A visit to a silk road jewel

Bukhara Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 13 › view all entries
Gabriel playing with the donkey that Mullah Nasruddin is riding, in front of Lyabi Haus

Bukhara is one of the best preserved of the ancient silk road cities.  It sits in Western Uzbekistan, and was a vital part of the road network that stretched from the shores of the Mediterranean to China via Meshad, Merv, Bukhara, Samarkand, and Kashgar. 

Our visit to Bukhara had several purposes.  First of all, my wife and I had lived there for two years, and we still own a beautifully restored courtyard house in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.  We love the place and wanted to spend some time there again.  But also, we wanted our friends in the city to meet our youngest, Silas, who had turned one just a few months before. 

One of the most wonderful things about Bukhara is the network of winding alleys that are too narrow for cars and that open up unexpectedly to quiet reflecting pools of water surrounded by trees.

Laura and the kids, hopping on a "camel" in front of Lyabi Haus
  It is impossible to wander through the city without getting lost in the maze of alleys, but that is the whole charm to the old city.  Even after years of living in the city, I would make a wrong turn and suddenly find myself facing the most amazing mosque covered with tiles, or a quiet place to sit and feed the birds.  Even locals will get turned around, and passers-by will offer friendly advice on how to get to where you are going.

We spent most of our days visiting friends.  Each visit is invariable made into a multi-course meal, no matter what time of day, and no matter how many other homes we may have visited that day.  It was like having thanksgiving lunch five times a day for a week straight!  We had a wonderful time sitting on the foor of 200-year-old homes with elaborately carved ceilings visiting with our neighbors and friends.

Samoni Mausoleum
  We did have time to wander around town with the two boys (Gabriel was now 3). 

The weather in November was perfect for this trip, and the boys loved running down the alleys on our way to the different homes.  Because there are no cars, they had much more freedom than they usually do at their tender age, and they took full advantage of it.  But every evening we would find their pockets stuffed with sweats and dried fruit.  Anytime we were not looking, friendly grandmas would fill their pockets with all kinds of treats, which they would proceed to eat at any moment they were not sitting down at a meal.  It was children's paradise, and we decided that a week of candy and snacks would do no long term damage to our active boys.

We were sad to have to leave the city.  We wished we could stay for longer, but unfortunately, as happens with every good trip, time is never enough, and it was time to move on.  But an adventure awaited us!  We were off to Turkmenistan!  We had one backpack for all four of us (we travel light) and a new dictatorship to discover. 

Andy99 says:
Great blog on a fabled destination!
Posted on: Jul 05, 2007
petrarchanprincess says:
Ha! All those sweets, I hope they didn't get stomach aches! Sounds like some really nice ladies.
Posted on: Mar 12, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Gabriel playing with the donkey th…
Gabriel playing with the donkey t…
Laura and the kids, hopping on a …
Laura and the kids, hopping on a …
Samoni Mausoleum
Samoni Mausoleum
The Big Minaret (Minori Kalon) and…
The Big Minaret (Minori Kalon) an…
Chashme Ayub or Jobs well in Bukh…
Chashme Ayub or Job's well in Buk…
Emirs Summer Palace, outside of B…
Emir's Summer Palace, outside of …
Market scene
Market scene
Central Mosque, known as the Masji…
Central Mosque, known as the Masj…
Bukhara
photo by: Vlindeke