There are no direct trains from the city of Khiva to our new destination, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, so we had to take a shared taxi the 5 hours east. I was dreading making the long, bumpy drive crammed in the back seat of a rusty 1962 Lada with three other people.
The drive however wasn’t as horrible as the Lonely Planet forums had led me to believe. A new highway, and I use that term very loosely, has been built that takes you half the way. From there the next road makes it feel like you are riding right through the middle of the desert. The sand seems to be overtaking the road, leaving only one-lane to drive on. As we flew past the barren landscape, the odd person selling shashlik and kurt on the side of the road, the sand lapped at our tires.
Finally in Bukhara, I was excited to get to our beautiful hotel, Lyabi House. It was right off the main gathering point of the city, Lab-I Hauz, which in Persian means “by the pond”.
History of Bukhara, Uzbekistan:
Until modern day, Bukhara was covered with canals and ponds. They were central gathering points for people and the city’s main water source, where people would come together, talk, drink and wash themselves. Because of the communal nature, the dirty water quickly spread disease throughout the city. Bukhara had many different plagues, leaving the average life span at only 32. In the 1920s the Soviets filled many of the ponds, leaving Lab-I Hauz because of its vicinity to beautiful architecture.
Given its placement along the Silk Road, Bukhara once existed as one of the main centers of the world for trade, arts and religion. During the Golden Age Bukhara became the intellectual center of the Islamic world, on of the seven holy cities of Islam. Like many other cities though, Bukhara was conquered by Gengiz Khan and burned.
One of my favorite parts of Bukhara was where we stayed, Lyabi Hauz. The rooms were basic but it had the most beautiful terrace to eat breakfast on. It was such a perfect start to each day!