In the days of Marco Polo this journey from Khiva to Bukhara would have taken two weeks. They would be able to journey 30 kilometers a day. Every 30 days there was a caravanserai where the merchants could find shelter and re-provision as well as barter goods. Their camels and other animals would find food and water and rest as well. They journeyed through the night to avoid the intense heat of the desert and would navigate by the stars. As we drove through the desert, I imagined caravans of 300 camels on the horizon making the journey on this commercial highway laden with carpets, spices, jewels and other precious goods in transport from east to west and west to east.
There was a very strong and prosperous Jewish community in Bukhara; in fact there are two synagogues. After the independence from the USSR many of the Jewish people sold their private residences which then were turned into boutique hotels like the hotel where I am staying. The interior courtyard has such charm. This hotel must have been a beautiful private residence.
This building was a 16th century Madrassah that is a Muslim school of theological study. The Madrassah in the city today are museums like this one.
Most of the old markets of the 15th and 16th century are restored and are shops of many artisans selling their goods and carpets and silks and souvenirs to travelers.
The colorful tile work on the 15th and 16th century Islamic theological schools make beautiful restaurants. One of the most impressive is now a restaurant that overlooks a large plaza with a pool that reflects the evening light.
Although there are tourists the night is alive with locals and their families with many children enjoying their city.