“Bukhara-and-sharif” – “noble and sacred” – is one of the numerous epithets, which was awarded to this ancient city. The great poets of the East of the IX-X centuries Rudaki Dakiki, Firdousi devoted kasids to it. In the X century “The History of Bukhara” was written. The first period of Bukhara was reflected in the national epic, numerous legends. The Great Silk Road connecting China with Iran, India and Europe, and passed through. Bukhara – one of few cities in the world which had been continuously developing on the same place since the V century BC. In 1993 UNESCO included the historical part of Bukhara into the lists of the cities of World Heritage of humanity. In 1997, under the auspices of UNESCO the 2500th anniversary of the founding of the city was celebrated around the world. The preserved architectural heritage of Bukharais a rare combination of monuments of different epochs, which characterize the development of architecture for over twenty-five centuries.

The most part of Bukhara’s center is an architectural area, the main part of which is occupied by former madrassah. Now Emir Castle Arch (X-XIX centuries) has become a museum. Arch is located opposite the Mosque Bolo-House – Emir’s official place of prayers, built in 1718.  One can come to a small area with a complex Poyikalonthrough the narrow side streets along the Arch. Poyikalon consists of Kalyan Mosque(XVI c.) – one of the majestic buildings of Central Asia, accommodating up to 10 thousand people: Mir-Arab madrassah – an acting Islamic seminary and Kalyan minaret – 47meters tower (10 meters in depth), which can be seen from almost any part of the old city. Madrassah is 850 years old.

In the center of the old town there is an ensemble of Lyabi House with its elegant buildings around a small pool surrounded by mulberry trees. Street traders, old men playing chess and drinking tea, settled here. In the eastern part of town you can see the madrassah Nadir Divan Begi. It was built as a caravanserai, but Khan recognized the madrassah in it, and reformed it in 1630.

Trade domes of the XV-XVI centuries: Toki-Sarrafon (dome of moneychangers), Toki-Telpak -Furushon (dome of head-dresses’ sellers), Toki-Zargaron (dome of jewelers) point on the fact that Bukhara in the past was at the crossroads of caravan routes.
On the way to Samarkand, in the suburb of Bukhara, three kilometers from the center, Sitora-and-Mokhi-Khosa is located. It is the palace of Stars which look like the Moon (or the Moon and Stars) – the summer residence of the last emir. Now it is a museum.

Bakhauddin Nakshbandi ensemble is located in 12 kilometers from Bukhara. The complex was the main sacred place of Bukhara. Bakhauddin Nakshbandi is one of the founders of Sufism in Islam.

Attractions in Bukhara

Not far from Uba, forty kilometers from Bukhara, in the small town of Gijduvan, once famous for its pottery throughout the Great Silk Road, well-known usto Alisher Narzullaev, an active member of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, a master ceramist in the sixth generation, lives. Dishes-ligans, bowls, braids, vases come out of his hands with patterns reminiscent of the coloring of peacock feathers. Bright colors of colors, muted by a thick layer of glaze, acquire softness and picturesqueness of watercolor. Secrets of the mastery of work on the potter’s wheel-charch, the creation of unusual forms of clay products and receptions for their painting were given to Alisher by his father, usto Ibadullo Narzullaev.

Bukhara pilaf is considered to be dietary and easy, thanks to a certain method of cooking. Animal fats, oils are replaced with vegetable-based oil, for example, sesame or cottonseed oil. Added special spices and spices not only improve the taste, but also contribute to better splitting of fats and good digestibility of food.

It is believed that the name of the pilau was given by the great healer Avicenna.

