Bukhara Favorites

  • Emir Alim Khan, the last Emir of Bukhara
    Emir Alim Khan, the last Emir of Bukhara
    by josephescu
  • Sunset over Bukhara from Kalon minaret
    Sunset over Bukhara from Kalon minaret
    by josephescu
  • headcovers on sale in former madrassahs
    headcovers on sale in former madrassahs
    by josephescu

Best Rated Favorites in Bukhara

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    How many days to plan for Bukhara ?

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Now how many days should you plan for Bukhara ? As I am living in Germany with that unbelievable amount of 30 plus days to spend for holiday per year, I don't really think about tight time schedules.

    But let me give it a try:
    Bukhara can be visited in 1 day, provided the visitor is used to seeing-all-in-1-day visits. But this implies minimum 1 night stay, better 2 nights.

    For a one day visit, I would suggest the following tour:
    Start early and visit:
    Chor Minor (the most important sight east of Lyab-i-Hauz),
    then walk westward to Zindon,
    visit the Ark,
    continue with Bolo Hauz Mosque and Ismail Samani Mausoleum.
    Walk back along Kaylon Square to Ulughbek and Amir Aziz Khan Medressa.
    From there, walk back to Kaylon Square, it should be late afternoon by now, so you can get marvellous photo opportunities of Mir-i-Arab Medressa near sunset time.
    Then continue to the Taq-i’s for some shopping.
    Finish your day at Lyab-i-Hauz, sip some tea, have some shashlyk and let the atmosphere fill you.
    Or enjoy one of the evening performances in Nadir Diwan-Begi Medressa .

    Fondest memory: However, I highly recommend a minimum of 2 days, or even 3, if time permits. The city is just too beautiful and offers so many relaxing places to race through it in only one day.

    For better viewing, I have enclosed 2 GoogleEarthMap shots, how the above mentioned walks would look like (scale included: length equals approx. 500 m).

    Bukhara city walk - east Bukhara city walk - west
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Architecture

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Opening hours, and “how much does it cost”

    by Trekki Updated Jan 9, 2007

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    Favorite thing: A recent conversation with a friend led me to the idea to make a short summary of opening hours and prices, to give you a rough overview of the costs you can expect for Bukhara. This all is as of summer 2006 and my travel style, which involves basic to medium accommodation and two meals per day plus snacks. And of course, visiting the sights.

    Opening hours:
    mostly from 9 am to 5 or 6 pm on “normal” days. Expect different hours for Fridays, as this is the “Sunday” in the Islamic world.

    Travel expenses – for 3 days plus 1 evening – per person:
    Accommodation costs (4 nights): 60 USD (including breakfast);

    Food costs: 23.000 som (equals 18 USD) ;

    Snack and water costs: 6000 som (equals 5 USD);

    Costs for visting sights including camera fee: 12.000 som (equals 10 USD).

    .
    Transport from Khiva to Bukhara in shared taxi: seat 15 USD
    Transport from Bukhara to Samarkand in shared taxi: seat 15 USD.

    Fondest memory: Usually, hotels and car transport (like shared taxi) are paid in USD, all other expenses are paid in local Uzbek currency, som.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Best time for photos – where and when

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Somehow, Bukhara city and all monuments are nicely located on an east-west axis, so that it is almost possible to “walk with the sun” and get good pictures of the sights.
    Chor Minor is easily photographed at any time of the day.
    If you are on the Ark in the afternoon, you can get good city views with the sun in your back.
    And Kaylon Square is a must at the time just before sunset.
    Mir-i-Arab Medressa looks almost like painted with gold.

    All my pictures here are shot at Kaylon Square, just before sunset.

    Fondest memory: Remember to take lots of film or camera chips, and make sure, all batteries are loaded (and that you have spare ones !)

    Mir-i-Arab just before sunset Kaylon Minaret, just before sunset Mir-i-Arab just before sunset Kaylon Minaret, at sunset
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    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Off path sights, which might be of interest

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: For those of you who decide to stay in Bukhara more than 2 days (and for my next visit, haha..), I’ll list some lesser known places to visit here:

    Khanqah Hoja Saineddin:
    This was once a hostel for pilgrims and is more a multifunctional ensemle with mosque, a mausoleum and a hauz.

