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History of Bukharan Jews
Itinerary:Tashkent - Samarkand - Shahrisabz - Bukhara - Khiva - Urgench - Tashkent
Duration:13 days / 12 nights
Itinerary of «History of Bukharan Jews»Day 01: Arrive Tashkent – Flt
Meeting on arrival assistance and transfer to Hotel
Full day sightseeing tour of Tashkent – we shall visit the Hast Imam complex, the Barak Khana, the archives of Tila Shaikh mosque. Later proceed to Chorsu bazaar, Kukeldesh Madrassah, Akbar’s pottery museum, the Friendship Square, Museum of Applied Arts
The History Museum – see the old Torah
Also visit the Navoi Theatre
Evening visit the Tashkent Synagogue and Sukhnut center
Meals and overnight
Morning depart for Samarkand enroute short stops at the road side market
On arrival transfer to Hotel
Later in the evening we shall visit the local Synagogue
Afterwards we shall have special meal at the house of Boris & Nina the local Jewish couple known for making the best Kosher meal
Day 04: Samarkand
Full day sightseeing tour of Samarkand visit Registan square to see the three beautiful Madrassahs, later proceed to Bibi Khanum mosque, the Silk Road bazaar and Shahi Zinda necropolis
Later visit the Jewish Mohallah(quarters) dates 1893 – we shall visit the old Synagogue and shall have our lunch at the same place
later continue the tour visit Afrosiab Museum and site, Ulugbek’s Observatory and Gur Emir, the mausoleum of Tamerlane
Dinner will be at the House of rich Jewish merchant Abrahamov Kalantarov built
Day 05: Samarkand
Day will be spent to explore and visit the Jewish quarters visit the local Jewish family houses and see their way of life
Day 06: Samarkand/Shakre sabz/Bukhara – 428 kms
Morning depart for Bukhara enroute visit Shakre sabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane.
We shall visit the Ak Saray Palace ruins, Dorus Tilavat seminary, the Kok Gumbaz Mosque, Dorus Saidat and the Friday mosque
Later continue to Bukhara and on arrival transfer to Hotel
Day 7: Bukhara
Full day sightseeing tour of Bukhara – Poi Kalon minaret and mosque.The maddrassahs Aziz Khan and Ulugbek.
Later visit Lyabikhauz, Devanbegi, Khanaga, Mogaki Attari mosque, Tilpak Farushan
Afternoon we shall explore the Jewish quarters – visit the local Synagogue, the Jewish houses and take part in the evening prayers
Day 08: Bukhara
Full day sightseeing tour of Bukhara visit Arg Fortress, Balakhauz mosque, Ismail Samanid mausoleum, Chasma Ayub and the local market
Later visit the local Jewish school in the Jewish quarters
Excursion to Sitora-i-Mokhikhosa, the summer residence of the former emir of Bukhara
Evening see the folk show in madrassah
Day 09: Bukhara
Day free to explore the Jewish quarters, the covered bazaars of Bukhara and the Local people of Bukhara
Day 10: Bukhara/Khiva – 450 kms
Morning depart for Khiva via Kizilkum desert(red sands) enroute short stop at the sight of Amudarya(Oxus river)
on arrival transfer to hotel
Day 11: Khiva
Full day sightseeing tour of Khiva – visit the walled city on foot – we shall see Ichan Kala Kalta minor, Kunya Ark, madrassah Rakhimkhon, workshops for the development of handicrafts, the mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud, Islam Khodja minaret and museum, the Friday mosque, Tashovli harem/palace and the Caravan Bazar
Day 12: Khiva/Urgench – 30 kms
Urgench/Tashkent – Flt
Morning depart for Urgench airport for flight to Tashkent and on arrival transfer to Hotel
Rest of the day free to explore Tashkent
Day 13: Tashkent/Depart – Flt
Transfer to airport for flight to your destination
Assistance on departure
Details of itinerary & mapBeing the hub of Central Asia and an important town on the Great Silk Road, Bukhara had the traditional attraction for the settlers seeking trade. We do not know exactly when did the Jewish settlements started in Central Asia, but form the historical fact their presence in the region is no less than eight hundred years ago. However the local Jewish community says that their presence in the region could be as early as 7th BC after the destruction of the temple of Solomon begins the exodus of Jews which continues for several centuries. During these periods of roaming in the far of lands a considerable part of the tribes moved into Iran and onwards into Afghanistan and Central Asia and continued their settlements. It is obvious from the continuation Biblical names till now very much confirms the fact that these tribes did move into these parts. Much of the Jewish historical fact comes from the time of Genghis Khan’s invasions when many Jews also suffered the manslaughter carried by the Mongols. But it was more to be credited to Tamerlane’s rule who had adopted the Jews as artisans and builders into his kingdom enrolling them into his spirit of making of Samarkand as a worldly capital. The traditions of ancestry continues with the migrations taking place one after another and people continue their settlements from place to place.
