Bukharan Jews, ancient and modern*

The khanate, and later the amirate, of Bukhara was situated between the rivers Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya (the Oxus and Jaxartes of old), a land of high moun- tains, deserts and well-irrigated fertile plains. Its population comprised mainly Persian, Mongol and Turkic peoples, but there were also Arabs, Hindus and Jews. They had an ancient tradition of trade in agricultural produce, locally made cotton and silk materials, furs, horses – the famous horses of Ferghana were highly valued in China – and precious stones. The khanate was founded in the early 16th century and, from 1561 until its disappearance in 1920, the city of Bukhara was its capital. Other major towns, at different times, were Samarqand, Tashkent, Khoqand and Balkh. In the 2oth century the amirate was replaced by the Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Tajiskistan, Qirghizstan and Turkmenistan.

The information available on Bukharan Jews concerns mainly the early settle- ment and

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