On the way back to the hotel we bought an ice cream each at a stall beside Lyabi Hauz, then, while Hilary rested in our room, I went to Char Minar because the streets around it had looked so promising earlier in the day. I walked part of the way with two young women carrying food they had bought in the bazaar.
The area proved an excellent one to explore. Although the streets were overwhelmingly residential with lots of old houses, some small-scale, rust-bucket industrial plant remained, as did a few notable monuments other than Char Minar itself (e.g. small mosques). One such monument was a small caravanserai carefully restored in recent times with French money and now Bukhara’s French Cultural Centre. I also saw an open doorway leading into a large courtyard along one side of which was a large house dating from the 19th century. The house had a wide veranda with a roof supported by carved wooden columns. The veranda and the land immediately in front of it were littered with old household furniture, kitchen utensils, clothes, carpets, knives and pottery. Little attempt had been made to arrange the items artistically, which made the visit all the more interesting. Items of little interest to most people today had found their way into someone’s private collection that members of the public could examine if they had the time and/or inclination. I also visited a barber’s shop where two men were having their hair cut.
By now the sun was sinking and, with the light improving all the time, I could not resist one last visit to the area around Kalon Minaret, but on this occasion I meandered along back streets different to those followed the two previous evenings. Although a few women sat on steps leading into their courtyards and a large dog lay on the ground with its eyes shut, the area was even quieter than the evening before.