TWC'S Odyssey
Tan Wee Cheng's Travels in the Central Asian Republics of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

15 Jul   Bukhara

A touching farewell with our hosts before getting a taxi to another ancient Silk Road city, Bukhara (US$45).  This was a 5 hour journey through fields and semi-desert landscape.  We passed a few provincial border checkpoints but had no trouble with the police.  Soon after entering Bukhara Viloyat (Province), the driver tried to get us to leave the car by saying that we have reached our destination (Bukhara gorod zentral or town central, we insisted).  Luckily we didn't, as we were still far away.  Eventually, we got off and made our way through the labyrinth that was Bukhara's Jewish Quarter.  We found Nargiza, whose homestay was suggested by our Samarkand hosts.  Nargiza runs a mosque-turned-souvenir shop (17th century mosque, known as the Nadir Divanbegi Khanagha) next to foreigners' favourite haunt in Bukhara - the plaza known as Labi-hauz with a pool in the middle.  Nargiza charges US$8 including breakfast for a night at her home next to the Labi-hauz.  But she does not provide OVIR registration but that factor can be mitigated by moving to Mubinjon Tajiev's places (in Lonely Planet), which is also near Labi-hauz.

Nadir Divanbegi Madressa, now a souvenir-workshop complex Nadir Divanbegi Khanagha Kid jumping into Labi-haus: Many children hang around this pool the whole day long, diving and urging tourists to take pictures of their feat.
Carpets, Nadir Divanbegi Madressa Statue of Hoja Nasruddin, the famous comedian/wise man of Bukhara Kids at Labi-haus

Visited the Jewish Synagogue (pitiful state, with the caretaking lady begging for "donations" for every picture one takes) and Nadir Divanbegi Medressa  (where we met Shavkat, a bright Tajik teenager who provided us with much insight into Bukharan life).  Sitting around Lab-hauz was sheer pleasure - watching kids diving into the ancient pool (& pestering tourists to take pictures of their feat) and elderly men having choy in the choyhana.

25 som banknote Suzanni with Hebrew words in the Synagogue, Jewish Quarter in Bukhara Synagogue, Jewish Quarter in Bukhara
Warrior of the Bukhara Khanate: Collection of the Bukhara State Museum (Postcard) Another view of Labi-haus Toys: Collection of the Bukhara State Museum (Postcard)

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Heart of the Silk Road 
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