The sheer quantity of sights here means most visitors cannot see everything. The true highlights of the city are detailed below, though if you know exactly what you want to see feel free to make suggestions to the guide.
The remains of several ancient covered bazaars can be found dotted around the Old Town and many are still used by traders today. Your guide will take you to the merchants’ buildings, which in the 15th century were used by moneychangers, hat sellers, jewelers and silk merchants. Nearby are some bath houses and it is well worth experiencing this traditional form of relaxation.
One of the city’s most recognizable monuments is the Kalon mosque and minaret complex. Climbing up this 46 meter ornamental minaret rewards you with a stunning view over the whole city and the biggest Friday mosque in Bukhara. The minaret has stood for 850 years. It was, unbelievably, spared by Genghis Khan and later bombed by the artillery of the Red Army Commander Mikhail Frunze.
Around 150 meters away is the Ark, an ancient citadel that was the home of the rulers of the region for more than one thousand years. The Emirs who ruled from here were infamous for their depraved regime and the summer palace, on the edge of town, shows evidence of their elaborate lifestyle.
Other recommended sights include the famous four-domed Char Minar, the Spring of the Prophet Job, and the Ismail Samani Mausoleum — one of the most beautiful monuments in Central Asia.
One fascinating addition to a city tour is the small Jewish synagogue just south of the Lyabi Hauz. There have been Jews living in Bukhara for more than 800 years and their dwindling community is centered around this building.
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