Aug 3, 2019
The trading domes in the old town dating back to the Silk Road days, still have shops. But these now sell handcrafts, most very beautifully made. Suzanis and carpets, embroidered table-cloths and cushion covers, jackets and dresses, hand-painted miniatures vie with handmade knives and swords made by master craftsmen.
What used to be caravanserais of old, have re-invented themselves as cafes and restaurants. Each chamber now houses a souvenir shop with an eye toward tourists. New cafes, hotels and restaurants have sprung up in previously empty spaces with yet more coming up like mushrooms after rain.
They share space with the usual kitsch as is mandatory in any tourist spot. The sheer volume on display gives one pause. The prices share the meteoritic rise as well and bargaining skills need to be well-honed.
The big bazar too has undergone a thorough renovation. Gone is the dusty, fly-blown feel with its narrow lanes. An imposing gate, separate buildings for fruits and spices, vegetables and butchery give it a sanitized air.
The dried fruits and nuts, vegetables and fruits are still as mouthwatering as before. But gone too are the row of shashlyk sellers at the edge of the bazar. They used to be the best in Bukhara!
Wandering out of the bazar I saw a man leading an enormous sheep and around the corner came the tantalizing smell of kebabs. So maybe they haven’t moved so far after all.