Having been in existence for over two millennia, Bukhara has more than its fair share of historical and religious sights. The boundary of the old town is demarcated by the old city walls, which are largely gone except for a few sections. The city walls are usually indicated on maps to give you an idea on where the old town is. Most of the sights that are of interest to travellers are within the centre of the old town, so sightseeing in Bukhara can easily be done by walking.
Here are the sights I visited: Ismail Samany Mausoleum (the Samanids Mausoleum), Ark (the citadel), Jami Mosque, Chor Minor, Lyabi Hauz, Magoki Attari Mosque, Kalyan Mosque, Kalyan Minaret, Miri-Arab Madrasah, etc.
Bukhara was a major religious centre in the Islamic world, and Kalyan Mosque, along with Miri-Arab Madrasah and Kalyan Minaret, is a testament to its former glory. It was one of the most beautiful buildings built for religious purposes that I have ever seen! The view of the minaret along with the madrasah from Kalyan Mosque is absolutely stunning.
The area around Lyabi Hauz (a pond) is also very pleasant. There are some bronze statues of camels there. The chaihana (tea house) in front of Lyabi Hauz is rather expensive and touristy (even though the place is also frequented by many locals) but offers an excellent insight into local lifestyle. There are a few "taki" around as well, which are interesting. "Taki" is basically a roofed bazaar. It was built at intersections in ancient times.
Apparently, there used to be more "taki" in Bukhara before, and what is left has been converted into tourist traps (!), but it's still worth checking them out. Each "taki" had a name associated with the products or services offered there. Hence, the names: Jewelers' Taki, Money-Changers' Taki, etc. On the eastern side of Lyabi Hauz, one can see a magnificent building that is Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah. This madrasah is noted for the lavish exterior which features a couple of phoenix and some odd animals --- some of which are allegedly anti-Islamic. The madrasah these days is used for cultural venues. Dinner shows with traditional dancers are held twice every evening at the madrasah, which costs about US$10 per person.
I met up with the family from yesterday and went to lunch together.
Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah
We had some Uyghur-style Lagman, which was tasty! Although it was during the Ramadan, a couple of men were drinking beer at the place where we had Uyghur-style Lagman, and there were plenty of people having lunch. Yes... In spite of the history, Bukhara nowadays is largely secular. There is hardly any woman covered up in Paranji --- the Uzbek-style Islamic scarf. This was probably due to the 70-odd years of being part of the secular Soviet Union. But there is a sense that people's attitude towards life is influenced by Islam. People tend to be conservative in all areas but the religion. I guess that in the Soviet Union, certain aspects of Islam were strengthened, like family values, which would serve nation building. But that is just me thinking out loud... In any case, people in Bukhara were some of the gentlest, most helpful and most hospitable people I have ever encountered.
Bukhara Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Lagman is basically the Central Asian version of "udon". Lagman can be found all over Central Asia, with each region boasting its own distinctive styl… read entire review