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Silk Road Tours offer tailor made holidays through Central Asia, The Caucasus, Middle East and North Africa
Perhaps no city in Central Asia conjures up the ghosts of the Silk Road quite like Bukhara, whose narrow winding streets beg to be explored on foot. The majority of Bukhara’s sights lie in the old town, or shakhristan, chief of which is the Ark – the ancient seat of power for Bukhara’s Emirs. Entered through the Kalon Gate, though much lies in ruins, the restored areas provide a good glimpse into the dark heart of the Emirate. Close behind the Ark is Zindan, the notorious jail where Conolly and Stoddart where held in the infamous Black Hole. In front of the Ark is Registan, the former bustling heart of Bukhara Conolly and Stoddart met their end during the ‘Great Game’ of the Bolo Hauz opposite the Ark and Kalon mosque with its famous 48 metre high Kalon Minaret are of particular note. As befits what was once such a religious city, some of its architectural highlights lie in its plethora of madrassahs. The magnificent façade of the still active Mir-I-Arab madrassah is well worth the view, though tourists are forbidden from entering while the Kosh and Ulug Beg madrassah complexes are also worthy of note. Perhaps one of Bukhara’s quirkiest buildings is the Chor Minor, all that remains of a 19th century madrassah while the 9th century Ismael Samani mausoleum is one of Bukhara’s architectural highlights. Aside from the religious buildings, the Lyabi Hauz complex with its open air restaurants and cafes serves as a bustling central area from which to explore Bukhara’s back streets where one can get a feel of Central Asia as children play in the dusty streets and animals wander. For an authentic feel of the Silk Road venture into one of Bukhara’s many bustling bazaars where intense haggling over price is expected, or wander through one of the many ancient caravansaries in the Tok-i-Zargaron area.