I think the main attraction for me in Bukhara was checking out “The Ark”, a fortress apparently occupied from the 5th century until about 1920 when it was bombed by the Soviets. The wooden pillars that held a lot of the place up together showed its age, in comparison with say, a lot of the madrasas which are very brick-oriented. In the “Reception and Coronation Court”, on a stage that held a single throne, one could rent a costume for USD$1 and get their picture taken – and of course, as a “Khan” (ok, Kan), I had to get my silly portrait taken.
The rest of the city, it was more so of the same – checking out minarets, mosques, and madrasas. Don’t get me wrong, they’re beautiful (I love the blue-green Islamic tile work) but after getting over any initial awe of any structural grandeur, it can become quite repetitive. There was a central “oasis hang-out spot” called Lyabi-Hauz where a lot of people gathered to hang out and eat – that kind of pool was very common back in the day for people to bath in but since the waters were never really changed much, it became a major health-hazard – and all are now gone except this last one.
Another draw of these parts of the world is the carpet-making. Of course, I couldn’t get myself one because of cost and logistical concerns. However, I 100% appreciate intricate, hand-made “art” – and rugs from these parts of the world are just that. (It’s funny but this was the point I became a carpet fan – and interest that peaked when I visited Azerbaijan later.)