Central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara has buildings spanning a thousand years of history, and a thoroughly lived-in old centre that probably hasn’t changed much in two centuries. It is one of the best places in Central Asia for a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. It was as capital of the Samanid state in the 9th and 10th centuries that Bukhara blossomed as Central Asia’s religious and cultural heart. Most of the center is an architectural preserve, full of medressas (schools), minarets, a massive royal fortress (the Ark) and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. 19th and 20th century government restoration efforts, mostly by the Soviets, have brought this one ruined and derelict  city back to life as a historical and touristic gem.
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