In the heart of the Kizilkum Desert, with seemingly nothing around, a mirage of minarets and madrassas appears. A historic crossroads of culture, religion, trade and scholarship.
Bukhara. Just the name evokes images of trade, knowledge, culture, and religion. For as long as historians recorded history, this dry land flanked by rivers welcomed those from far lands to offer something new. From the Persian Empire to the Golden Age of Islam even to the Russian Revolution, Bukhara grew in fame and fortune. Walking around the old streets of Bukhara today is one of the closest you can feel to living in medieval times. The ancient trading domes are still full of textiles and trinkets to dazzle foreigners, madrassas are still operated as places of Islamic study, and the untouched squares are still the focal point of leisure in evenings.
Merchants would stop in Bukhara along the arduous overland Silk Road, both to trade their wares and to rest from their travels. Luxury goods like silk, spices, ivory, and precious metals passed through Bukhara on caravans of camels, where in exchange Bukharians traded textiles, horses, and agricultural goods. Beginning in the 2nd century BCE, Bukhara also became an important center of Buddhism where monks and pilgrims transmitted Buddhist teachings and culture. The Buddhism later gave way to Islam, where magnificent mosques, madrassas, and bazaars of Bukhara still stand tall as they have for centuries. For those merchants or explorers, a welcome sight Bukhara must have been, an architectural masterpiece displaying centuries of craftsmanship in the heart of town. Everything necessary for the journey onward is found here as well, with numerous caravansaries and bazaars filled to the brim with colorful goods. It truly is a miracle among the heart of the Silk Roads, one of the wonders of the world.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
From Khiva we embarked on a twice daily train to the center of Bukhara, a modern convenience that old caravans could not.
Sitting in the Poi Kalon complex in evening, watching the sun set over the architecture while observing daily life go about for the people who have lived here for years.
Sitting A first impressive of Bukhara wasn't as polished as Khiva or grand as Samarkand, but as time fades from our visit, Bukhara is undoubtedly the favorite - a more authentic slice.
➨ Medieval Memories - Coming Soon
S N A P S H O T S O N T H E R O A D
W H E R E W I L L Y O U R J O U R N E Y T A K E Y O U N E X T ?
Well rested and stocked up with a plethora of goods, the time has come to say goodbye to the trading domes and markets that define Bukhara. Further west along the Zarafshan corridor lies Samarkand, a city of architectural wonders and wealth, brought to glory by Timurlane.