BUKHARA (Uzbek : Buxoro; Tajik : Бухоро; Persian :
بخارا), is one of the cities (viloyat ) of
Bukhara is a city-museum, with about 140 architectural monuments. The
nation's fifth-largest city, it had a population as of 31 August 2016
of approximately 247,644. Humans have inhabited the region around
Bukhara for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half
that time. The mother tongue of the majority of people of
Tajik . Located on the
Silk Road , the city has long served as a
center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion.
UNESCO has listed
the historic center of
Bukhara (which contains numerous mosques and
madrassas ) as a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site .
* 1 Names
* 2 History
* 3 Historic monuments in
* 3.1 Complex
* 3.2 Fortress
* 3.3 Mausoleum
* 4 Transportation
* 5 Demographics
* 6 Notable people
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Sources
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
Bukhara was known as Bokhara in 19th- and early 20th-century English
publications and as Buhe/Puhe（捕喝）in Tang Chinese.
According to the
Encyclopædia Iranica the name
Bukhara is possibly
derived from the Sogdian βuxārak ("Place of Good Fortune")
Muhammad ibn Jafar
Narshakhi in his
History of Bukhara (completed
943-44 CE) mentions:
Bukhara has many names. One of its name was Numijkat. It has also
been called "Bumiskat". It has 2 names in Arabic. One is "Madinat al
Sufriya" meaning - "the copper city" and another is "Madinat Al
Tujjar" meaning - "The city of Merchants". But, the name
more known than all the other names. In Khorasan , there is no other
city with so many names
Since the Middle Ages, the city has been known as Buḫārā /
بخارا in Arabic and Persian sources. The modern Uzbek spelling is
History of Bukhara
The history of
Bukhara stretches back millennia. It is now the
Bukhara Region (viloyat ) of
Uzbekistan . Located on the
Silk Road , the city has long been a center of trade, scholarship,
culture, and religion. During the golden age of the
Bukhara became a major intellectual center of the
Islamic world ,
second only to
Baghdad . The historic center of Bukhara, which
contains numerous mosques and madrassas , has been listed by
one of the
World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites .
Bukhara has been one of the main centres of world civilisation from
its early days in 6th century BCE. From the 6th century CE, Turkic
speakers gradually moved in. Its architecture and archaeological sites
form one of the pillars of Central Asian history and art. The region
Bukhara was a part of the
Persian Empire for a long time. The
origin of many of its current inhabitants goes back to the period of
Aryan immigration into the region.
Samanid Empire seized Bukhara, the capital of
Greater Khorasan ,
in 903 CE.
Genghis Khan besieged
Bukhara for fifteen days in 1220 CE.
As an important trading centre,
Bukhara was home to a community of
medieval Indian merchants from the city of
Multan (modern-day Pakistan
) who were noted to own land in the city.
Bukhara under siege by
Red Army troops and burning, 1 September 1920
Bukhara was the last capital of the
Emirate of Bukhara and was
besieged by the
Red Army during the
Russian Civil War . During the
Bukhara operation of 1920 , an army of well-disciplined and well
Red Army troops under the command of Bolshevik general
Mikhail Frunze attacked the city of Bukhara. On 31 August 1920, the
Emir Alim Khan fled to
Dushanbe in Eastern
Bukhara (later he escaped
Afghanistan ). On 2 September 1920, after
four days of fighting, the emir’s citadel (the Ark) was destroyed,
the red flag was raised from the top of Kalyan
Minaret . On 14
September 1920, the All-Bukharan Revolutionary Committee was set up,
headed by A. Mukhitdinov. The government – the Council of People's
Nazirs (Commissars ) – was presided over by
Faizullah Khojaev .
The Bukharan People\'s Soviet Republic existed from 1920 to 1925 when
the city was integrated into the
Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic
Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic .
Fitzroy Maclean , then a young diplomat in the British Embassy in
Moscow, made a surreptitious visit to Bokhara in 1938, sight-seeing
and sleeping in parks. In his memoir
Eastern Approaches , he judged it
an "enchanted city" with buildings that rivalled "the finest
architecture of the
Italian Renaissance ". In the latter half of the
20th century, the War in
Afghanistan and Civil war in Tajikistan
brought Dari and Tajik-speaking refugees into
Bukhara and Samarkand.
After integrating themselves into the local Tajik population, these
cities face a movement for annexation into
Tajikistan with which the
cities have no common border.
