"Bukhara the Noble," Top 5 Page for this destination Bukhara by TheWanderingCamel

Bukhara Travel Guide: 374 reviews and 986 photos

the Holy, "the most interesting city in the world"

So said Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India , about this most intact and extraordinary ancient city.

Nowhere else in Uzbekistan will you find such a fully occupied and intact Old City where people still live and work surrounded by the layers of their city's history.
Spend an evening around the pool of the Lyab-i Khauz in the centre of the Old City,
visit the great buildings,
wander the lanes and alleyways,
shop with barter and banter in the old trading domes
and you will feel the pulse of Central Asia in a way that no other city can provide.


That was written after our first visit to Bukharam back in May, 2005. How often in the last four years did thoughts of Bukhara come back to me? Often enough for me to know I was going to return, this time for longer and this time to stay right in the heart of the old city. I managed to do both this year, 2009, keeping a promise to myself and to the friends I'd told I'd take them with me.

Going back to places you have really loved is always a risk. Will it be as you remembered? Few places remain unchanged these days - will it have changed too much? Will you be disappointed?

The biggest change in Bukhara was the number of hotels and B&Bs that have sprung up in the old quarter of the city, though, for all we saw, there didn't seem to be a great many more tourists. There are so many places of interest to visit in Bukhara, the city seems able to absorb the tourists without them overwhelming the place. Only in some of the confined spaces of the Ark did they interfere with our access - as we no doubt did with theirs. Otherwise, we often seemed to be the only tourists around apart from when walking between one building an another.

Uzbek hospitality came to the fore as always - the dozens of emails that had flown back and forth between our agent and me as the trip was planned made us seem like old friends when we finally met; our hotel became our home from home; there was a very special encounter around a picnic table in a deserted Young Pioneers camp way out in the country ... each day brought new pleasures to add to the store of ones remembered from before.


The Bukhara I remembered was certainly still there - the wonderful ensembles of mosque, medressah and minarets; the mulberry trees still cast their shade around the Lyab-i-Khauz though there aren't so many old men sitting around as before; the trading domes and streets full of traders - the lifeblood of the city as they have been for centuries. A longer stay this time gave us the chance to visit more out-of-the-way places - the summer palace of the last Emir a glimpse into a world that has gone forever, a Sufi shrine testament to the strength of a faith that outlasted an alien regime.

I'm sure Lord Curzon would still find Bukhara as fascinating as he ever did.

  • Last visit to Bukhara: Oct 2009
  • Intro Updated Mar 3, 2014
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Reviews (49)

Comments (23)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Great that you returned to Bukhara and were not disappointed. Your texts and photos are highly informative and impressive! It does seem incredible that when the digging first began only the top of the old mosque was visible and that the street outside has now been excavated to its 12th century level. I was also very impressed with your detailed description of how they cook plov, and your visit to School 36.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 6, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    I learned some on the TV and read up on the people and culture here. You are far more lucky to have been and partaken in the wonders. Nice presentation of Bukhara.

  • Neilzonwheelz's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Leyle, I think it is time you produced a travel book, I love reading your pages and jealous of your sumptious pictures. Keep it up!

  • Dec 9, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    I feel sorry for that poor plasterer, after all that work having your hands maimed! there were some nasty buggers around back in those days!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2009 at 4:16 AM

    Oh Leyle, marvellous updates!! Your hotel and the owners sound so fantastic, I could jump in the next plane and stay with them and have trips arranged! Also the puppest are divine and ... I get hungry now!!

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2009 at 8:37 PM

    What fascinating tips about the Jewish school and Jewish life in Bukhara. I never realized there was still an active Jewish community there. Great stuff!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Nov 2, 2009 at 9:55 AM

    Leyle, fabulous page with brilliant photos and interesting info about Bukhara. Uzbekistan is still on my must visit list. Three weeks ago, I saw at least a train arriving from Tashkent at Moscow's Kazansky train station. :-)

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2008 at 3:38 PM

    Leyle, I enjoyed to read your Bukhara page. This summer I will visit Bukhara again after 22 years. Many places and buildings at your great pictures I can remember and many not.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2007 at 5:07 AM

    So enjoyed your descriptions of the four "M's" [minaret, mosques, medresas, and mausoleum]. Suzanis.. so amazing as are the other woven textiles. Delightful montage of children on Children's Day. Just incredible work.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2007 at 2:28 AM

    Another wonderful page Leyle with such evocative writing! You make me look forward to my visit in July so much :)

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