Bukhara: how guests were welcomed during the times of the Great Silk Road, and what awaits today’s travelers in the country

Bukhara is the main pearl of Central Asia for more than 2.5 thousand years. During the times of the Great Silk Road, the city welcomed merchants from all over the world. Nowadays Bukhara captures the heart of every traveler not only with its architecture and beauty. As many years ago, tourists are welcomed and hospitable here.

How guests were welcomed during the Great Silk Road

In the past, Bukhara was one of the seven holy Muslim cities. Through the centuries, the people have managed to carry the love of trade, crafts and strangers. Back in the Silk Road years, visitors were welcomed cordially and richly in visiting houses. They were organized according to the linguistic principle, so strangers felt confident and at ease. For an Uzbek, a guest was like a father. This was the case in ancient times, and this is how the locals believe even now.

Modern Uzbek-style hospitality

The current travelers are not neglected by the locals, because hospitality is a characteristic feature of the people of Uzbekistan. For the Uzbeks, the ability to receive a guest is more important than wealth in the family. Not to accept a guest is to disgrace the whole family.

Many of the laws of hospitality from ancient times have survived into modern times and have become a good tradition. Families in Uzbekistan, as a rule, are large and consist of several generations, so each guest can fully experience the local color, talking to the inhabitants of the country inside their “nest”.

If you go to the pearl of the East – Bukhara, be sure to stop by to visit the locals and be ready for a warm welcome. Never refuse, because you may offend the hosts. Come at an exact time and be sure to bring gifts and sweets for the children.

This is what the traditional welcome looks like in Bukhara and all of Uzbekistan:

Honored guests are invited into the house and seated at a set table.
Women are greeted with a slight bow and a hand to the heart. The men are greeted with a handshake without a palm squeeze.
When all guests are seated, the elder reads a prayer wishing prosperity and happiness to the house.
The meal begins and ends with the drinking of tea. Dried fruits and nuts are served first. After that, appetizers are served, and the meal is concluded with a festive meal.
Tea is like a separate Uzbek ritual. Tea is poured for the guests by the head of the house. Tea is poured less for the guests of honor, because the obligatory element of hospitality is a small amount of tea. The explanation is that the more often a guest asks the host for more, the better. Therefore during the holidays in the Central Asian country do not be afraid to ask for more, because it will show respect for the home.

Feasting together is a kind of rite of peace and friendship. If they invite you to share a plate with them, it means you are accepted and trusted. Now you know what to expect from Uzbeks and how to behave in order to become “your own” among the locals.

See for yourself!

Our tour operator invites you on a tour to Uzbekistan in March, April and May. Warm sun, friendly locals, delicious food and amazing architecture will make your trip colorful and bright.

Book a group tour to Uzbekistan in spring, where you will not get bored – a rich 11-day program “with the head” will plunge you into an oriental fairy tale, you will visit the city of Aladdin and many ancient cities of the country, where you will have an amazing adventure and joyful locals, who will gladly treat traditional dishes and give you their smiles.

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