HISTORIC MONUMENTS IN BUKHARA
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Bukhara Region ,
39°46′29″N 64°25′43″E / 39.7747°N 64.4286°E /
39.4 km2 (424,000,000 sq ft)
ii, iv, vi
1993 (17th Session )
Kalyan or Kalon Minor (Persian : مناره کلان)
* PO-I-KALYAN COMPLEX
The title PO-I KALAN (also POI KALâN, Persian پای کلان
meaning the "Grand Foundation"), belongs to the architectural complex
located at the base of the great minaret Kalân.
KALYAN MINARET . More properly, Minâra-i Kalân, (Persian/Tajik for
the "Grand Minaret"). Also known as the
Tower of Death, as according
to legend it is the site where criminals were executed by being thrown
off the top for centuries. The minaret is most famed part of the
ensemble, and dominates over historical center of the city. The role
of the minaret is largely for traditional and decorative purposes -
its dimension exceeds the bounds of the main function of the minaret,
which is to provide a vantage point from which the muezzin can call
out people to prayer. For this purpose it was enough to ascend to a
roof of mosque. This practice was common in initial years of Islam.
The word "minaret" derives from the Arabic word "minara"
("lighthouse", or more literally "a place where something burn"). The
minarets of the region were possible adaptations of "fire-towers" or
lighthouses of previous Zoroastrian eras. The architect, whose name
was simply Bako, designed the minaret in the form of a circular-pillar
brick tower, narrowing upwards. The diameter of the base is 9 meters
(29.53 feet), while at the top it is 6 meters (19.69 feet). The tower
45.6 meters (149.61 feet) high, and can be seen from vast distances
over the flat plains of Central Asia. There is a brick spiral
staircase that twists up inside around the pillar, leading to the
landing in sixteen-arched rotunda - skylight, upon which is based a
magnificently designed stalactite cornice (or "sharif").
KALâN MOSQUE (Masjid-i Kalân), arguably completed in 1514, is equal
to the Bibi-Khanym
Samarkand in size. The mosque is able to
accommodate 12 thousand people. Although Kalyan
Mosque and Bibi-Khanym
Samarkand are of the same type of building, they are
different in terms of art of building. 288 monumental pylons serve as
a support for the multidomed roofing of the galleries encircling the
courtyard of Kalyan Mosque. The longitudinal axis of the courtyard
ends up with a portal to the main chamber (maksura) with a cruciform
hall, topped with a massive blue cupola on a mosaic drum. The edifice
keeps many architectural curiosities, for example, a hole in one of
domes. Through this hole one can see foundation of Kalyan Minaret.
Then moving back step by step, one can count all belts of brickwork of
the minaret to the rotunda.
MIR-I ARAB MADRASSAH (1535-1536). The construction of Mir-i-Arab
Madrasah (Miri Arab Madrasah) is ascribed to Sheikh Abdullah Yamani of
Yemen - called Mir-i-Arab - the spiritual mentor of Ubaidullah-khan
and his son Abdul-Aziz-khan. Ubaidullah-khan waged permanent
successful war with Iran. At least three times his troops seized
Herat. Each of such plundering raids on Iran was accompanied by
capture of great many captives. They say that Ubaidullah-khan had
invested money gained from redemption of more than three thousand
Persian captives into construction of Mir-i-Arab Madrasah.
Ubaidullah-khan was very religious. He had been nurtured in high
respect for Islam in the spirit of Sufism. His father named him in
honor of prominent sheikh of the 15-th century Ubaidullah al-Ahrar
(1404-1490), by origin from
Tashkent Region. By the thirties of the
16-th century the time, when sovereigns erected splendid mausoleums
for themselves and for their relatives, was over. Khans of Shaibanid
dynasty were standard-bearers of Koran traditions. The significance of
religion was so great that even such famed khan as Ubaidullah was
conveyed to earth close by his mentor in his madrasah. In the middle
of the vault (gurhana) in Mir-i-Arab
Madrasah is situated the wooden
tomb of Ubaidullah-khan. At his head is wrapped in the moulds his
mentor - Mir-i-Arab. Muhammad Kasim, mudarris (a senior teacher) of
the madrasah (died in 1047 hijra) is also interred near by here. The
portal of Miri Arab
Madrasah is situated on one axis with the portal
of the Kalyan Mosque. However, because of some lowering of the square
to the east it was necessary to raise a little an edifice of the
madrasah on a platform.
