For two millennia, the ancient city of Bukhara has endured the ravages of time, Alexander’s armies, Genghis Khan’s troops and Soviet rule. Once considered the centre of the world with its strategic position on the Silk Route, it is central to world history, as proven by the 140 Unesco World Heritage Sites. It’s no wonder then that Bukhara has earned the unique honour of being a city-museum.
Hours of strolling the streets of this Uzbek city feels like time travel. Every rock forming its Central Asian and Islamic architecture – mosaic panels and geometric designs – radiates stories of the past. Some gems include the 150-foot-tall Kalyan Minaret; the 12th-century Magoki Attori, a Zoroastrian temple-converted-mosque-converted carpet museum; the 19th-century Char Minar; and the madrasas of the Lyab-i-Khauz complex.
Every May (May 26-28 this year) the annual Silk and Spices Festival celebrates traditional arts and crafts with folkloric dances, processions and merrymaking. Once you’re saturated with culture, stop by K.Komil, a traditional bed and breakfast, known for its ethnic decor and much-fabled hospitality.
For more information, call +998 65 223 8780 or visit www.bukhara.net/kkomil.
Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort, Abu Dhabi
If you’re angling for a great family weekend, net five-star Danat Jebel Dhanna’s Fish and Trip package. Stay overnight in elegant rooms with breakfast for two adults and kids, and cruise the Arabian Gulf, baiting barracudas and snappers for three hours. The chefs will even prepare your catch! From Dh1,500. Call 02 801 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salalah Rotana Resort, Oman
Why waste time planning a trip to verdant Salalah? Book Flight Centre’s two nights Leilat El Meiraj package and leap into the long weekend at the luxe Salalah Rotana Resort. Laze away strolling among the hotel’s man-made lagoons, and relax in vibrant rooms with daily breakfast. You can even drop by historical spots like the Sultan’s Palace and the Frankincense Museum. From Dh1,999 including return flights and stay. Visit www.flightcentre.ae.
Travel book of the week
The Golden Road to Samarkand
Charting history, facts and details that forged the legacies of Uzbekistan’s ancient cities, from Samarkand to Bukhara, this well-researched guide traces what attracted travellers to it. Dh88 on Amazon.com.
Style on the go
HAVE YOUR BACK Up your backpacking style quotient with this red-hot Evita backpack. Fashioned from fabric, the large zipper pocket locks in loose change and passports for easy access, while the drawstring bucket is roomy enough for cameras and clothes. Dh149, Carpisa
WALK THE WALKMAN Make your holidays from the Sahara to Iceland melodious with Sony’s saltwater-, dust- and rustproof wearable WS413 Walkman. Its sealed structure and temperature feature allow it to play tunes at -5°C degrees right up to 45°C during swims, treks and safaris. Dh329
BRUSH AWAY Look your blushing best no matter where you go with this mini travel make-up brush set from Illamasqua. Containing blushing, blending and angled brushes as well as a mirror, you can contour and highlight to perfection in-flight and on the ground. Dh455, Areej