CENTRAL ASIA:: Soviet Cities of Legend

ON the remote and mysterious plain, the crenelated walls with their eleven great gates and 181 watchtowers gleamed in the night. "Seen thus," wrote British Traveler Fitzroy Maclean in Escape to Adventure—an account of his journeys in 1938 to forbidden parts of the U.S.S.R. —"Bukhara seemed an enchanted city, with its pinnacles and domes and crumbling ramparts white and dazzling in the pale light of the moon."

But in daylight, the tinkling of silver bells and the aromatic incense of another age vanished like a mirage in the Kara Kum Desert. A Red flag flapped on the 203-foot-high summit of...

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