Bukhara has buildings spanning a thousand years of history, and a thoroughly lived-in old centre that probably hasn’t changed much in two centuries. It is one of the best places in Central Asia for a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan… Hereunder, you’ll see the places that impressed me the most.
Sitori i Mokhi Khosa : The Palace of Moon & Stars, summer palace of the Bukhara khans built at the end of the 19th century. In the garden, surrounded with roses, with the breeze of May, I could feel like if I had walked in a European park.
Bahouddin Nakchband mausoleum
This guy founded the most common sufism obedience in Central Asia.
First time I buy apricot seeds, they are delicious. It is also the first time I get to see a dead mutton head in Central Asia.
The citadel walls
Or, more precisely, the ornamental camel who lives next by to attract tourists… I just love his haircut !
The Kosh Madrasa
Madrasas are islamic schools. those two are pieces of art, and the minaret is one of the highest I’ve ever seen.
There have been Jews in Bukhara since the 12th century, evolving into a unique culture with its own language, “Bukhori”, which is related to Persian but uses the Hebrew alphabet. Bukhara’s Jews still speak it, as do about 10 000 Bukhara Jews who live elsewhere (mainly Israel). They managed to become major players in Bukharan commerce in spite of deep-rooted discrimination. Jews made up 7% of Bukhara’s population at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse, but today only about 800 remain.
In a maze of alleys, this was the gatehouse of a long-gone medressa built in 1807. The name means ‘Four Minarets’ in Tajik, although they aren’t strictly minarets but simply decorative towers.
Next chapter of this cultural exploration, after Samarkand and Bukhara, will be Khiva…