Staying Inside the City Walls in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Minorai-Kalon Hotel, Bukhara, Uzbekistan (Photo by Susan McKee)Centuries ago, camel caravans used the Minorai Kalon — Great Minaret — of Bukhara as a landmark along the Silk Road (they could see it from miles away — “minora” means “lighthouse” in Arabic).

Today, travelers still come to this Uzbek city to see the 170-foot-tall minaret built in 1127. It’s a good way to orient yourself in the maze of streets inside the old city walls. Just to the south of the baked brick tower is a hotel of the same name: the Minorai-Kalon Hotel, H.Ibodova Street 11, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

It’s within walking distance of nearly all of the 140 or so mostly medieval historic monuments in this trading route city founded more than 2,500 years ago.

Glazed tile in the atrium of the Minorai-Kalon Hotel, Bukhara, Uzbekistan (Photo by Susan McKee)Dome in lobby of Minorai-Kalon Hotel, Bukhara, Uzbekistan (Photo by Susan McKee)
Decorating details in the hotel, built in 2012, are stunning, from the painted domed ceiling in the lobby (left) to the glazed tile adorning the atrium (right).

My room, about $85 including breakfast, was spacious but spare. Extravagantly patterned gold and navy blue carpeting and bed coverings (below) were offset with almost-plain beige walls and dark wood furniture. The utilitarian bathroom (with shower in the tub) was tiled in beige with plain white fixtures.

All the essentials were in place, including a hair dryer, television, desk and free WiFi (note: there’s no free bottled water, so buy your own on the way there).Guest room at Minorai-Kalon Hotel, Bukhara, Uzbekistan (Photo by Susan McKee)

As is typical of hotels in the region, there’s no elevator although there are 44 guest rooms on two levels (with a terrace-cafĂ© at the third level on the roof). In addition, there are steps up to the front door and from the lobby to the bedroom level on the ground floor. Although the hotel didn’t have its own website when I was there in October, it’s easy to make a reservation via one of the booking sites such as

Below is a view of the 12th Century Minorai Kalon (restored, of course).Minorai Kalon, Bukhara, Uzbekistan (Photo by Susan McKee)

(Photos by Susan McKee)

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