BUKHARA SAY SOMETHING NICE ABOUT BUKHARATHEY HAVE PRETTY GIRLSFOOD AND BIRDS Like the caravans of old, after traversing hundreds of km of desert, the city of Bukhara struck as magical. A music video was being filmed in the main square, with Nadir Divan-begi Khanqah sufi lodge as the back-drop.Bukhara area has been inhabited for maybe 5 millenia, with the current city being as much as 2,500 years old. Wonder lurks behind every door.Merchants travelling between India, China and the Middle East traded in the markets and stayed safe in the many caravansarai, which can still be seen.Not all came willingly, however. Conqueror took home slaves, artists, artisans, musicians, builders, designers, translators, who enhanced the great city and empire.The centre of the town is the Lyabi Khause, a small pool around which historic buildings, like Nadir Divan-Begi and other madrasa, chaikhana, and town folk under shady trees gather.To say Bukhara is rich in heritage is like saying Jeff Bezos can afford a coffee. Here, the entrance to the Mir-i Arab madrasah, built 1535 by Ubaydullah-khan, the first Shaibanid ruler to make Bukhara his capital.Opposite, the Kalyan Mosque, rebuilt early 16th century after Genghis had his usual hissy fit, wrongly thinking he was destroying the royal palace.The Mongol leader was so awed by the 47m Kaylan Minaret, that he ordered it be spared. Built by Mohammad Arslan Khan in 1127, architect Bako asked that he be buried 47m from the base, so should it fall, it would fall on his head.The grand structure also served a less than holy purpose: rulers either side of the Mongol conquest pushed prisoners from the top to their death.Still, the city was primarily one of trade and culture, religion and education, with the Samanid Empire seizing Bukhara in 903.Many caravansarai and madrasah are now galleries, workshops, hotels and museums. These ladies were rehearsing traditional dance in the 1562 Khoja Gaukushan building, now a chaikhana.Chor Minor Madrasa was built by a Turkish merchant in the early 1800s. Down a few back streets, past houses and tucked away, it is worth seeking out the quirky, unique building.Ismail Samani Mausoleum is the earliest Islamic tomb to survive in Central Asia, family tomb of the Samanid dynasty (819-1005)The oldest building in Bukhara, the brickwork resembles a wicker basket, and incorporates many new techniques in its design. The Ismail Samani Mausoleum is the oldest building in BukharaMagok-i-Attari Mosque dates partially from the 12th century, built on the site of a Zoroastrian fire temple from pre-Islamic times. "Attari" means perfumers, from the traders of the nearby bazaar.Down a street away from the square, with no name, this locked madrasa shows what many of its more famous counterparts looked like after centuries of neglect.Toqi Zargaron is the covered bazaar, where the north-south and east-west passages meet.An elderly gent walks by the 1652 Abdul Aziz Khan madrasah, towards the Toqi Zargaron. Opposite is the Uleg Beg Madrasah, built in 1520 by the famous astronomer-khan, grandson of legendary Timur, Uleg Beg.A mosque has existed on the site of the Kaylan Mosque since 712, a mere 80 years after the death of the Prophet.There were several rebuilds prior to the Mongol destruction, and this zenith of design was undertaken by several khans in the 1500s.The spectacular mihrab (niche facing Mecca) is just one breathtaking aspect of the building, whose construction coincided with the revival of Bukhara and Timurid power.The city's main Friday mosque, there is room for thousands in the courtyard and halls. Dozens of internal white arches and 288 domes complete the picture.The delicate tilework on the entrance here faces directly at the not too shabby Mir i Arab madrasa.But my personal favourite is the Bolo Hauz Mosque, by the entrance to the Ark of Bukhara, from where the ruling Khan would emerge for prayers.20 tall ornately carved pillars support the wide open front, which looks onto the pool from which it gets its name. Around the pool are trees, shading the chaikhana, where the smell of grilling lamb entices.Perhaps this is why the Bolo Hauz is popular with the grey beards (and me), who can be found relaxing on the benches, enjoying kebabs and tea for hours either side of prayer.Wandering the streets and bazaars of Bukhara brings delights at every turn, smells and tastes, crafts and designs, splendours of the silk road.The culture is alive, whether it is song or dance or making knives by hand.Do yourself a favour, and say hello to Bukhara.