    House of merchant Fayzulla Khujayev:
    This was the house of a rich merchant of 19th century, transformed into a museum now. Descriptions tell about delicious interior decorations and design in several rooms.

    Fondest memory: Medressas Abdullah Khan and Meder-e Khan:
    Another example of Kosh principle (two buildings facing each other – I will write about this under “Uzbekistan” country). Medar-e Khan was erected for the Khan’s mother.

    Sitora-i Mokh-i Hosa:
    This was Bukhara’s last Emir’s summer palace (19/20th century). It has a small museum inside by now, including exhibits about needlework of suzanis. Located 6 km north of town.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Architecture

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Further reading (websites)

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Some websites will give you further reading and information. Some are of travel agencies, but they still have a lot of interesting information.

    Travel Agency Orexa

    Sairam Tours - Bukhara

    Bukhara Tourist Association

    Bukhara’s website

    Bukhara at UNESCO

    The most facinating and very detailed site about Bukhara’s architecture however is available only in German. But I can highly recommend to read it, as Bernhard Peter has put a lot of effort and knowledge into it:

    Architecture of Bukhara

    Fondest memory: .
    (I might add more websites in the future, as I plan to come back)

    Bukhara backstreets
    Related to:
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    • Architecture
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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    People of Bukhara

    by toonsarah Updated Aug 23, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Even more than elsewhere in Uzbekistan, I remember especially the warmth of the people of Bukhara, so this tip is dedicated to them, including:
    ~ the children who clamoured to have their photos taken on the back streets of the city (see photo 2 and my Uzbekistan page for the full story)
    ~ another group of children, playing games outside the Kalon Mosque
    ~ the family of this scarf-seller (photo 3) who tried so hard to work out where we trying to go and give our taxi driver directions
    ~ the family at the Hotel Mosque Baland, who looked after us so well, with candles during the power cut, a cake for Georgina’s birthday and green tea whenever anyone wanted it
    ~ the friendly waitress who hurried to turn on the fans in the welcoming courtyard of the Silk Road Spices Café

    Children at play, Poi Kalon complex, Bukhara Children of Bukhara Scarf seller, Bukhara Georgina's birthday, Hotel Mosque Baland

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  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo

    Old Town

    by nepalgoods Written Sep 30, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Bukhara has a very beautifull Old Town with many fine Mosques and Medreses, which are newly renovated. But most of the big buildings are not used any more. So a big part of the Old Town looks like an openair-museum. The covered bazaars of 16th and 17th century are now big souvenir bazaars. In the bazaars the tradtion of trading is still alive in the dark shops. But if you step away from the tourist paths than you'll find narrow paths with old houses and working mosques. Bukhara offers many places to explore on your own.

    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel

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  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo

    Bukhara today

    by nepalgoods Updated Sep 30, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Bukhara is the center of the fertile oasis of Bukhara, in the middle of the sandy desert Kizilkum. From the River Amur Darja, which is about 200km away a channel brings water to the town. The colours of the city are the yellow of the adobe tiles and the blue of the cupolas. Since its beginning Bukhara has always been called "the Noble" (scherif in arabic language), because of its wealth and beauty.

    Today Bukhara has about 300.000 inhabitants and is the capital of the Bukhara district.

    Ark and Mosques Kalan
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  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo

    Names of Mosques and Buildings

    by nepalgoods Updated Sep 30, 2007

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    Favorite thing: I found it quite difficult to do the research about Bukhara and all the fine buildings because of the many differently written names of those buildings. The difficulties start already with the name of the city: In Germany we say Buchara, in English it is Bukhara or in older books Bokhara. In Uzbekistan it is called Buxoro.

    Another example:
    The wonderful Labi-Haus-complex. In German Language "Haus" means "house", which is quite irritating as the Labi-Haus-complex is no house at all but a complex of Mosques and Medreses. Other spellings are: Lab-e Haus-Complex, Lyab-i Hauz, Lyabi Khauz, Laby-khauz and so on. I am completely confused. What can I do? I decided to use mainly the spelling, that is also used in Wikipedia (english version): Lyab-i Hauz, even though I have to memorize it very hard to not forget this spelling.

