Noble Bukhara (Buchara) – the Holy City of the East!
“It is in Bukhara that I would film 1001 Nights” a quotation by Mr. Michelangelo Antonioni, Italian film director, screenwriter, editor, and short story author.
There could not be a better description of Noble Bukhara. Really, throughout history, Bukhara (Buchara) has been a rival to Baghdad in its glory and has been well-known as “Bukhoroi Sharif” – “The Honorable City” as it was the religious center of Islamic World in the Middle Ages.
Bukhara is still popular among Muslims. It houses a thousand shrines. 6 shrines out of 7 famous shrines are there and visiting these 7 shrines is considered “a small Hajj pilgrimage”. That is why, ISESCO announced Bukhara – “Culture Capital on the Islamic World” from 01 January 2020.
The sacred city is located downstream of the Zarafshon River, in the western-north part of the country. In 500 BC the legendary city was under the control of the Persian Empire. Then it passed to the dynasty of Alexander the Great, the Kushan Empire, the Arab Caliphate, the Karakhanid Empire, the Khorezmshakh Empire, Khanate of Shaybanids, Tsar Russian colony… Bukhara was the place where the Great Game victims-the British soldiers: Connolly and Stoddart had been kept in zindan (the Bug Pit) and executed finally.
Located on the Silk Road, for centuries Bukhara has been the center of trade, crafts, wisdom, enlightenment, culture, and spirituality. Thus, due to its favorable location, it always was a dream and aim for invaders. Accordingly, it had several empires ruled in the country by mixing blood, cultures, religions, and languages.
The Bukhara region is the richest one in historical monuments among Uzbekistan regions. It has more than 300 historical monuments and 140 of them belong to Bukhara city.
During the Bukhara tour, one can easily imagine himself living in the Middle Ages. By visiting Magoki Attori mosque (Perfumers’ shop), you can feel the heat of the Zoroastrian flame, because its initial bricks were laid during the pre-Islamic period. At the same time, if you pay attention to its interior design, you can feel that once Bukharian Jews used to pray here together with Muslims much before they got permission to build their own synagogues. Afterward, you can walk to the nearby object – Toki Sarrofon (the Exchange Dome) – and you can visualize an ancient oriental bazaar, where Indians traders selling strong-smelling spices, Uygurs offering delicate silks from China; bazaar/market’s announcer announcing latest exchange rates and latest news, a dozen of Dervish/Darvesh/Darwish people coming out from Nodir Devonbegi Khonakah with rug bags and crooked wooden stick reciting Koran quotes, Jews walking through narrow serpentine streets, Imam calling for Azan/pray from the top of Kalyan Minaret which is 46.5m in height belonging to XI century… If you walk two quarters up, you can reach St. Michael’s Orthodox Church, a sign of the Tsar Russian invasion. Once a train station later converted into a storehouse, and now it is functioning as a church.
Bukhara is on the Open Air Museums’ list of UNESCO. The significant peculiarity of the Bukhara trip is that it offers examples of both classical and contemporary architecture which is unique for the tourists coming to visit the region. These days modern Bukhara plays an essential role in the country’s tourism industry development.
It is believed that traveling to Bukhara gives an unforgettable experience to visitors, especially for those who are fans of history, culture, and adventure!
One day is hardly enough to manage to visit just Old Bukhara. On the second day, travelers can visit sights in the suburbs.
Where to visit in Bukhara?
Below we list the main historical sights of Bukhara excursions where usually travelers visit during their trip to Bukhara:
- Abdulazizkhan medresah (XVII centuries);
- Ark citadel (III-XIX centuries);
- Bolo Khovuz mosque (XVIII century);
- Bukhara baths (Hammam Bozori Kord and Hammom Kunjak) (XIV century);
- Chashmai Ayub mausoleum (XII-XVI centuries);
- Chor Bakr complex (XIX-XX centuries);
- Chor Minor Medresah (XIX century);
- Fayzulla Khodjaev museum;
- Jeyran eco-center;
- Kagan Palace (XIX century);
- Khoja Gaukushon complex (XVI century);
- Khoja Zaynuddin complex (XVI century);
- Kosh Medresahs (Modarikhan and Abdullakhan) (XVI century);
- Kukeldash Medresah (XVI century);
- Lyabi Hauz complex;
- Magoki Attori Mosque (IX-X centuries);
- Modarikhan Medresah (XVI century);
- Nadir Devonbegi khanaka (XVII century);
- Nadir Devonbegi Medresah (XVII century);
- Nakshbandiy complex (XVI century);
- Poyi Kalyan complex (Kalyan mosque, Kalyan Minaret and Miri Arab Medresah) (XII century);
- Samanids mausoleum (X century);
- Sayf ad-Din Bokharzi mausoleum (XIV century);
- Sitorai Mokhi Khossa summer palace (XIX-XX centuries);
- Tim Abdullakhan (XVI century);
- Trading domes (Toki Sarrafon, Toki Telpakfurushon, Toki Zargaron) (XVI century);
- Ulugbek Medresah (XV century);
- Zindan-The Bug Pit.