* LAB-I HAUZ
Simurgh on the portal of Nadir Divan-Beghi madrasah (part of
Lab-i Hauz complex) Nasruddin Hodja
The LAB-I HAUZ (or Lab-e hauz, Persian: لب حوض, meaning by the
pond) Ensemble (1568–1622) is the name of the area surrounding one
of the few remaining hauz, or pond, in the city of Bukhara. Several
such ponds existed in
Bukhara prior to Soviet rule . The ponds acted
as the city's principal source of water, but were also notorious for
spreading disease, and thus were mostly filled in during the 1920s and
1930s by the Soviets. The
Lab-i Hauz survived owing to its role as the
centerpiece of an architectural ensemble dating 16th and 17th
Lab-i Hauz ensemble consists of the 16the century
Kukeldash Madrasah, the largest in the city, along the north side of
the pond. On the eastern and western sides of the pond are a
17th-century lodging-house for itinerant
Sufis , and a 17th-century
There is also a metal sculpture of Nasruddin Hodja , the quick-witted
and warm-hearted man, who forms the central character of many
children's folk stories in Central Asian, Afghanistan, and Pakistan,
sitting atop his mule with one hand on his heart and the other with an
'All OK' sign above his head.
* BAHOUTDIN ARCHITECTURAL COMPLEX
Bahoutdin Architectural Complex is a necropolis commemorating Shaykh
Baha-ud-Din or Bohoutdin , the founder of
Naqshbandi order. The
complex includes the dahma (gravestone) of Bahoutdin, Khakim Kushbegi
mosque, Muzaffarkan mosque, and Abdul-Lazizkhan khanqah. The site is
listed on the
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site tentative list on January
Wall of the
Bukhara Fortress, the Ark
* BUKHARA FORTRESS, THE ARK
Ark of Bukhara
* CHASHMA-AYUB MAUSOLEUM
Chashma-Ayub, or Job 's spring, is located near the Samani mausoleum.
Its name is said to reflect a legend that states the prophet Job
("Ayub" in the
Quran ) visited this place and brought forth a spring
of water by the blow of his staff on the ground. The water of this
well is said to be exceptionally pure, and is regarded for its
supposed "healing qualities." The current edifice at the site was
constructed during the reign of
Timur , and features a Khwarazm-style
conical dome that is otherwise uncommon in the region.
* ISMAIL SAMANI MAUSOLEUM
Ismail Samani mausoleum (9th-10th century), is one of the most
highly esteemed work of Central Asian architecture. It was built in
the 9th century (between 892 and 943) as the resting-place of Ismail
Samani - the founder of the
Samanid dynasty , which was the last
native Persian dynasty to rule the region in the 9th and 10th
centuries, after the
Samanids established virtual independence from
Abbasid Caliphate in
The site is unique for its architectural style which combines both
Zoroastrian and Islamic motifs. The building's facade is covered in
intricately decorated brick work, which features circular patterns
reminiscent of the sun - a common image in Zoroastrian art from the
region at that time which is reminiscent of the Zoroastrian god, Ahura
Mazda, who is typically represented by fire and light. The building's
shape is cuboid, and reminiscent of the Ka'aba in Makkah, while the
domed roof is a typical feature of mosque architecture. The syncretic
style of the shrine is reflective of the 9th and 10th centuries - a
time when the region still had large populations of Zoroastrians who
had begun to convert to Islam around that time.
The shrine is also regarded as one of the oldest monuments in the
Bukhara region. At the time of Genghis Khan's invasion, the shrine was
said to have already been buried in mud from flooding. Thus, when the
Mongol hordes reached Bukhara, the shrine was spared from their
The mausoleum of Pakistan's founding father,
Muhammad Ali Jinnah ,
known as the
Karachi , was modeled after the shrine.
* BOLO HAOUZ MOSQUE
Built in 1712, on the opposite side of the citadel of Ark in Registan
district, Bolo Haouz
Mosque is inscribed in the
UNESCO World Heritage
Site list along with the other parts of the historic city. It served
as a Friday mosque during the time when the emir of
Bukhara was being
subjugated under the Bolshevik Russian rule in 1920s.
* CHAR MINAR
Char Minor (alternatively spelled CHOR MINOR, and also alternatively
known as the MADRASAH OF KHALIF NIYAZ-KUL) is a building tucked away
in a lane northeast of the Lyabi Hauz complex. The structure was built
by Khalif Niyaz-kul, a wealthy Bukharan of Turkmen origin in the 19th
century under the rule of the Janid dynasty . The four towered
structure is sometimes mistaken for a gate to the madras that once
existed behind the structure, however, the Char-Minar is actually a
complex of buildings with two functions, ritual and shelter.
