Bukhara is a key stopping point in Uzbekistan for local and foreign tourists alike, and with good reason. While Samarkand boasts of splendid structures arrayed in color, Bukhara has delightfully succeeded in preserving the atmosphere of ages long past. Inside Bukhara’s Old City, visitors can wander the narrow, dusty alleyways at leisure and marvel at the domes where Silk Road goods were bought and sold, almost forgetting that a 21st century world exists beyond the mud-brick walls that surround you.
A two-day city tour of Bukhara will submerge you in this ancient city as you get an in-depth look at the city’s historically significant sights. This tour will take you not only to the city’s most beloved landmarks, but also beyond the usual tourist attractions to some of the sights that can only be reached by vehicle.
The Lyabi-Hauz ensemble holds the largest artificial reservoir of medieval Bukhara (14-17th centuries), and is hands-down the city’s most iconic spot. This ensemble includes some of the largest madrassahs in Bukhara, the Khanaka and Kukeldash Madrassahs (16th century), and the Nadir Divan Beghi Madrassah (16th century).
The Magoki-Attori Mosque is the oldest mosque in Bukhara (12th century) and considered a masterpiece of Bukharin architecture. Walk through the four Trade domes (15-16th century): Toqi Zargaron, Toqi Sarrafon,Toqi Telpak Furushon and Tim Abdulla Khan. These domes hold historical significance as important trade centers along the Silk Road, and today you can join your traveling predecessors in purchasing carpets, jewelry, fabrics, ceramics and other handmade souvenirs inside these domes. Continue your city tour of Bukhara to the Poi Kalyan Ensemble (12-16th centuries), consisting of the Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque, Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah and Miri-Arab Madrasah. See an active madrassah, one of the most esteemed Islamic universities of ancient times and a ‘Tower of Death’ minaret where criminals were formerly executed.
Explore the relatively untouched Ulugbek Madrasah (15th century) and Abdulazizkhan Madrasah (17th century), where many of the long-abandoned living quarters and corridors have remained crudely intact through the passing of time.
Head to the Ark Fortress (4th century), the ancient center of Bukharin statehood and currently home to a small museum. View the surrounding city from its impenetrable walls and stand in awe of the still-intact Throne Room of the Bukharin emirs.
Stop by the Bolo-Khauz Complex, consisting of an artfully decorated 18th century mosque, a minaret and reservoirs that once provided water for the entire city.
End your tour at the Samanids Mausoleum (9-10th centuries), the most ancient brick building in Central Asia, and the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum (Saint Job’s Source, 14th century), once considered a sacred site where a prophet of old caused clear springs of healing water to burst forth from the earth. Spend your free time in the evening for a walk through the Old City streets or a rest by the waters of Lyabi-Hauz, where you can enjoy refreshments and mingle with the tourists and locals who congregate under its mulberry trees.
Tour duration: approximately 6 hours.
The Bozori Kord Hammam was built in the 14th century and has been in regular use ever since. The hammam experience may be one of the most memorable ones of your trip as you immerse yourself in centuries-old traditions and experience the "real Bukhara". The cost is 20 USD per person, and you should plan for approximately 1 hour at the bathhouse.
Drive to the Emir's Summer Residence, Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa (19th century) This is a unique site boasting of a blend of Oriental and Russian architecture.
Continue your drive to the Bakhautdin Naqsband Mausoleum, an ensemble dedicated to the founder of the Sufi Order "Naqshbandia". At this Memorial Complex of Naqshbandi, you can tour a mausoleum, mosque, pond, and museum.
Stop at the Chor-Bakr Necropolis, (City of the Dead,10th century), ancient burial grounds which were developed into a memorial complex in the 1500s. Return to Bukhara to visit the Fayzulla Khodjaev House Museum, a house model representing the residential architecture in Bukhara.
Tour duration: approximately 4 hours.
- Private, local guide;
- Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
- Transport throughout the tour on 2nd day.