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Bukhara (UK: /bʊˈxɑːrə/ buu-KHAH-rə,[1] US: /bʊˈkɑːrə, b-/ buu-KAH-rə, boo-;[2] Uzbek: Buxoro; Classical Persian: بخارا Bukhārā; Tajik: [buxɔːˈɾɔː]) is the fifth-largest city in Uzbekistan, with a population of 247,644 as of 31 August 2016,[3] and the capital of Bukhara Region.

People have inhabited the region around Bukhara for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long served as a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. The mother tongue of the majority of people of Bukhara is Tajik, a dialect of the Persian language.[4] Bukhara served as the capital of the Samanid Empire and Khanate of Bukhara and was the birthplace of Imam Bukhari.[5] The city has been known as "Noble Bukhara" (Persian: بخارای شریف [fa]‎). Bukhara has about 140 architectural monuments. UNESCO has listed the historic center of Bukhara (which contains numerous mosques and madrasas) as a World Heritage Site.[6]

Names

The exact name of the city of Bukhara in ancient times is unknown. The whole oasis was called Bukhara in ancient times, and probably only in the X century it was finally transferred to the city.[7]

There are various versions of the origin of the name of the city. According to a number of scholars based on the information of Juwaini, the name dates back to the Sanskrit "Vihara" (Buddhist monastery). This word is very close to the word in the language of the Uyghur and Chinese Buddhists, who named their places of worship the same way. However, no artifacts related to Buddhism and Manichaeism have yet been found in the city and oasis.

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica the name Bukhara is possibly derived from the Sogdian βuxārak ("Place of Good Fortune")[8]

In the Tang dynasty, and other successive dynasties of Imperial China, Bukhara was known under the name of Buhe/Puhe(捕喝)[9],which is the origin of the modern name of Bùhālā (布哈拉).

In the 19-20th centuries, Bukhara was known as Bokhara, in the English publications, as exemplified by the writings and reports on the Emirate of Bukhara during the Great Game.

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 Bukhara is more known than all the other names. In Khorasan, there is no other city with so many names.[10]

Since the Middle Ages, the city has been known as Buḫārā / بخارا in Arabic and Persian sources. The modern Uzbek spelling is Buxoro.

The city's name was mythologized as Albracca in the Italian epic poem Orlando Innamorato published in 1483 by Matteo Maria Boiardo.[11]

History

Suzani textiles from Bukhara are famous worldwide. This one was made before 1850
Coin belonging to the Greek government of Balkh found in Bukhara

The history of Bukhara stretches back millennia. In medieval times, Bukhara served as the capital of the Samanid empire, Khanate of Bukhara and was the birthplace of Imam Bukhari.

It is now the capital of 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 Samanids,[12] Bukhara became a major intellectual center of the Islamic world. The historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassas, has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Amir Alam Khan is the last Amir Bukhara 1911
Minister of Interior, Bukhara, circa 1905–1915

The Samanid Empire seized Bukhara, the capital of Greater Khorasan, in 903 CE.[13] Genghis Khan besieged Bukhara for 15 days in 1220 CE.[14][15] 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.[16]

Bukhara under siege by Red Army troops and burning, September 1, 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, 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 from Dushanbe to Kabul in 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 R

People have inhabited the region around Bukhara for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long served as a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. The mother tongue of the majority of people of Bukhara is Tajik, a dialect of the Persian language.[4] Bukhara served as the capital of the Samanid Empire and Khanate of Bukhara and was the birthplace of Imam Bukhari.[5] The city has been known as "Noble Bukhara" (Persian: بخارای شریف [fa]‎). Bukhara has about 140 architectural monuments. UNESCO has listed the historic center of Bukhara (which contains numerous mosques and madrasas) as a World Heritage Site.[6]

The exact name of the city of Bukhara in ancient times is unknown. The whole oasis was called Bukhara in ancient times, and probably only in the X century it was finally transferred to the city.[7]

There are various versions of the origin of the name of the city. According to a number of scholars based on the information of Juwaini, the name dates back to the Sanskrit "Vihara" (Buddhist monastery). This word is very close to the word in the language of the Uyghur and Chinese Buddhists, who named their places of worship the same way. However, no artifacts related to Buddhism and Manichaeism have yet been found in the city and oasis.

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica the name Bukhara is possibly derived from the Sogdian βuxārak ("Place of Good Fortune")[8]

In the Tang dynasty, and other successive dynasties of Imperial China, Bukhara was known under the name of Buhe/Puhe(捕喝)[9],which is the origin of the modern name of Bùhālā (布哈拉).