    Lyab-i Hauz
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  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo

    Fountains and Ponds

    by nepalgoods Updated Oct 3, 2007

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    Favorite thing: In ancient times Bukhara was full of fountains and ponds, which brought a nice and cool climate into the city specially during the hot summer months. Many birds and specially storks lived in the city. Every tower was occupied by their nests. The fountains were also the places where the women met, when fetching water or washing their clothes. But open water also brought many severe diseases to Bukhara like Malaria, Typhus, Cholera and more. During the 1960s and 1970s the ponds and fountains were no longer supplied with water to dry them out. The storks have now completely vanished. On my Samarkand page I am going to tell you, where they found a new living.

    Now the old water supplies and the ponds are reconstructed to bring the water back to Bukharas public places.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Learning together

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Jan 17, 2012

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    Favorite thing: The old dilemma of should we or shouldn't we give children small things such as pens and pencils was resolved by everyone in our group contributing to a parcel of school materials to be given to a local school when we reached Bukhara, the city where our Uzbek travel agent had their office. We were delighted when she told us the school had invited us to visit them, and intrigued when we learnt it was the junior section of the Jewish school we were to see.

    The school is situated right in the heart of Bukhara's historic old city, just around the corner from the Synagogue and not 100 metres from the ancient mulberry tree-ringed pool of the Lyabi-i-Hauz. The senior school is in a seperate building nearby.

    Until Independence the school was solely a religious institution but became a secular school in 1994. It was certified by the Uzbekistan school system in 2000 and is now officially known as School 36. Although only about 50 families of Bukhara's once considerable Jewish community remain in the city, the school has an enrolment of some 160 children aged from 5-16. Not all the pupils are Jewish however. A resurgence in the desire for their children to learn Russian among some non-Jewish parents has seen some opting to send their children here as most lessons are conducted in that language. Attendance is free of charge with support coming from Israel and the Joint Distribution Fund. All the children learn Hebrew from an early age and Jewish history is also included in the curriculum. English lessons start with the move to secondary school. A huge sign in Uzbek, Hebrew, Russian and English on the wall leading in from the street door proclaimed "Good Luck to the Knowledge World" and the Uzbek and Israeli flags hung together in the courtyard.

    We visited a class of 10-11 year olds having their daily Hebrew lesson, were greeted in English by one bright lad, listened as they sang to us in Russian and in Hebrew and then were invited to look at their workbooks. The school's director arrived from the senior school where she had been taking a maths lesson and we spent some time in conversation with her - with three teachers, a school science technician and an historian in our group there were plenty of questions! Unfortunately, our bus was waiting to take us on the next leg of our journey and we couldn't accept her invitation to visit the senior school.

    Fondest memory: Searching around on the Internet for references to the school, I found a few pieces, the most recent dating from 2004. The picture they paint of the school is rather different from what we found. A few years ago the school seemed a rather sad place, shabby and run down, with little hope of a future. I can't say that's what we found. It may not stack up to much compared with Western schools but the classroom was bright and clean with basic supplies, the teacher young (her 3 year-old was sitting in on the class), the children were lovely and the Director quite dynamic. Having an opportunity to visit was a really great, something we all enjoyed and we came away feeling we had received every bit as much of a gift as those we had taken with us.

    Welcome to our school School 36 School activities Children
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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Bygone days

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Dec 1, 2009

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    Favorite thing: Looking at these marvellous photos, you could be excused for thinking they are modern day set-ups, people dressed and posed in vintage dress and settings. They're not - they are in fact entirely authentic, even to the colour. They were taken by Tsar Nicholas II's photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskill in the years just before the start of WWI. Prokudin-Gorskill was also a chemist who understood how colours worked together. He achieved these beautiful images by taking first a black and white image and then three photos in rapid succession, using red, blue and green filters. He then used a light projector with the same three filters to show the photos. The projector he used no longer exists, but modern digital technology has enabled the reproduction of his photos and you can see some of them displayed in one of the museums in Bukhara's Ark.

    Fondest memory: Photo 1 shows a melon seller in the bazaar. Today's melon sellers still tie their melons in exactly the same raffia slings. The melons of Uzbekistan were famously considered the best and sweetest to be had anywhere. They were packed into ice in special brass containers and sent by caravan as far afield as the courts of Baghdad, Isfahan and, once the railway arrived, Moscow and St Petersburg.

