"… the beauty of the Spirit" Top 5 Page for this destination Bukhara by toonsarah

Bukhara Travel Guide: 374 reviews and 986 photos

Mir-i-Arab Madrassah, Bukhara

A traditional saying tells us that:

“Samarkand is the beauty of the earth, but Bukhara is the beauty of the spirit.”

and another that:
”In all other parts of the globe light descends upon the earth; from holy Bukhara it ascends.”


Certainly, this is where Uzbekistan really came to life for me. In the ancient streets of Bukhara history weaves itself effortlessly around the present-day lives of its people. Here you get a real sense of continuity – the world of the Silk Road caravans isn’t preserved in the aspic of Khiva, nor tucked into islands among the modern day bustle of Samarkand, but is an ever-present backdrop to daily life.

To walk these streets, duck through the low arches of the caravanserai and trading domes, sit for a while over green tea by the pool of Lyab-i-Huaz; this is what people of this city have done for centuries.

What to see

The people of Bukhara seem proud of the large number of historic monuments in their city. There are a number of unmissable individual sights, including the Ismael Samani Mausoleum, the Bolo Xauz Mosque, the Ark (fortress), the Poi Kalon ensemble (mosque and madrassah), the Chor Minor, the unusually decorated Nadir Divanbegi Madrassah and many others, as well as the trading domes mentioned above.

But do try to make some time simply to wander the streets or sit for a while in a Lyab-i-Hauz chaikhana to absorb the special atmosphere which for me was one of the main highlights of Bukhara.

Bukhara is quite compact and all the sights of the old town are easily explored on foot. As the Lyab-i-Hauz is so unmissable and is very much the heart of the city I’ve given most of my directions from here. Our guidebook (see below) did include a map indicating the main street names but I for one didn’t spot a single road sign, so follow my directions, ask locals the way or simply wander and see where your footsteps take you.

Here, that is certain to be somewhere captivating.

About my Uzbekistan pages

1. On the whole, I’ve written tips about the local customs and way of life on my Uzbekistan page. I’ve also included there some general information on things like packing, planning your visit etc. and some warnings. You may find some of this info duplicated here, but only where I feel it’s of particular relevance to do so.

2. Uzbek place names have several spellings. For instance, Khiva may also be spelt as Xiva or in the Cyrillic alphabet Õèâà. The same applies to the names, of people and places, so the Kalon Mosque is also called Kaylan. I’ve used the version taken from the excellent guidebook, “Uzbekistan: the Golden Road to Samarkand” (written by Calum MacLeod & Bradley Mayhew, published by Odyssey) which uses the most common form for well-known place-names (e.g. Tashkent rather than Toshkent) but adopts the newer Uzbek Latin spelling for street names, buildings etc.

3. Finally, and very importantly: in planning for and dreaming of my visit to Uzbekistan I owe so much to Ingrid (Trekki) who was always ready with advice and inspiration. Her Bukhara page inspired me and I'm sure it will do the same for you. Thank you so much, Ingrid :)

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Evocative heart of the Silk Road
  • Last visit to Bukhara: Jul 2007
  • Intro Updated Dec 24, 2011
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Reviews (32)

Comments (23)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Fine tips and photos! I had never heard about how a traditional Uzbek cradle is used. Funny to think about all those wet concubines waiting by the pool for the emir to throw his apple.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jun 5, 2010 at 3:24 AM

    Good for you, Sarah! You have visited all those splendid places....

  • nada1712's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2009 at 9:36 AM

    Your pages are extraordinary.

  • PierreZA's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2009 at 3:39 AM

    Great page with fantastic photos! Thank you for sharing

  • Jun 29, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    finally a few moments to come back as promised (to myself!) and view your page. chose the end of financial year to get away for a few minutes and continue the dream! lol. now back to the grind. awesome page sarah!

  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo
    Jun 18, 2009 at 11:56 PM

    I love Bukhara! And your pics and tips are excellent!

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    Genuine 5 star pages, thanks for sharing.

  • Dec 12, 2008 at 11:06 AM

    Excellent-Nice tips and nice pictures too!

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2008 at 6:45 AM

    Great tips! I never even knew this place existed, thanks for letting me know about it!

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2008 at 4:12 PM

    A very nice tour of Bukhara. Excellent photos. Thanks for sharing....

toonsarah

“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust”

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