Some posts on the Adventures of Nicole contain affiliate links to various products and services, meaning I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you click or book via some of these links. Read up more on my disclaimer page.

Mir i Arab Madrasa, Po i Kalon, Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Bukhara Travel Guide + 19 Things to do in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Updated April 2020, Bukhara Travel Guide was originally written in December 2019

Sat between Samarkand and Khiva along Uzbekistan’s Silk Road emerging like a mirage from the red sands of the Kyzylkum Desert, Bukhara more than warrants a visit being a short hop from less-intimate Samarkand.

With over 2,000 years of history and more than 140 protected and historic buildings, you’ll need two or more days to really get a feel for the ancient and holy city.

Uzbekistan, Central Asia, Uzbekistan travel guide, Po-i-Kalyan, Po i Kalyan, Bukhara, Po i kalon
Po i Kalon

Travel to Bukhara and beyond: read the Uzbekistan Travel Guide
Grab your copy of Bradt’s Uzbekistan too to help you plan your visit


Things To Do In Bukhara

Labi Hauz

Centered around a small pool, Labi Hauz feels like an oasis. The lake is surrounded by small cafes as well as some of Bukhara’s most important madrasas.

Nadir Devan Begi Khanaka, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Nadir Devan Begi Khanaka

Nadir Divan Begi Madrasa & Khanaka

This caravanserai turned madrasa made its changeover in 1622 after the khan mistook it for an Islamic school. This is one of the most memorable buildings in Bukhara with two doves holding lambs in the sun tiles onto its facade. The complex also includes a Khanaka, which is a place for Sufis to reflect and rest. Entrance to the Nadir Divan Begi Khanaka is 1,500 UZS, entrance to the madrasa is free.


Going to Samarkand too? Check out the Samarkand Travel Guide for ideas


Kulkeldesh Madrasa

At the time of its construction, this was the largest Islamic school in Central Asia. Now the madrasa holds puppet shows from time to time. Entrance to the Kulkadesh Madrasa is free, except for during a puppet show in which prices are 40,000 UZS.

Po i Kalon Complex

Kalon Minaret, Po i Kalon, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Po i Kalon, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Kalon Minaret

Kalon Minaret

Chinggis Khan spared the impressive 12th century minaret as he invaded and razed much of Bukhara. The brickwork of the Kalon Minaret is a sight to behold, that was originally decorated with the first blue tiles in Central Asia before they were popularized by the Timurid, though much of the blue has faded over the centuries.

On a darker note: the Minaret was nicknamed “the death tower” owing to its execution tossings of criminals from the top.

Po i Kalon, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Kalon Mosque
Po i Kalon

Kalon Mosque

Kalon Mosque sits right next to Kalon Minaret, and while Chenggis spared the minaret, he did not have mercy on the mosque, reducing it to rubble. It was rebuilt to grandeur in the 16th century. Entrance to the Kalon Mosque is 10,000 UZS.


Starting in the capital? Read the Tashkent Travel Guide
… and don’t miss out on the elaborate Tashkent Metro Stations!


Po i Kalon, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Mir i Arab Madrasa, Kalon Minaret
Mir i Arab Madrasa at Po i Kalon Complex

Mir i Arab Madrasa

This is an Islamic school built for the Yemeni Naqshabani Sheik. You can only visit the entrance, but you can get a glimpse in by peering through the latticed windows as it is still in use as an active school.

Chor Minor, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Chor Minor

Chor Minor

Chor Minor is essentially just a souvenir shop, but if you’re wondering what the building is on the cover of the 2014 LP Central Asia, this is it. Chor Minor is a short jaunt through high walled alleys from Labi Hauz. Chor Minor was originally a gate to a madrasa. For a fee of 4,000 UZS you can climb to the top of the towers for views of Bukhara, otherwise visiting Chor Minor is free.

Covered Bazaar, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Bukhara Bazaar
Covered Bazaar, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Bukhara Bazaar

The Covered Bazaars

Old covered bazaars (Toqi Sarrofon Bazaar, Toqi Telpak Furushon Bazaar, Tim Abdulla Khan Trading Dome, and Toqi Zargaron are the 4 trading domes).


Going to Khiva too? Start planning with the Khiva Travel Guide


Abdul Aziz Khan Madrasa

Directly across the pond from Ulugbek Madrasa, Abdul Aziz Khan Madrasa sits unrestored in its 16th century glory. But the student rooms of the Islamic school do house souvenir shops. Entrance to Abdul Aziz Khan Madrasa is 8,000 UZS and entrance to the museum is 5,000 UZS.

Uzbekistan travel, two weeks Uzbekistan, Two week Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan itinerary, Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan travel guide, Uzbekistan travel, Uzbekistan guide, Bukhara, Ulugh Bek Madrasa, Ulugh Bek Madrasa Bukhara, Mirzo Ulugh Bek Madrasa, Mirzo Ulugh Bek Madrasa Bukhara
Ulugbek Madrasa

Ulugbek Madrasa

This is the first madrasa to be built in Central Asia, built by Ulugbek in 1417. This another unrestored building in Bukhara. Entrance to Ulugbek Madrasa is 5,000 UZS.

Relax at a Hammam

If you’re exhausted after a day of sightseeing around Bukhara, treat yourself to a hammam for a massage and scrub down.

The Hammam Bozori Kord is one of the oldest and well known in Bukhara. Visits to the hammam start at 120,000 UZS.


Combine Samarkand & Bukhara on your trip: The Samarkand Travel Guide


Ark, Bukhara Ark, Uzbekistan
The Ark

The Ark

The Ark is Bukhara’s oldest structure that housed the emirs of Bukhara for several centuries. The Ark holds several museums that explain Bukhara’s lengthy history.