    Photo 2 - a textile seller in the bazaar in Samarkand. It's possible he's wearing his chapan inside out - floral fabrics were often used for the lining. The outer fabric was more likely to be adras - a cotton and silk mix, often dyed with ikat patterns.

    Photo 3 - A group of Bukharan Jewish boys with their teacher in the courtyard of the synagogue. The teacher wears the proscribed black and Jew's hat, the boys were not required to do so until they were older.

    Photo 4 - an official of the Emir's court, photographed outside the Summer Palace. His chapan is made from ikat dyed adras (cotton and silk) . He's not wearing the chapen of a taller man - the long sleeves were customary. We can see from the photo how the facade of the palace, now all white, was originally brightly painted.

    Photo 5 - the sacred well at the shrine of the sufi, Bahauddin Naqshband , Bukara's holiest place. A photo in the tip about the complex (see Off the Beaten Path) shows the well as it is today restored and brightly coloured.

    Come and try, melon of mine, sweeter than honey .. Textile trader Now, say after me ... On guard Sacred waters
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Cdnexpat's Profile Photo

    Well preserved and restored architecture

    by Cdnexpat Written Jul 17, 2005

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    Favorite thing: There is an abundance of places to visit in Bukhara. Plan on spending two days in order to see everything. You can also shop for Bukhara gold at the Ark, the most famous attraction. They have a large gold Bazar, and the gold is slightly red. It sold by weight, and tests are performed on site to determine its quality. Plan on spending some money if you have company, because Uzbek women love gold.

    Fondest memory: There is a small cafe/restaurant near a canal not far from the Ark, where they served us delicious sheshliks, downed with vodka and followed by dancing. Found memories.

    The Ark
    Related to:
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    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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  • josephescu's Profile Photo

    some history (II) - The Mongol Invasion

    by josephescu Written Jul 6, 2008

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    Favorite thing: In March 1220 the Mongol tide of calamity was spotted outside Bukhara’s gates, its troops more numerous than the locusts, each detachment like a billowing sea. 30.000 defensive troops sped to meet them and were slaughtered to a man. Genghis Khan rode to the Namazgokh mosque and proclaimed himself the Scourge of God; the citadel was taken, the city put to the torch and razed to a level plain. No man was spared who stood higher than the butt of a whip. Soon cartloads of booty and trains of slaves were seen sneaking away from the charred remains of the holy town, to be employed as human shields in the forthcoming assault on Samarkand. A refugee who finally managed to escape to Khorasan said of the massacre “they came, they sapped, they burnt, they slew, they plundered and they departed”.

    Years later the Khan’s grandson Hulaku again arrived at the city gates intent on plunder. He was met by a young boy, a camel and a goat. When he demanded to know why the city’s envoy was a mere baby, the boy replied “If you want someone larger, then talk to the goat. If you desire reason then talk to me”. Hulaku listened to the boy and the city was saved.

    Bukhara took a century to recover from the trauma, at which point it was taken, destroyed and depopulated by the Persian Khan Abaqa II. By 1366 ibn-Battuta recorded that “all but a few of its mosques, academies and bazaars are lying in ruins”. The once holy city had a “reputation for fanaticism, falsehood and denial of the truth”. The town glimmered again under the Timurids, but was never more than a faint shadow of Tamerlane’s capital at Samarkand.

    Bukharan panorama from the rubble of Ark fortress
    Related to:
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    • Castles and Palaces
    • Archeology

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  • josephescu's Profile Photo

    Siyavush - the founder of Bukhara

    by josephescu Written Jul 6, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Persian prince Siyavush who built a citadel here shortly after marrying the daughter of Afrosiab in Samarkand, is the traditional founder of Bukhara, but its growth has for centuries depended largely upon its strategic location on the crossroads to Merv, Gurganj, Heart, Kabul and Samarkand.

    The early town was taken by the Persian Achaemenids in the 6th century B.C., by Alexander the Great in 329 B.C. and by the empires of the Hephalite and the Kushan. In Sogdian times the town was known as Numijent and later renamed after the Sanskrit word for monastery, vikhara.

    the fire ordeal of Siyavush
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    • Archeology

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