round 950 - Ebn Haukal
In all the regions of the earth, there is not a more flourishing or a more delightful country than this, especially the district of Bokhara. If a person stand on the Kohendiz (or ancient castle) of Bokhara, and cast his eyes around, he shall not see any thing but beautiful green and luxuriant verdure on every side of the country: so that he would imagine the green of the earth and the azure of the heavens were united: And as there are green fields in every quarter, so there are villas interspersed among the green fields. And in all Khorasan and Maweralnah [Transoxania] there are not any people more long-lived than those of Bokhara.
At Bokhara, within the city, there are bazars, where, on certain appointed day, the merchants assemble in great numbers and transact much business. Bokhara and its territories produce fine linen. I have heard a peculiar circumstance concerning the Kohendiz of castle of Bokhara, which is, that they have never brought out of it the bier or coffin of any prince and that any person once confined there is never seen again. It is said that the inhabitants of Bokhara are originally descended from an ancient tribe, which emigrated from Istakhar and settled there. The Samanian princes resided at Bokhara; the territories of which and Maweralnah were under their jurisdiction; the people of Bokhara were so obedient, and so observant of their treaties, that the sovereigns chose to resign among them. The kings of Khorasan were descended from the race of Saman. Ismael ben Ahmed resided there: the people of Khorasan had behaved treacherously towards him; and his children also resided at Bokhara. Before that, the government of Maweralnah dwelt in Samarkand, at Chaje, or Ferghanah; but once that the seat of government has been removed from Khorasan to Bokhara.
The Oriental Geography of Ebn Haukal
London 1800; Reprint Frankfurt/M. 1992