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Bukhara is one of the most fascinating and ancient cities of Central Asia, located in the southwestern part of Uzbekistan. During many centuries it was cultural, scientific, commercial and economic center of Great Silk Road. It boasts scholars, saints, artisans and architects. In 1997 the city celebrated its 2500th anniversary, and Bukhara is proud of its unique ancient monuments, 2000 of which are protected by UNESCO. Bukhara became one of the favorite tourism destinations of travelers.
BukharaThe Kalyan Minaret dates back to 1127, a fitting symbol of old Bukhara. When Genghis Khan invaded he left the minaret standing, supposedly because he was struck by its beauty. Great Tower of Bukhara was built in 1127 and used as a light house for caravans, to call the people to prayer and to warn of enemy approach. The stairs up from the roof of the Mosque to the top of the minaret give you a picturesque view of old and modern Bukhara. The city's subdued desert hues and centuries-old buildings exude their own exotic air of ancient culture in holy city of Uzbekistan.
BukharaThe summer residence of Bukhara Emir (King) Sitorai Mohi Khosa (The Palace of Moon and Stars) is located just outside the city. This beautiful palace was built at the beginning of the 20th century, combining peculiarities of Oriental architecture with European elements.
Thousands of ancient scholars called Bukhara home. Abu Ali ibn Sino (Avicenna), Imam al Bukhari, Abdulkholik Gijduvani, Bahouddin Nakshband and other scholars made great contributions to world civilization. Every year, people from all over the world come to make a pilgrimage at the burial places of the 7 Pirs (holy men). Hence, Bukhara is referred to as Bukhoroi Sharif - Holy Bukhara. In May the annual Silk and Spice Festival is held here. Craftsmen and tourists by the thousands come to this festival from all over the world to display their wares and celebrate the event. The parade participants in traditional dress walk from the Ark citadel - the winter palace of the emirs (built in the 1st century, where great scholars and poets also lived), to the Lyabi Hauz ensemble, along the Shahristan (old part of the city) and through the traditional trade domes. There are three trade domes in Bukhara: one originally for money changers, another for books and fur-caps, and jewellery in the last. The festival not only showcases artisans, but there are concert performances, displays, shish kebab and pilaf sellers, singers, dancers - a true holiday atmosphere.
BukharaNowadays Bukhara is one of the centers of science, craftsmanship, spirituality and tourism in Central Asia. Traditional fine arts are important in Bukhara: wood carving, jewellery making, copper chasing and elaborate embroidery. The most skilled artisans draw visitors and students from around the world. They visit the brothers Alisher and Abdulla Narzullayevs in Gijduvan to learn the peculiarities of pottery. They come to Shafirkan to study the secrets of sewing beautiful suzane or to Bakhshullo Jumayev for wonderful creations of gold embroidery. The blacksmith Shokir Kamolov always takes awards at International fairs. The Magoki Attori mosque is situated between the trade domes. In ancient times idols and spices were sold here. Now it is a carpet museum. Magok means "on a pit", and one can see the ground level of old Bukhara under the stairs in the mosque.
BukharaAll Bukhara markets are bustling and colorful. You will be tempted by the aromas and flavors of local dishes and produce, the colors and fabrics of national clothing and ornaments and the beauty of hand-made carpets, suzanas and gold embroidery.
Hospitality reigns supreme here and meals are no exception. Open-air restaurants or chaikhanas (tea houses) are popular with both locals and tourists. Set around a 17th-century reservoir Lyabi-Hauz offers lunch under the mulberry trees. Here is an opportunity to taste hearty Uzbek dishes such as plov - pilau rice, shashlik - sizzling brochettes of meat and lagman, a noodle-based meat and vegetable stew. National folklore and Fashion shows are held in the evening during dinner in the Devonbegi madrassa nearby. On your way to this madrassa you will pass a monument to the Uzbek national hero Nasriddin Afandi -the Uzbek Robin Hood.
Relax in a real Uzbek Hammam. The 14th century Hamman Bozori Kord is the world's oldest operating bathhouse and serves up steam baths and muscular massages on a heated platform. Use your leisure time at the Bukhara hippodrome watching Uzbek national games. One can see racing and kupkari - competition on horseback.
The roads leading to Bukhara from both Khiva and Shahrisabz pass through the Kyzil Kum (red sand) desert. Here is an opportunity to experience life in the desert, to ride on camels, stay in yurts and listen to the songs of national performers. 40 kms from the city is the "Jeyran" (Middle Asian gazelle) Nature reserve. Here are found jeyrans, onagers, Przhevalsk horses, bustards and cheetas, and a number of endangered plants. The small lakes of the reserve are rich in fish and wild birds.
Bukhara is a contrast of the modern and the traditional - a delight to the traveller.