Bukhara is located on the Silk Road and was a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion.  About 250,000 people live in the city now.

The historic part of Bukhara is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Within it are many old buildings, especially mosques and madrasahs.

below: Kalyan Mosque

mosque kalyan in bukhara, with its large brick facade over the pointed arch entrance, lots of blue tile, with a small well in front with a brick building like structure over it.

below: The entrance to the Nadir Divan Began Madrasah, first built in 1622.

phoenix and sun made of mosaic tiles over the entrance of a madrassah in Bukhara, the Nadir Divan Begi Madrasah

phoenix and sun made of mosaic tiles over the entrance of a madrassah in Bukhara, the Nadir Divan Begi Madrasah - close up picture of the face on the sun

below: Yes, I think that she’s really sticking her tongue out!

two young woman sitting outside a madrassah. One is sticking her tongue out as she talks on her phone, the other is laughing.

below: Like most of the old madrasahs in Uzbekistan, they are no longer used as schools.   I’m sure that the interior space has not been as fully renovated as the exterior, especially the upper levels.  Now most of them are used to sell things.   Instead of small classrooms, they have small shops.


detail of patterns of rectangles and pentagon and hexagon shaped tiles in blue, yellow, black and white, on the front of a madrasah in bukhara

a group of people inside the entrance to the Kalyan mosque, looking out over the courtyard in front of it.

a small shop in Bukhara. A man is standing in the doorway. A cart full of round loaves of bread is near him.

dome shaped building in the historic center of Bukhara with many buses parked in front,

Because it is now a UNESCO site and because the government is doing more to encourage tourism, there are more visitors to the city.  More visitors mean more souvenir sellers.  There are many items that one can buy here including fur hats.

Against an outdoor wall, many fur hats for sale in Bukhara Uzbekistan

Against an outdoor wall, many fur hats , some are dyed shades of blue or red, for sale in Bukhara Uzbekistan

below: Closing up shop at the end of the day.

a wire rack is empty except for one hat, a full bag sits on the ground beside the rack. An old brick wall is behind. The remains of an outdoor hat seller who has closed up shop for the day

Carpets are also available for purchase. All sizes, all qualities, all prices.

small carpets for sale, strung up against on old brick wall outside, the carpets are designed to fit over the top of a doorway, mostly in dark red and browns,

The inside a carpet showroom in Bukhara with many carpets of different sizes stack on the floor and hanging on the walls. Almost all the walls are covered.

a woman is working on a loom, making a carpet, a young boy sits with her playing games on a smartphone

an old brick wall, an old wood bench, and a folded red carpet at one end of the bench.

Bukhara is also home to some miniature painters.
a selection of miniature paintings on the wall of a store. Most are of trees with apples or pomegranates on them.


Tsarist Russia occupied what is now Uzbekistan starting in the late 1800’s.   In the 1920’s is became part of the Soviet Union.  Very little visible evidence remains of the Soviet influence including the cyrillic alphabet.  Uzbek uses the Latin alphabet.  These safety posters were on the wall of a hammam in Bukhara.

posters on the wall of a hammam showing emergency procedures, in Russian, old,

below: These two boys are laughing as they walk away from me.  We had a very disjointed conversation in broken English and broken French. School kids in Uzbekistan learn Russian as a second language.  They then have a choice of English, French or German if they want to learn a third language.

two boys laugh as they walk away, walking down a street with a tall stone wall on one side, and old houses on the other

Bukhara also has an amusement park. Because I was there at the end of October, the place was almost empty. Like Canada, Uzbekistan has a winter. It doesn’t always snow (desert, almost no rprecipitation) but it does get cold. Late October is the very end of the season for places like the amusement park.

a vendor at an amusement park sells cotton candy.

an empty hot dog stand in an amusement park in Bukhara, large pictures advertising what food it sells, hot dogs, hamburgers, fast food

a hot dog stand in an amusement park in Bukhara, where hot is spelled xot as the x in Uzbek language is pronounced close to an H sound.

below: The food stands were closed but we were able to ride on the ferris wheel.

looking back from near the top of a ferris wheel, showing the pods (seats) of the ride, and the ground below.

a deserted and boarded up ice cream kiosk at an amusement park in Bukhara, the building is in the shape of a ice cream cone and milkshake.

In the Middle Ages, the largest Jewish settlement in Central Asia was in this area. Very few Bukharan Jews remain but a large section of the city is still known as the Jewish Quarter. I walked every alley in the Jewish quarter (it’s not too big). Most of the following photos are of the buildings in this area… I’m not sure if they all are as there are a couple of other sections where the buildings are just as old (but where I didn’t explore as much).

an old house, greyish white, with a wood frame window and old wood door. A bike is parked outside the door. Stone step, yellow pipe for gas runs above the doorway

below: This building was made from mud and straw, a common building material.

a wall made of mud and straw, side of a house, with an old window in the house. The window has bars on the outside, curtains on the inside, Bukhara, Jewish quarter,

an old wood door with peeling light turquoise paint, on an old stone building, with the number 18 on the door.

a man in a red sweatshirt sits on a front step, looking at his phone, in an alley with old buildings.

graffiti on a wall in the Jewish quarter of Bukhara, in large black letters someone has written I love you Bukhara. Across the alley is the hotel, Sasha and sons.