The main edifice is a mosque. In spite of its unusual outward shape,
the building has a typical interior for a Central Asian mosque. Owing
to the buildings cupola, the room has good acoustic properties and
therefore takes on special significance of 'dhikr-hana' – a place
for ritualized 'dhikr' ceremonies of
Sufi , the liturgy of which often
include recitation, singing, and instrumental music.
On either side of the central edifice are located dwelling rooms,
some of which have collapsed, leaving only their foundations visible.
Consequently, for full functioning of madrasah only of classroom and
some utility rooms is lacking. However, it was common practice that
so-called madrasahs had no lecture rooms or, even if they had, no
lectures had been given in them. These madrasahs were employed as
Each of four towers have different deco rational motifs. Some say
that elements of decoration reflect the four religions known to
Central Asians. One can find elements reminiscent of a cross, a
Christian fish motif, and a Buddhist praying-wheel, in addition to
Zoroastrian and Islamic motifs.
On the esplanade to the right from Char-Minar is a pool, likely of
the same age as the rest of the building complex. Char Minar is now
surrounded mainly by small houses and shops along its perimeter.
* MAGOK-I-ATTARI MOSQUE
The Magoki-Attari mosque (south façade)
The former Magoki Attori mosque was constructed in the ninth century
on the remains of what may have been an older Zoroastrian temple. The
mosque was destroyed and rebuilt more than once, and the oldest part
now remaining is the south façade, which dates from the twelfth
century - making it one of the oldest surviving structures in Bukhara,
and one of few which survived the onslaught of Genghis Khan. Lower
than the surrounding ground level, the mosque was excavated in 1935.
It no longer functions as a mosque, but rather houses a carpet museum.
* MOSQUE OF MIR SAYYID ALI HAMADANI
Bukhara there is a mosque which is said to be that of Mir Sayyid
Ali Hamadani , the patron saint of Kashmiri Muslims in the Valley of
Bukhara train station
Bukhara Airport has regularly scheduled flights to cities in
Uzbekistan and Russia. The M37 highway connects the city to most of
the major cities in
Ashgabat . The city is also
served by railroad links with the rest of Uzbekistan, and is a hub for
roadways leading to all major cities in
Uzbekistan and beyond.
Uzbekistan, Bukhara, Spices and silk festival
According to the official statistics, the city's population is 82%
Uzbeks , 6%
Russians , 4%
Tajiks , 3%
Tatars , 1%
Koreans , 1%
Turkmens , 1%
Ukrainians , 2% of other ethnicities. However, official
Uzbek numbers have for long been criticized and refuted by various
observers and Western sources and it is widely assumed that the
population of the city consists mainly of Tajik-speaking
Tajiks , with
Uzbeks forming a growing minority. Exact figures are difficult
to evaluate, since many people in
Uzbekistan either identify as
"Uzbek" even though they speak Tajik as their first language, or
because they are registered as
Uzbeks by the central government
Tajik language and identity. According to Soviet
estimates in the early 20th century (based on numbers from 1913 and
Tajiks formed the overwhelming majority of city. Until the
Bukhara was also home to the
Bukharan Jews , who's
language (Bukhori ) is a dialect of Tajiki. Their ancestors settled in
the city during Roman times. Most
Bukharan Jews left the city between
1925 and 2000 and settled in
Israel and the
United States .
Dehkhoda defines the name
Bukhara itself as meaning "full of
knowledge", referring to the fact that in antiquity,
Bukhara was a
scientific and scholarship powerhouse. In the Italian romantic epic
Orlando innamorato by
Matteo Maria Boiardo ,
Bukhara is called
Albracca and described as a major city of
Cathay . There, within its
walled city and fortress, Angelica and the knights she has befriended
make their stand when attacked by Agrican , emperor of
Tartary . As
described, this siege by Agrican resembles the historic siege by
Genghis Khan in 1220.
