Adventuring into Bukhara

After a quick 2 days adventure in Khiva, Uzbekistan (100+ Photos), I took a 6 hour taxi to the city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

The cost of the 6 hour taxi? Just $50 USD. It was a quick ride, especially when you are just pre-occupied with reading books, news, and other articles on your phone (zoning out pretty much).

6 hour taxi from Khiva to Bukhara, Uzbekistan

While Khiva was -1*Celcius in the day time, Bukhara, was only slightly warmer, at maybe 2-5*Celcius, so bundling up, an walking around, was the best way to stay warm.

Bukhara, Uzbekistan Video Review

The Ancient City of Bukhara

The history of Bukhara goes back about 2500 years, with the initial settlements of the Aryan people.

It was a major city within the Persian empire from 600 BCE, but eventually a Turkic population overthrew the locals.

By the 9th, and 10th century, the Samanid empire (an Iranian Islamic empire) conquered the city and Bukhara became the intellectual capital of the Islamic world.

In 1220, Ghengis Khan destroyed the entire city, leaving only a minaret and a wall of a mausoleum intact.

From the 16th to the 18th century, Bukhara became part of the Bukhara Khanate (Kingdom).

Eventually, the ‘Great Game' between the Russian and English empires caused Russia to take Bukhara (and Khiva, and other Uzbek regions) into its control (1830-1895).

By 1917, the communists-soviets had overthrown the Russian empire.

On 1920, a well-trained soviet army invaded and captured Bukhara, ultimately integrating Bukhara (and Khiva, Tashkent, Samarkand, etc) into the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.

By 1991, Bukhara was assimilated into the newly formed Republic of Uzbekistan.

According to the government census, 80%+ of the population is registered as ‘Uzbek', yet the majority of the population speaks ‘Tajik'.

Finally, a large number of Jews settled in Bukhara during roman times, and developed their own dialect called ‘Bukhori' (variation of Tajik).

Yet due to a constant, high level of abuse and persecution, the population gradually fell.

From 1925 until 2000, Judaism was abolished (and all other forms of religious worship) in Uzbekistan. Most Jews who left Bukhara at this point, ended up in Israel and the USA.

Entering the central district of Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Contemporary stylized hotel (Hotel Fatima) in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

The historic ‘Hauz' pond in the center of Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Most ponds were filled in by the soviet government in Bukhara, due to spreading diseases among the population.

Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah in Bukhara (built in the 1620's)

A Christmas tree for the tourists in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Nadir Divanbegi Khanaka in Bukhara

Ducks chilling in freezing weather in Labi Hovuz pond in Bukhara

Ducks chilling in freezing weather in Labi Hovuz pond in Bukhara

Uzbek tourists in Bukhara

Facing towards the Bazaar in Bukhara

Pigeons trying to survive the cold weather in Bukhara

Magok-i-Attari Mosque (Mosque in a Pit). Before the construction of this mosque, Muslims and Jews worshiped together.

The entrance to Magok-i-Attari Mosque. It was originally built on a Zoroastrian temple (Temple of the Moon). It was one of only 2 buildings not completely destroyed by Ghengis Khan in 1320.

Local Uzbeks riding bicycles in the cold weather of Bukhara

Entering the Bazaar area of Bukhara

An uzbek father shops around in the Bazaar in Bukhara

A merchant selling his wares in Bukhara

The trading domes of Bukhara. Initially only selling, books, over time, other things were being traded here.

An Uzbek man sells jewelry in Bukhara

Toki-Zargaron Trading Dome in Bukhara

The domes of Toki-Zargaron Trading Dome

Facing the Toki-Zargaron Trading Dome

Ulugbek Madrasah, Bukhara built in 1417

The Bukhara Ulugbek Madrasah facing the Abdulaziz Khan Madrasah (built in 1652)

Abdulaziz Khan Madrasah (built in 1652)

Inside the Bukhara Ulugbek Madrasah

The Bukhara Ulugbek Madrasah

The alleyways of Bukhara are a fun walk

Bukhari locals walking in the streets of central Bukhara

During the communist period, most buildings were not repaired in Bukhara, so everything fell into disarray.

A house in the alleyways of Bukhara

The alleyways of Bukhara

A decrepit house in Bukhara. As tourism opens up, this will most likely convert into an Airbnb

Looking into someones backyard in Bukhara

Writing on the walls of a house in Bukhara, with English writing for some reason

A mini-mosque or museum in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

A view of the rooftops of the houses in Bukhara

A little boy makes his way through the alleys in Bukhara

2 local uzbek men converse in front of a Madrasah in Bukhara

I have no clue what this says (could be arabic, tajik, or uzbek). Perhaps a grave?

A family going to their car in Bukhara

Walking back towards the trading domes, and back to my hotel, at night in Bukhara

Locals walking the streets at night in Bukhara

A man walks the streets at night, in Bukhara

Camels were used as the primary mode of transportation across much of the silk road, into Bukhara

Camels store fat in their humps, allowing them to travel for days without food.

Back to day-time exploration of the alleyways of Bukhara

A residential door leading to a home in Bukhara

Kitty cat in Bukhara

Kitty cat in Bukhara

A local man in Bukhara, perhaps after attending prayer.

A van carrying/selling locally grown produce

A black soviet-era car next to an early 19th century Bukhara building

Walking around the alley ways of Bukhara

An uzbek restaurant offering traditional local Uzbek dishes (which are absolutely delicious!!!)

