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Central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara (Buxoro) has buildings spanning a thousand years of history, and a thoroughly lived-in and cohesive old centre that hasn’t changed too much in two centuries. It is one of the best places in Central Asia for a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan.

Most of the centre is an architectural preserve, full of medressas and minarets, a massive royal fortress and the remnants of a once-vast market complex. Government restoration efforts have been more subtle and less indiscriminate than in flashier Samarkand. The city’s accommodation options are by far the best and most atmospheric in the country.

You’ll need at least two days to see the main sights. Try to allow time to lose yourself in the old town; it’s easy to overdose on the 140-odd protected buildings and miss the whole for its many parts.

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