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Friday, May 31, 2019


Bukhara was the second city in our silk road tour.  It is not as small and charming as Khiva, but isn't as bustling as Samarkand.  Most of the tourist sites are within walking distance, so we got a hotel close to the historical area and followed the same plan as Khiva: wander around until you find something interesting.

The first interesting thing we found was shopping.  Bukhara really is just a beautiful place to shop for beautiful handicrafts.  It has some madrassas, a mosque or two, and a (fairly uninteresting) citadel.  But mostly it has shop after shop of lovely things that just beg to be taken home with you.

I've done a lot of shopping overseas, and have been to two of the biggest bazaars in the world, the Khan-Al-Khalili in Cairo and Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.  All of those places have about five different types of stalls repeated endlessly with the exact same goods at multiple stalls.  Brandon and I went to a bazaar in Dubai and quickly realized that most of the souvenirs for sale were actually from China.

But Bukhara has an endless array of unique, handmade crafts for sale.  There may general categories (suzanis, paintings, miniatures, clothing, rugs, brass work, knives, fur, scarves, jewelry), but each stall has the promise of a new iteration just waiting for you to find it an fall in love with it.  I mentioned this to my mother, who commented that she didn't need to buy anything, and I just laughed to myself.

By the end of our trip we had bought a suzani table runner, suzani pillow covers, two scarves, a Persian miniature, a brass engraved plate, a pair of earrings, a bracelet, and two rugs.  Rugs are the especial forte of Bukhara shopping.  You can find handmade rugs just about everywhere in Uzbekistan, but Bukhara has the largest concentration of rug shops, all within walkable distance of each other.  Brandon and I are planning on going to Bukhara just to shop for rugs.

My parents and I spent most of our first day in Bukhara rug shopping and in the evening stopped by a few historical sites so that we could pretend that we were being cultural.  By the second day the temperatures had reached into the mid-nineties and our site seeing was restricted to cool cafes and ice cream eating under shady trees.  We took the fast train in the afternoon and were in Samarkand by the early evening.

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