Uzbek-style contemporary knives for sale

Inside a Madrassah in Bukhara

Inside a Madrassah in Bukhara

A filtered photo of local uzbeks waiting for the bus in Bukhara, in front of the Nadir Divanbegi Khanaka

Local police officers walking around Bukhara

Looking around the central district in Bukhara

An entrance to a decrepit Madrassah in Bukhara

Inside a decrepit Madrassah in Bukhara. When the soviets arrived, they banned religion. Most facilities fell into complete ruin afterwards.

Inside a decrepit Madrassah in Bukhara. When the soviets arrived, they banned religion. Most facilities fell into complete ruin afterwards.

Inside a decrepit Madrassah in Bukhara.

The internet in Uzbekistan is absolutely awful. It was borderline impossible to get any digital nomad work done while in Uzbekistan.

A madrassah that has fallen into ruin. After Uzbekistan opens up its tourism doors, this Madrassah will most likely be repaired again.

A man walks down a street in Bukhara

Reconstruction efforts are slowly taking place in Bukhara

A pigeon tries to keep warm in cold Bukhara weather.

The Ark fortress, which was in use since the 5th century CE.

The walls of the Ark fortress now lay in ruin, after the soviet army completely destroyed it.

Plates and wares for sale inside the Ark fortress in Bukhara

A court that was reconstructed inside the Ark fortress

The royal court inside the Ark fortress. This is where the 'emirs, their chief viziers, military leaders, and numerous servants.'

According to the guide, this is where all of the money, treasures, and gifts were stored inside the Ark fortress.

Trinkets for sale inside the Ark fortress

The symbol of Islam inside the Ark fortress

During the soviet invasion of Bukhara, almost everything inside the Ark was annihilated. These are simple reconstructions.

(Can't recall the history of this image)

Possibly persian forces destroying roman legions

An empire comes to conquer the people

A boy studies inside a madrassah

Timurlane pretends to study Islam. He used the pretext of Islam effectively to rally his army, and conquer much of central Asia

Genghis Khan?

Bukhara natives, most likely from the royal family, after being assimilated into the Russian empire/protectorate (pre-soviets).

An interesting instance of Arabic and Russian on the same news paper. This is after Bukhara, and much of Uzbekistan was assimilated into the Russian empire.

The first instances of photography of the Ark fortress, most likely pre-soviet destruction.

An early photo of Bukhara (100+ years ago), showing still intact Madrassah, and trading domes.

A map of Russia from 1562, using the Latin/Italian language

One of the Madrassah, most likely in Samarkand.

Living conditions inside a madrassah in Uzbekistan

Traditional uzbek womens clothing. Black and white photo, recoloured

An old photo of the Kalon minaret and the Kalon mosque, built in 1127 to summon muslims for prayer, 5 times per day. The tower was spared by Genghis Khan, while he destroyed everything else in the city, in 1320.

A painting of the Ark fortress, pre-soviet destruction

Madrassahs and trading domes in Bukhara – painting depicting older times.

An Ark-fortress-top view of the city of Bukhara

A bird sits on the ruins of the Ark fortress. 80% of the Ark fortress is now just a ruinous dirt hill, bombed by the soviets.

Looking at the rooftops of Bukhara

Mir-i-Arab Madrasa from a distance

It was a cloudy day, but I managed to clear it up just a bit. This is Bukhara from the hill-top.

More rooftops in Bukhara

Bolo Haouz Mosque, built in 1712 on the opposite side of the Ark fortress

Inside the Bolo Haouz Mosque in Bukhara

The small minaret in front of the Bolo Haouz Mosque in Bukhara

The entrance to the Ark fortress in Bukhara

The enormous walls of the Ark fortress in Bukhara

Mir-i Arab Madrassah (1535-1536) on the left, and the Kalon Minaret on the right, and the Siddikiyon Mosque on the far right edge

The entrance to the inside the Siddikiyon Mosque in Bukhara.

Inside the Siddikiyon Mosque in Bukhara.

Inside the Siddikiyon Mosque in Bukhara.

Inside the Siddikiyon Mosque in Bukhara, facing the Kalon minaret on the right


Inside the Siddikiyon Mosque in Bukhara.

Inside the Siddikiyon Mosque in Bukhara.

Posing inside the Siddikiyon Mosque

A real close-up to the Kalon minaret. Genghis Khan chose not to destroy this when he invaded in 1320.

Contemporary chairs from traditionalist times in Bukhara

An alley way in Bukhara, facing the Kalon minaret

Traditional female headdresses in Bukhara and Uzbekistan

Trinkets and jewelry for sale in Bukhara

Riding bicycles down the bazaar of Bukhara

A typical camel and figurine toy that you can buy in Bukhara

An Uzbek couple that was just recently married, and is now creating wedding photos



Bukhara is one of the 4 cities I recommend visiting in Uzbekistan: Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, and Samarkand. All 4 were powerhouses on the ancient silk road, and feature lots of history to absorb and old buildings to admire and thing about.

While Khiva was still my most favourite city to wander around in Uzbekistan, Bukhara has it's charm as well. I really recommend trying the food.

Anyways, after Bukhara, I took a 4 hour taxi over to Samarkand, for my final city to adventure in Uzbekistan.


    • Hey Robert, it’s a very very old city that wasn’t taken care of properly during the soviet union. Even now, there isn’t much emphasis on repairing this town, which allows it to maintain a ruin-like feel (whether for good or bad).

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