The original name of “palov osh”, each letter of this name determines the composition of the products: P – pie in translation, onion, A – aez – carrots, L – lachm – meat, O – olio fat, salt – salt, O – water, Sh – shawls – Fig. Each product has healing and nutritional properties. Bukhara pilaf is slightly different from other varieties of this oriental rice dish. Bukhara pilaf is not mixed as Tashkent or Andijan. The addition of saffron infusion to the completion of cooking makes pilaf a truly Bukharian “Osh-i-Sophie”. A bright combination of zira and saffron, with a taste of carrots and sultana create an unusual fragrant taste. Having medicinal properties saffron is useful for masculine and feminine health, for the brain and vision, is a general strengthening center. In cooking, it is used to improve the taste of dishes, gives them an unusually subtle flavor.

Bukhara wedding pilaf

“Osh-i-soi” is served in a large plate, first spread out loose rice, leveling the plates on the surface, then carrots are laid out with a sultana and in the end fragrant pieces of beef. Appearance plova turns appetizing variegated, looking at him, just want to eat this dish.

In one of the most ancient and beautiful madrasahs of Bukhara – Nadir Divan-Begi, tourists and guests of the city can enjoy the performance of a folklore ensemble in the performance of national performances in live musical accompaniment. Here, in the Nadir Devan-Begi Madrassah, you have a unique opportunity to join the culture of the Uzbek people, to feel the fullness of the eastern color, including national dances, and music, and cuisine and much more.
The folklore show begins with quiet national music, which gradually turns into a grandiose show. The repertoire of the program is very interesting. You will see dances of different regions of Uzbekistan: Uzbek national dance, Ferghana classical dance, Khorezm folk dance, as well as Tajik and Arab dances. Between dances, beautiful girls demonstrate a fashion show of exquisite collections, combining both modern fashion and national traditions.

Enjoying all the splendor of the folklore concert, you will also be offered the national Uzbek cuisine: pilaf, manti, damlama, kavurma-lagman, oriental sweets, and, of course, eastern hospitality. In the shops located in the hujras madrasah, you can buy souvenirs of folk arts and crafts, which will always remind you of this unforgettable trip.

  Having visited Uzbekistan, be sure to visit the folklore show in the madrassa of Nadir Divan-Begi. In this hospitable, festive atmosphere, you will plunge into the unforgettable atmosphere of the national traditions of the Eastern people.

The production of dolls also belongs to the number of practically lost and revived kinds of crafts. In the recent past, theatrical performances of stray puppeteers – ridicule were one of the bright and favorite entertainments of rural and urban residents. Today dolls, dressed in national costumes, have become a traditional Uzbek souvenir that can be used not only as a toy, but also as an interesting, bright detail of the interior. They represent different folk types or heroes of literary works.

Bukhara masters of dolls study the history of the Bukhara costume, use the traditional technology of cutting clothes, embroidery, Bukhara Karakul. Artists scrupulously adhere to the symbolism of the various details of the costume, characteristic of its owner.

Hamam is a special attraction of Bukhara. In engineering and technical terms, they represented an undeniable achievement of the era.

Acting female Hamam Kundzhak, located near the famous Poi Kalyan complex was built in the Sheibanid era (1507 – 1598 gg.) And was originally intended to serve the wives of the emir and his concubines. For convenience, the halls of the bathhouse provided for mehrabs (places for prayer). For five centuries of existence the building has remained in a primordial form. Brick and marble of the 16th century have been preserved in excellent condition.

Water in the Hamam comes from 2 swimming pools with hot and cold water. There is an opinion that the pools are decorated with silver, and therefore the water that they contain is very soft and has medicinal properties. The dome roof structures provide a constant supply of fresh air in each room.

The girls working here – the bath attendants inherited the secrets of an old spa – leaving their grandmothers and great-grandmothers, who also worked in this hamam. Here, the procedure of peeling-rolling with silk bags of “haltach” is carried out. Technology has not changed at all since the 16th century. After the skin is cleaned – a special mask is applied to the back and legs, which includes ginger, honey, turmeric, yolk and several other ingredients that are kept strictly confidential. This mask has an anti-inflammatory property, and also rejuvenates the skin. After peeling, a body massage is done on a soapy or oily basis. Guests are also invited to the famous phyto-tea, which perfectly quenches thirst and tones the body.