In the 19-20th centuries, Bukhara was known as Bokhara, in the English publications, as exemplified by the writings and reports on the Emirate of Bukhara during the Great Game.

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 Bukhara is more known than all the other names. In Khorasan, there is no other city with so many names.[10]

Since the Middle Ages, the city has been known as Buḫārā / بخارا in Arabic and Persian sources. The modern Uzbek spelling is Buxoro.

The city's name was mythologized as Albracca in the Italian epic poem There are various versions of the origin of the name of the city. According to a number of scholars based on the information of Juwaini, the name dates back to the Sanskrit "Vihara" (Buddhist monastery). This word is very close to the word in the language of the Uyghur and Chinese Buddhists, who named their places of worship the same way. However, no artifacts related to Buddhism and Manichaeism have yet been found in the city and oasis.

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica the name Bukhara is possibly derived from the Sogdian βuxārak ("Place of Good Fortune")[8]

In the Tang dynasty, and other successive dynasties of Imperial China, Bukhara was known under the name of Buhe/Puhe(捕喝)[9],which is the origin of the modern name of Bùhālā (布哈拉).

In the 19-20th centuries, Bukhara was known as Bokhara, in the English publications, as exemplified by the writings and reports on the Emirate of Bukhara during the Great Game.

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 Bukhara is more known than all the other names. In Khorasan, there is no other city with so many names.[10]

Since the Middle

Since the Middle Ages, the city has been known as Buḫārā / بخارا in Arabic and Persian sources. The modern Uzbek spelling is Buxoro.

The city's

The city's name was mythologized as Albracca in the Italian epic poem Orlando Innamorato published in 1483 by Matteo Maria Boiardo.[11]

The history of Bukhara stretches back millennia. In medieval times, Bukhara served as the capital of the Samanid empire, Khanate of Bukhara and was the birthplace of Imam Bukhari.

It is now the capital of 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 Samanids,[12] Bukhara became a major intellectual center of the Islamic world. The historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassas, has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Amir Alam Khan is the last Amir Bukhara 1911
capital of 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 Samanids,[12] Bukhara became a major intellectual center of the Islamic world. The historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassas, has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The Samanid Empire seized Bukhara, the capital of Greater Khorasan, in 903 CE.[13] Genghis Khan besieged Bukhara for 15 days in 1220 CE.[14][15] 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.[16]

Bukhara under siege by Red Army troops and burning, September 1, 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, 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 from Dushanbe to Kabul in AfghanistanBukhara 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, 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 from Dushanbe to Kabul in 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 (see nāẓir)—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. 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 Bukharan People's Soviet Republic existed from 1920 to 1925 when the city was integrated into the 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.[17]

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 the 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.[18] 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 (30 feet), while at the top it is 6 m (20 ft). The tower is 45.6 m (150 ft) 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 and skylight, upon which is based a magnificently designed stalactite cornice (or "sharif").[19]

آرامگاه اسماعیل سامانی

Kalân Mosque (Masjid-i Kalân), arguably completed in 1514, is equal to the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand in size. The mosque is able to accommodate twelve thousand people. Although Kalyan Mosque and Bibi-Khanym Mosque of Samarkand are of the same type of building, they are different in terms of art of building. Two hundred and eighty-eight monumental pylons serve as a support for the multi-domed 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

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 the 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.[18] 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 (30 feet), while at the top it is 6 m (20 ft). The tower is 45.6 m (150 ft) 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 and skylight, upon which is based a magnificently designed stalactite cornice (or "sharif").[19]

Kalân Mosque (Masjid-i Kalân), arguably completed in 1514, is equal to the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand in size. The mosque is able to accommodate twelve thousand people. Although Kalyan Mosque and Bibi-Khanym Mosque of Samarkand are of the same type of building, they are different in terms of art of building. Two hundred and eighty-eight monumental pylons serve as a support for the multi-domed 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.[20]

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 15th century Ubaidullah al-Ahrar (1404–1490), by origin from Tashkent Region. By the thirties of the 16th century the time, when sovereigns erected splendid mausoleums for themselves and for th

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 15th century Ubaidullah al-Ahrar (1404–1490), by origin from Tashkent Region. By the thirties of the 16th 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.[21]

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 back to the 16th to 17th centuries. The Lab-i Hauz ensemble consists of the 16th-century Kukeldash Madrasah,[22] the largest in the city, along the north side of the pond.[23] On the eastern and western sides of the pond are a 17th-century lodging-house for itinerant Sufis, and a 17th-century madrasah.[24]

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 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 UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list on January 18, 2008.

Fortress

Wall of the Bukhara Fortress, the Ark
  • Bukhara Fortress, the Ark

Mausoleums