Amir Kulal (d.1370)
  7. Muhammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshband (1318–1389)
The Bukhara Khwajagan were buried in the Bukhara Oasis and today their tombs are pilgrimage sites. Ghujdawani was born and buried in the city of Ghujdawan, twenty-seven miles northeast of Bukhara. 
 Tomb of Ghujdawani with the Ulugh Beg Madrassa behind . . . For more see Seven Saints of Bukhara: The Khwajagan, or Masters of Wisdom.

 (click on photo for enlargement)

Mongolia | Zaisan Tolgoi | Fourth Nine-Nine | Dönön Ükhiin Ever Khöldöne

The Fourth of the Nine-Nines, known as Dönön Ükhiin Ever Khöldöne—Time When Four Year-Old Cows’ Horns Freeze—begins today, January 17. This is supposed to be the coldest of the Nine-Nines, nine periods of nine days each, each period marked by some description of winter weather. But actually we are having a bit of a warm spell. Yesterday it was a mere minus 15 Fº (–26º C. for you unrepentant Celsius freaks) at 7:30 a.m. and today the temperature at 7:30 is the same. It got above 0º F the last several afternoons, and the high today is forecast to be 7º above F. (–14 Cº), virtually shirt-sleeve weather for Mongolia in January. So it is a bit warm for This Time Of The Year

Monday, January 14, 2013

Uzbekistan | Bukhara | Jewish Quarter

Just south of Trade Dome #1 is Bukhara’s Jewish Quarter. There had been a big Jewish community in Bukhara for centuries and during the nineteenth century it seemed to have flourished, considering the luxurious mansions which many Jewish traders built at the time. After the fall of the Soviet Union many members of the Bukhara Jewish community emigrated to Israel, the U.S.A. and other countries. A few stayed behind and some have renovated the mansions of their families into Guesthouses. Others sold their properties to individuals in Bukhara who have either turned them into guesthouses or use them as private residences. Some were sold to gadabouts and adventuresses seeking second homes in Bukhara. While in Bukhara I visited one of these second homes which is now under renovation. 
Street in the Jewish Quarter (click on photos for enlargements)
 Entrance to mansion in the Jewish Quarter
 The extensive quarters of the mansion are built around a courtyard. This is the main part of the compound, including the big dining room on the first floor. 
 Some of the other buildings surrounding the courtyard
 The Dining Room, always a prominent feature in the homes of the Jewish merchants of Bukhara
 Entrance to the Dining Room 
Decoration in Dining Room
 Decoration in Dining Room
 Decoration in Dining Room
 Decoration in Dining Room
 Decoration in Dining Room
 Decoration in Dining Room
 Decoration in Dining Room
Mausoleum of a Sufi holy man in the Jewish Quarter
This photo of Jewish boys and their teacher was taken in 1910 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii in Samarkand, but presumably the Jewish people of Bukhara looked much the same at the time.

See Illuminating Jewish Life in a Muslim Empire for an intriguing story about the Jewish community a thousand years ago in Afghanistan, just to the south of Uzbekistan.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Uzbekistan | Samarkand | Shah-i-Zinda

Wandered by the Shah-i-Zinda (The Living Prince) complex in Samarkand, built in large part by Amir Timur (a.k.a Tamerlane, 1336–1405) as a burial place for his female relatives, although others are also buried here.  The entrance portal was added later by his grandson Ulugh Beg ((1394–1449). 
Entrance Portal (click on photos for enlargements)
 Entrance Portal and front of complex
 Steps leading from the Entrance Portal to the mausolems
 Front of one of the mausolems
 Detail of front of one of the mausolems
 Detail of front of one of the mausolems
Detail of front of one of the mausolems
 Detail of front of one of the mausolems
Detail of front of one of the mausolems
Detail of front of one of the mausolems
 Detail of front of one of the mausolems
 Detail of front of one of the mausolems
Interior of one of the mausoleums. Buried here were Amir Timur’s favorite niece, her sister Turkhan Aka, and two others, one apparently a child. Not clear which tomb is which. 
 Interior of the mausoleum of Amir Timur’s favorite niece
  Interior of the mausoleum of Amir Timur’s favorite niece
 Dome of the mausoleum of Amir Timur’s favorite niece. Due to a curious optical illusion it looks convex. It is of course concave. 
 Interior of the mausoleum of Amir Timur’s favorite niece
 Interior of the mausoleum of Amir Timur’s favorite niece
 Apparently the tomb of one of Amir Timur’s wives
An unusual octagon shaped tomb
Base of the Octagon Tomb. Historians say this was the foundation of a building which pre-dated the Mongol Invasion of Samarkand in 1220. The original building was destroyed in the invasion. 
 More mausoleums
More mausoleums
 Detail of mausoleums
 Detail of mausoleums
 Detail of mausoleums
Looking back toward the entrance
 Another mausoleum
  Detail of mausoleum
Looking toward the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas Mosque complex
Wooden door to the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas Mosque complex
Detail of wooden door to the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas Mosque complex
Detail of the door. The inscription on the column gives the name of the man who carved the door and when it was made: 1404-05
The complex is said to have included some structures which survived the destruction by the Mongols of the original buildings which stood on this site . For instance, just inside the main door is the base and entryway to a minaret said to date to the pre-Mongol era. The top of the minaret itself was destroyed by the Chingisids but the base and entryway were incorporated into the now-existing structures.
 Woman praying in the mosque part of the complex
This door is said to led to an underground chamber where Sufis used to do 40-day meditation retreats
Interior of the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas Mausolem. According to legend he was a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad who accompanying a raiding party to Samarkand in 676. He was killed and buried here. His original mausoleum was apparently destroyed by the Mongols. The current mausoleum probably dates to the Timurid era. 
Details of the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas Mausoleum
The tomb of the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas is behind the wooden fretwork.
 Another mausoleum behind the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas complex
  Detail of mausoleum behind the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas complex
  Detail of mausoleum behind the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas complex
   Detail of mausoleum behind the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas complex
  Detail of mausoleum behind the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas complex
  Detail of mausoleum behind the Kussam-Ibn-Abbas complex
I don’t usually take photos of people at places like this, but as I was leaving this guy came up to me and insisted that I take a photo of him and his family. 
Love those bangs!