Minarets, Mosques, and More

Bukhara, Uzbekistan, on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

Char Minar, which translates to “four minarets,” is not near a mosque. In 1807, it was the gateway to a madrasah, but now houses a souvenir shop in what is otherwise a residential neighborhood.

As I was leaving the area, people in a small Japanese tour group greeted me, “Konichiwa.”


On the roof of Char Minar, between the minarets.

A Chevrolet Spark looks out of place (or in a car advertisement) when juxtaposed to Maghoki-Attar, Central Asia’s oldest surviving mosque from the 9th century.

Don’t believe everything in the LonelyPlanet; the writer of Central Asia’s guidebook raved about the museum inside here, but it’s a dim, dingy unexciting collection of old carpets that’s not worth the admission fee. (Well, maybe it could be since it’s only a dollar, but you could use that towards ice cream instead.)

Outside is more aesthetically pleasing, despite its crumbling facade. However, it wasn’t the only dilapidated structure here. Archaeologists discovered remnants of other temples built before the mosque, including a Zoroastrian temple and a Buddhist temple, which makes you wonder how this exact spot became so holy. Location, location, location, I suppose.

Until the 16th century, Bukharan Jews used Maghoki-Attar as a synagogue in the evenings, a time before many Jews were forced into Islam or fled. Today, many descendants of Bukharan Jews live in Queens, NY, USA.

My accommodations in Bukhara, the Hovli Poyon B&B, is a former 19th-century house of the Emir Ahad Khan. Its courtyard is dramatically lit when I arrive back after a night out. My room (the white door at the far end) is $30/night — bargained down from the listed $45 by Akmal over the phone. (It’s the end of season, so that helped.)

Budget backpackers take note: while Uzbekistan is relatively easy to travel through — it’s about at the level of Peru, let’s say — dorms are rare so you’ll have class yourself up a bit.

It is another beautiful day in Bukhara!


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This dispatch is one of over 70 travel dispatches from the trip grouped and titled, "The Global Trip: 'Stan By Me." It's an archived compilation of Instagram and Facebook posts which chronicled a trip through three countries in Central Asia: Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

Next entry:
Three Amigos

Previous entry:
Just Browsing in Bukhara


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