bukhara bazaarsFrom the Tok-i-Zargaron, the bustling commercial heart of the city snaked southwards through a street of shaded stalls, fortress caravan serais in Bukharaand domed Bukharan bazaars to form one of the most colourful and cosmopolitan trading grounds in the Islamic world. From dawn to dusk an endless procession of supercilious camels, heavily-laden donkeys and creaking arbas crashed through bursting streets in a chaotic exchange of insult and barter.

Turbaned Tajiks crouched in the dust, sparks flew from open workshops, deals were struck by secret handshake under outsized sleeves and agreements were sealed in wax by the rings of robed merchants. Saddles, ropes, gourds, skins, metal ewers, tobacco, tea and spices spilled out indiscrimi