A no less promising prospect is also located at 60 km from Bukhara of Paikend settlement, which Uzbek archaeologists have been digging for over twenty years together with Russian colleagues from the State Hermitage (St. Petersburg).

Paikend, like the ancient settlement of Karman, is located on the border with the Kyzylkum desert. But the once prosperous city suffered a sad fate – 800 years ago it was filled with moving sands and disappeared from the face of the earth. Before the tragedy, this city on the Great Silk Road was so famous that if any Bukharan in Baghdad was asked where he came from, he invariably replied: “I’m from Paikend.” The male population of the city was mainly engaged in international trade. The main commodity was silk – local and Chinese. For the latter, the caravans were being equipped for the Great Wall of China. From Paikend caravans were also sent to Afghanistan, India, the Caucasus, the Urals, and the Volga. We drove horses, alfalfa seeds, seedlings of fruit trees, fruit, glass, pottery. Paikend merchants penetrated even to Japan, Vietnam and Ceylon. At the bazaars of their native city one could meet Arab, Indian, Chinese, Afghan, Persian, European merchants. The city was also famous for the products of its own artisans – glass blowers, potters, weapons masters … The paikendis reached a high level in the use of household amenities. Their dwellings had washbasins, bathrooms, toilets … And yet Paikend is famous for being the first city in Central Asia, governed by wealthy merchants.

The pikend was protected by powerful fortress walls and watchtowers, located at a distance of 60 meters from each other. And most remarkable: the city guarded the female army. But one should not be surprised at this, because most of the men were absent from commerce all the time. Local women have always been independent. At an early stage of the city’s existence (IV-I centuries BC), they even chose their husbands themselves, not just one, but several. Girls from small years were taught not only riding a horse, but also the art of archery. The fact is scientifically confirmed by excavation: archaeologists have discovered several elegant bone rings. It was not jewelry. The clue was simple – the ring was worn by the woman on the middle finger and was used to pull the bow string.

In the eighth century, Paikend was the first to enter the path of the Arab troops who invaded Maverannahr. After a two-month siege, the city was taken over by cunning, and its inhabitants taken to slavery. As evidenced by historical sources, in the hands of the conquerors came immeasurable wealth – vessels of gold and silver, two pearls the size of a pigeon egg, Buddhist statues of gold (they melted into ingots), an arsenal of magnificent weapons. The last was handed out to the soldiers. Returned to the ashes of the men bought up women and children, rebuilt the city. And this was done, as historians testify, in a very short time. However, an irreparable blow to Paikend was done not by conquerors, but by drought. It was caused by the fact that the water level in the lower reaches of the Zerafshan River declined sharply. The townspeople tried their best to return water, dug canals, but could not resist the nature, and therefore had to move to other places.

Today the city buried by loose sands is unearthed. It was possible to find the foundation of the IX century minaret with a diameter of about 11 meters, which is one meter larger than the base of the world-famous Kalyan minaret (early 12th century) in Bukhara, the highest in Central Asia. But, judging by the foundation of the minaret in Paikend, it was higher. Time did not spare him. The reason is that the structure is made of raw brick. The builders of Kalyan, taking into account the sad experience, used already burnt bricks.

Among the finds of archaeologists is the very first pharmacy in Central Asia. She was found in the center of Paikend. When excavating, along with glass banks for bloodletting and a cup with wax left in the hands of scientists, there were two documents in Arabic. One of them managed to determine the date of writing – June 30, 790. Archaeologists also discovered beautiful specimens of glassware and glazed dishes. On one of the pots, the Arabic script says: “Eat and drink to health.” All these finds will take a worthy place in the museum “History of the Paikend”.

The ancient city is preparing for a new stage of its life – as a major center for international tourism. For travelers it is planned to build a hotel on the model of medieval caravanserais and create a youth base. With the support of UNESCO, it is necessary to turn Paikend into a historical and landscape museum-reserve.