Bukhara -- the name alone evokes images of jewel-studded Khans and camel caravans loaded with spices and other exotic goods. The Khan may be gone, but Bukhara remains the jewel in Uzbekistan’s crown of Silk Road masterworks. The middle point in any journey between Samarkand and Khiva, Bukhara epitomizes the glory of the Silk Road like no other. A number of days can easily be filled venturing between Bukhara’s palaces, medrassas, synagogues, and museums. Emerging out of centuries of Uzbek hospitality, Bukhara’s hostels are likely to be your home away from home.
Bukhara’s historic riches is on show for all to see. Your Bukhara hostel will likely be situated in the historic centre, in one of the atmospheric alleys splitting from the city’s main arteries. So long as your Bukhara hostel is in the historic centre, most sights are within walking distance. Wandering along the Bakhowuddin Nakshabandi Street, you’ll find yourself starstuck by the beauty of the Lyabi-Hauz, a shaded area, bordered by medrassas featuring some of the most exquisite mosaic-work in Central Asia. Likewise, the Kalon Minaret -- historically the tallest structure in the Silk Road days -- is an enjoyable walk off the main strip of Bukhara’s centre.
What distinguishes Bukhara from its Silk Road neighbours is the continuance of everyday Bukharan life in the city’s backstreets. Make sure to ask your Bukhara hostel for some local tips, then venture out to explore everyday life. Within a few minutes you will be transported back to Silk Road days, with crumbling medrassas and mosques, street-side watermelons, and Uzbek hospitality at every corner. Most Bukhara hostels will have a local guide handy, should you want a deeper perspective. This "real" image is only underscored by the grandeur of Bukhara’s covered bazaars, stretching across the historic centre. Your Bukhara hostel may have some vendor recommendations, but don’t forget to bargain hard. The endless domed bazaars exhibit some of the region’s most accessible contemporary artwork, historic souvenirs, and Uzbek craftwork.
Like most of Central Asia, Bukhara hostels book up very quickly during the high season of June to August. If traveling during this period, recommendations are certainly advised! Don’t forget to engage with your Bukhara hostel’s staff for the real insight into Bukhara’s engaging populace. In case you haven’t realised, this is a city of never-ending treasure.
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