Many notable people lived in
Bukhara in the past. Among them are:
* Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Ibn al-Mughirah Ibn Bardizbah
al-Bukhari (810-870) - Islamic scholar and compiler of hadiths
Avicenna (Abu Ali ibn Sina) (980-1037) - physician and philosopher
* Bal\'ami : Abolfazl Muhammad and his son Abu-Ali Mohammad, two
famous viziers of
Samanid kings, historians and patrons of art and
Narshakhi (10th century) - historian who wrote History of
* Sadiduddin Muhammad Aufi (1171-1242) historian, scientist, and
* Hazrat Syed Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari (c. 595-690 AH ,
1199-1291 CE )
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari (1318–1389)
Amir Kulal (died in 1370)
Sadriddin Ayni (1878–1954)
Fayzulla Khodzhayev (1896-1938)
Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar
* List of
World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites in
* ^ Города Узбекистана, Таш.. 1965;
Ашуров Я. С., Гелах Т. Ф., Камалов У. Х.,
Бухара, Таш., 1963; Сухарева О. А., Бухара
XIX—начала XX вв., М., 1966; Пугаченкова Г.
А., Самарканд, Бухара, 2 изд., ; Бухара.
Краткий справочник, 4 изд., Таш., 1968. (in
* ^ "
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* ^ "21
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World Heritage Sites you have probably never heard of".
* ^ "UMID" Foundation, Uzbekistan. "General Info". Retrieved
* ^ Richard N Frye, \'
Bukhara i. In pre-Islamic times\' Archived
January 2, 2009, at the
Wayback Machine .,
Encyclopædia Iranica ,
* ^ Narshaki, Richard Nelson Fyre, The History of Bukhara, Pg 27
* ^ "Information about Bukhara". Retrieved 2013-05-01.
* ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History.
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* ^ "
Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire – The Brake on Islam" at
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Nation-State: A Study in Transition. Lexington Books. pp. 256–257.
* ^ Dmitriy Page. "Kalyan Minaret". Retrieved October 14, 2014.
* ^ "Бухоро
Bukhara Бухара" На узбекском,
английском и русском языках.
Издательство "Узбекистан", Ташкент 2000
* ^ "В.Г. Сааков Архитектурные шедевры
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* ^ Dmitriy Page. "Kukeldash Madrasah". Retrieved 2007-10-04.
* ^ Dmitriy Page. "Nadir Divan-Begi Khanaka". Retrieved 2007-10-04.
* ^ Dmitriy Page. "Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah". Retrieved
* ^ A B О.А.Сухарева КВАРТАЛЬНАЯ ОБЩИНА
ПОЗДНЕФЕОДАЛЬНОГО ГОРОДА БУХАРЫ (в
связи с историей кварталов) Академия
наук СССР Институт этнографии
Наука; Главная редакция восточной
литературы Москва 1976 (in Russian)
* ^ Dmitriy Page. "Char Minar Madrasah". Retrieved October 14,
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Viloyat haqida - Shahar va tumanlar (About the province -
Cities and districts)" (in Uzbek). Buxoro Region administration.
Retrieved March 4, 2014. External link in publisher= (help )
* ^ Karl Cordell: Ethnicity and Democratisation in the New Europe,
Routledge, 1998. Pg. 201: "... Consequently, the number of citizens
who regard themselves as
Tajiks is difficult to determine. Samarkand
State University (SamGU) academic and international commentators
suggest that there may be between six and seven million
Uzbekistan, constituting 30% of the republic's 22 million population,
rather than the official figure of 4.7% (Foltz 1996;213; Carlisle
* ^ A B
Paul Bergne : The Birth of Tajikistan. National Identity
and the Origins of the Republic. International Library of Central Asia
I.B. Tauris . 2007. Pg. 8 ff.
* ^ B. Rezvani: "Ethno-territorial conflict and coexistence in the
Central Asia and Fereydan. Appendix 4: Tajik population in
Uzbekistan" (). Dissertation. Faculty of Social and Behavioural
University of Amsterdam
University of Amsterdam . 2013
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Stanley Ross (Oxford University Press, 1995), Book I, Cantos 10-19 and
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* B. A. Litvinsky, Ahmad Hasan Dani (1996). History of Civilizations
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* Moorcroft, W. and Trebeck, G. (1841). Travels in the Himalayan
Provinces of Hindustan and the Panjab; in Ladakh and Kashmir, in
Peshawar, Kabul, Kunduz, and Bokhara... from 1819 to 1825, Vol. II.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to BUKHARA .
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for BUKHARA .
Wikisource has the text of The New Student\'s Reference Work
article BOKHARA .
* Through the Lens—the
Silk Road Then and Now -A century of change
is captured in photos of a fabled Central Asian oasis.
* Forbes, Andrew, & Henley, David: Timur\'s Legacy: The Architecture
Samarkand (CPA Media).
UNESCO World Heritage list: Historic Centre of Bukhara
* Audio interview with
Bukhara resident about life in Bukhara
* Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911).