The local Jews more prominently called Bukharan Jews are a settled community who must have come here as traders and artisans and with the passage of time adopted the local traditions and language. Bukharan Jews were under tremendous pressure from the emirate authority to convert to Islam for a long time so much so that they had abandoned their praying rites and they had lost a considerable amount of spiritual knowledge of Judaism. It was then the task of Yosef Maimon, a Moroccan Sephardic Jew who traveled in 1793 to Bukhara, was disappointed to see the worsening conditions of the Bukharan Jews decided to settle there. He became a spiritual leader with the ambition of changing the conditions of the local Jews and to educate them. He changed their Persian Jewish traditions to Sephardic and revived the community’s true Jewish traditions. This was the time when many Middle Eastern Jews came to Bukhara and submerged into the local community. Though assimilated in costumes and language, the Jews of Bukhara continued their religious fervour and association with Jewish culture in good and hard times. They speak a Persian dialect more commonly known as Bukharan Tajik has many Hebrew words. During the early Khanate or Emirate times of Bukhara, the local Jews who were subjected to harsh treatment and were forced to pay the annual tax of jizya but later days of the emirates they enjoyed a considerable immunity being the men of art and crafts.
The first synagogue in Central Asia was built in 17th century AD by then a rich local Jewish community had sprung up with control of local trade. This can still be judged by the rich style of houses left by the emigrating Jews. The Jews living in Bukhara are Mizrahi Jews or who profess more traditional Sephardic Judaism. They are mainly descended from the Jewish communities of Middle East like the Syrian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Yemenite or the Persian.
In 1843 a new Jewish quarter in Samarkand sprung up under the name Mahallah-i-Yahudion which was established on a plot purchased from the Emir of Bukhara. The house built there were mostly on local design and conditions conducive to local weather. But interestingly the houses of rich people were more elaborate with ganch work. The plan of the houses followed the local traditions of division with separate part for the woman called zenana or bibichakhona and the other one called hujra or mehmankhona was mostly for the men and often one the rooms were used as private synagogue.
Synagogue of Rafael Abramov
This is one of the interesting private synagogues of Samarkand and was owned by a rich merchant family. Rafael Abramov was originally from Afghanistan and came to Samarkand as merchant. The house has typical construction with divisions according to local traditions and a room dedicated to synagogue. The rooms have intricate ganch décor which adds to its traditional beauty. There are series of painted panels depicting holy places and scenes from Jerusalem.
House of Abraham ben Issac Kalantarov
This house with a small synagogue was built for rich merchant Issac Kalantarov in 1911-16 by architect T. Nelle. The owner could only stay for a short time before it was taken over by the communists as their headquarters for Samarkand. Later served as a Museum for Regional Studies. The building depicts a traditional mixture of Central Asia and Russian architecture
In 1865 when Tashkent was taken over by the Russian troops a lot of Jews migrated to newly independent land of Turkestan where they could independently practice Judaism without discrimination. It was then a rich Jewish community sprung up trading in cotton and other commercial fields. The freedom of religion had given them a strong sense of come back and we see many Jews excelling in various fields. Then after the Bolshevik revolution a general change had happened in the life style and traditions of the local
population and Jews were also effected by this change. This again reverted after the creation of Israel that many adopted to migrate to the new land of hope. After the second
world war a large number of Ashkenazi Jews were settled in many parts of Central Asia
including Samarkand and Tashkent but these were very different than the traditional Jewish community of Bukhara.
Tour cost in USDPrice available on request.
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