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Bukhara travel guide

Bukhara, a small town in the center of Uzbekistan, was once the capital of the Bukhara Khanate. During its golden age there were built many magnificent sights in Bukhara, which made it perhaps the most interesting place to visit in the whole Central Asia.

Bukhara was the capital of the state uniting the lands of Central Asia after Samarkand, which had had its golden age several centuries before, during the rule of Timur. As a result, many of sights of Samarkand degraded or even were destroyed, while the sights of Bukhara, which were built in the following centuries, survived until nowadays, and now are of exceptional interest for tourists.

You will need at least two days to thoroughly look around all of the sights of Bukhara. There are many sights in the center of the town, and, besides, in the suburbs there are 3 more places, which it would be interesting to visit – they are the summer palace of the Bukhara emir Sitorai Mohi Hosa, the necropolises of Baha-ud-Din Naqshband and Chor Bakr.

In the center of the city there are located the architectural complex of Poi Kalyan, Lyab-i Hauz and the Ark Citadel. You`d better go around these three places on foot, as having a walk over the Old Town of Bukhara one can feel the spirit of the ancient orient.

Poi Kalyan architectural complex is a square with mosques and madrasahs on three sides and the famous Kalyan Minaret, also known as the Great Bukhara Minaret. Poi Kalyan is surrounded by covered markets built during 16-17 centuries, as well as the big open market Shakhriston, where you can buy any souvenirs.

The Ark Citadel is the most ancient building in Bukhara, which served a residence for the rulers of Bukhara for several centuries. For that time the fortress was destroyed many times, but now the walls and several buildings within it were restored, so you should enter it and climb the walls.

Pond area of Lyab-i Hauz is an interesting place of Bukhara and especially so in the evening when there come a lot of people to sit around and discuss news or just look up at the stars.

Some other sights, which are also worth visiting, are at significant distance from the center of Bukhara, so you will need to take a taxi. At the Samanids Park it would be interesting to see Samanids Mausoleum and the fortified walls of Bukhara. Within the makhali (residential quarters) around the Lyab-i Hauz you can see one of the landmarks of Bukhara – Chor-Minor Madrasah.

A day would be enough to visit the three important sights, which are outside the town, but it would be worthwhile to use the services of local guides who will drive you around on his motor-car for a whole day. Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Necropolis is at the suburb in the east of Bukhara, Sitorai Mohi Hosa Palace – in the north, and the necropolis of Chor-Bakr – in the east.

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Lyab-i-Hauz Pool complex in the center of Bukhara is one of the main attractions of the city
Inner court of the Poi Kalyan mosque and the Kalyan minaret in Bukhara
Miri-Arab Madrasah located opposite the Poi Kalyan mosque in Bukhara
Poi Kalyan ensemble consisting of the Poi Kalyan mosque, Miri-Arab madrasah, Kalyan minaret (46.5 m) and several smaller buildings was constructed in 16 century
Entrance to the main fortress of Bukhara, the Ark Citadel
Strong walls of the Ark fortress in Bukhara
Ark citadel has inclined walls so that siege towers couldn’t be moved close to them
Samanid Mausoleum built in 9 century is the most ancient building of Bukhara
Chor-Minor madrasah is one of the most picturesque buildings in Bukhara
Iwan with wooden pillars in the inner court of the madrasahs of Muzaffar-Khan and Khakim Kushbegi and khanakas (dervish lodges) of Abdulaziz Khan in the Baha-ud-Din Naqshband memorial complex in Bukhara
Several wooden pillars of the iwan surrounding the inner court of madrasahs are already several centuries old
Sitorai-Mohi-Hosa Palace is an out-of-town residence of Bukhara Emir built at the end of 19 century
Reception Hall of Bukhara Emir in the Sitorai-Mohi-Hosa Palace near Bukhara
Enfilade of rooms in the Sitorai-Mohi-Hosa Palace near Bukhara
Mosque and madrasahs are the main buildings of the Chor-Bakr Necropolis, which is often called the the «city of dead»
Pool (hauz) where starts the main street of the «city of dead» or Chor-Bakr running between family dakhmas
Tombs of the four hodjas of Djuybarsk syyids (descendants of the prophet), who held important public positions in the Bukhara state
Dome of the Poi Kalyan mosque and Kalyan minaret in Bukhara
Coloured ceramic mosaics on the walls and in the niches of Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah Lyab-i-Hauz in Bukhara
Monument to Nasreddin Hoca at the park on the Lyab-i-Hauz
In the evening to these stones on the bank of the pool there come a lot of people to sit, relax and look up at the stars
Small tables around the pool in the center of the Lyab-i-Hauz create a peculiar atmosphere of leisurely life in Bukhara
Museum of Bukhara Water Supply is housed in the Chashma-i Ayub Mausoleum (Job`s well) built under Tamerlane in 14 century
Ulugh Beg madrasah in Bukhara is the most ancient madrasah built in the reign of Ulugh Beg, the grandson of Timur better, known as Tamerlane
Portal of the Abdulaziz Khan madrasah
Domes of the Miri-Arab Madrasah are inlaid with bright majolica
Arches of the covered bazaar of Bukhara
Maghoki-Attar Mosque is 4.5 m below the ground
Trading rows of the bazaar, which appeared at the Poi Kalyan as far back as 16 century
Fortified walls of Bukhara near the Samanids Park