Imam al Bukhari Memorial, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Imam al Bukhara Memorial

Imam al Bukhari Memorial

Located just outside the Ark this small museum is worth a visit, even if to only appreciate the unique exterior architecture. Entrance to Imam al Bukhara Memorial is 5,000 UZS.

Ismoil Somoni Mausoleum, Somoni Mausoleum, Samanid Mausoleum, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
The Mausoleum to Ismoil Somoni

Ismoil Somoni Mausoleum

Ismoil Somoni was the founder of the Samanid Dynasty, ruling over it from 892 until his death in 907. The Somoni monuments are more numerous in neighboring Tajikistan. This mausoleum is the oldest Islamic structure in Bukhara. I don’t recall having to pay a fee to enter the Ismoil Somoni Mausoleum, but I’ve read online of people paying 5,000 UZS to enter.


The perfect combo of history & nature: The two week Uzbekistan & Tajikistan itinerary


Chashma Ayub Mausoleum

Legend has it that Prophet Job jabbed his staff into the ground here discovering a spring. The spring is covered by a 12th century Karakhanid style roof and houses a museum to Bukhara’s water management. Entrance to Ayub Chashma is 10,000 UZS.

Magoki Attori Mosque, Carpet Museum, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, Bukhara carpet museum
Magoki Attori Mosque that now houses the carpet museum

History Of Carpet Weaving Museum

Located inside of Magoki Attori Mosque, this museum houses 104 types of carpets made by Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmen, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and more. It costs 10,000 UZS to enter the museum and an additional 10,000 UZS if you want to take photos.

Photography Gallery

If you want to get a peek of pre-touristy Bukhara pop into this black-and-white photo gallery for great images taken by Bukhara. Photog Shavkat Baltaev. There is no entrance fee to the photo gallery.

Bolo Hauz Mosque

Just across from the Ark gate sits the Bolo Hauz Mosque, which served the emirs of Bukhara as a place of worship. The tall, painstakingly detailed pillars warrant a visit all on their own.

Minorasi Majmuasi Observation tower

This observation tower, built right outside the ark is the perfect place to head for aerial views of the city.

And yes, there’s an elevator. Entrance costs 40,000 UZS.


Looking for more ideas? Check out 30 Best Things To Do In Uzbekistan


How To Travel To Bukhara

By Air: There is an international airport in Bukhara, although it’s far more common for travelers to fly into Tashkent, followed by Samarkand. Bukhara Airport has services to Moscow, Novosibirsk, Krasnodar, St. Petersburg, Fergana, Tashkent and Urgench on Uzbekistan Airways, Aeroflot, S7, Ural, Utair Airlines all fly here. Shop flights to Samarkand here.

By Shared Taxi: Shared taxi is one of the most common ways to get between cities in Uzbekistan. Shared taxis depart when full and are available to Bukhara from Samarkand, Tashkent, Khiva, Andijon, Fergana City, Kokand, Nukus, Termez, and Urgench.

By Train: Most cities of interest in Uzbekistan are reachable by train (there is an express and modern Afrosiyob train and the old school and slower Sharq trains). There are international trains to and from Uzbekistan as well connecting to Moscow, Ufa, Novosibirsk, Samara, Chelyabinsk, Saratov & Volgograd, Russia; Atyrau, Aktau, Shymkent & Almaty, Kazakhstan; Bishkek & Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan. Visit the Uzbek Railways website to see schedules.

Ulugbek Madrasa, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Ulugbek Madrasa

Where To Sleep In Bukhara

Budget

Rushana
Booking.com | Agoda.com |

Midrange

Usman Heritage Hotel
Booking.com | Hotels.com |

Splurge

Lyabi House Hotel
Booking.com | Agoda.com |

Bukhara Tours

Shop day tours and more in Bukhara here.

Day Trips From Bukhara

Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan travel guide, Uzbekistan travel, Uzbekistan guide, Gijduvan Ceramics Museum, Gijduvan
Gijduvan Ceramic Museum just outside Bukhara

Gijduvan

Gijdovan is located right outside the city of Bukhara. The small town is most well known for the Gijdiovan Ceramic Museum, ran by the Narzullaev family known for their ceramic works.

travel Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, Central Asia, bactrian camels, camels, camel, bactrian, bactrian camel, Aydarkul, Navoi
Bactrian Camels at Aydar Kul

Aydarkul

Aydar Kul is a lake on the fringe of the Kyzylkum Desert, not far from Nurata. If you want to get out of the city and spend a night under the stars, I recommend staying at the Aydar Yurt Camp.

Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan travel guide, Uzbekistan travel, Uzbekistan guide, Nurata, Chashma Complex, Chashma Complex Nurata
Chashma Complex, Nurata
Uzbekistan, Central Asia, Nurata, Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan travel guide, Uzbekistan travel, Uzbekistan guide, Nur Fortress
Nur Fortress, Nurata

Nurata

Located between the Nurata Mountains and the Kyzylkum Desert, Nurata is worth a visit to check out the Chashma Complex and Nur Fortress.

Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan travel guide, Uzbekistan travel, Uzbekistan guide, Rabat Malik, Rabat Malik Caravanserai, Caravanserai, Navoi
Rabat Malik Caravanserai

Rabat Malik Caravanserai

Not far from Nurata is the Rabat Malik Caravanserai, a ruin of a complex built under the Karakhanids who ruled Samarkand in the 11th century.

Have Any Questions About Bukhara Travel Or Things To Do In Bukhara?

Ask your Bukhara travel questions in the comments section below.

Need Travel Insurance for Uzbekistan?

Start shopping plans over at battleface, my go-to travel insurance choice, or over at World Nomads.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top