Bukhara – Uzbek Silk Road City #3

7/6 Bukhara

Finally arrived back in Bukhara and reunited with my bike. It was a relief to see that my bike was in exactly the same place as I left it in the guesthouse.

I spent a day exploring Bukhara before cycling again. I figured, more rest days never hurt. Especially after the stomach pains in the desert, a little more TLC is good for the mind and soul! There’s nothing more important than taking care of yourself when you’re traveling alone on a bicycle across a long way.

Bukhara was different from Khiva and Samarkand, in that it had more open spaces where people just hang out. The result is a very chill, relaxing atmosphere. In the evenings when the temperature is comfortable, the town is bustling with people and families.

The other notable point about Bukhara is the number of medrassas (schools) here. I imagine back in the day it must’ve been like Boston, so many students around!

P1010988kids playing football in the streets

P1010990P1010991P1010994

P1010996Uzbek style hot-dog. inside there’s fresh cucumbers, carrots, pickles, mayo and tomato sauce (that tastes very different from ketchup). also the bread is toasted. sometimes the bread is pita, and other times its a regular bun.

P1020001P1020008medrassas in Bukhara

P1010998P1020006P1020005P1010997large open spaces with canals and fountains. statue of man on donkey is Hoja Nasruddin, famous folklore character

P1020038P1020017covered bazaars. this used to be the center of commerce on the Silk Road

P1020026inside a student room in the medrassa

P1020028medrassa students, back in the day

P1020033inside Abul Aziz Khan medrassas–unrestored decorations

P1020042the Mir-i-Arab medrassa is still a school today

P1020036P1020062P1020039around Bukhara and the Kalon Minaret

P1020046P1020048the beautiful Kalon mosque from the 16th century

P1020054bugs bunny carpets at the bazaar

P1020058P1020060P1020059jewellery bazaar

P1020066P1020074P1020072the Ark, where the Khan (king) used to live

P1020081P1020083writing postcards at the park at sunset————————————–

7/8 Bukhara –> camp in abandoned building

The next morning I had a long, wonderful conversation at breakfast with Elke, a German woman from Hamburg. She was travelling for 3 weeks around Uzbekistan.

P1020086Elke, from Germany

As I was running errands before leaving town, I bumped into Shakhrat, a young guy I met the day before. I had helped his little brother and sister carry groceries back from the market. Shakhrat spoke some English, as he studied English literature in university. We talked about life in Uzbekistan–he told me basically every young person wants to leave Uzbekistan because there are no opportunities here (you cannot earn a salary enough to live on). Shakhrat just finished university and was offered a job in Dubai working at a guesthouse. He will start work there in September.Despite the hardships, Shakhrat was full of optimism for life. He was always reciting poems or wise sayings during our conversation (he enjoyed philosophy and reading books).

Shakhrat took me to his university(Bukhara State University) and showed me around the English Department, where I met some teachers and students.

P1020092Shakhrat

P1020093  P1020091 the English department at Bukhara State University. The hallway was lined with quotes, the best one said: “Of sweet I have tasted, and of wealth, but I found no sweet as sweet as health.”

P1020094a synagogue in Bukhara. Jews have lived here from th 12th century, but now there are few Jews left. Most have moved to Israel.

At around noon, I finally left Bukhara and headed for Karshi, my next stop 160km away.

P1020095nothing too interesting on road to Karshi

P1020096WWF was here

P1020098camp in abandoned building

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