As mentioned in the holy Avesta book Bukhara s one of the most ancient Uzbek cities built ion the sacred hill of spring time offerings put by Zoroastrians. The name “Bukhara” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Vihari” that means “temple, cloister”. In the course of centuries the town had the names Numizkhat, Madinat-us-Surkhia, Madinat-ut-Tudjar, Fakhria.
It is assumed that the town was founded in the 13th c. BC during the reign of Siyavush who had come top over 980 years before Alexander the Great.
312 BC - establishment of Selevkids dynasty.
The 8th c. BC - Bukhara was conquered by Arabs under command of Kuteyba ibn Muslim and began growing as cultural, religious and philosophical center.
The 9th c. - Status of the capital of the Samanids’ state.
892-907- Reign of Ismail Samaniy.
The 9th – 10th c. development of handicraft production.
961-976 - Reign of the Emir Mansur ibn Nuh. Bukhara became the center of writers, scientists, artists; the reign of the Samanids was marked by the flowering of architecture.
999 - Bukhara was conquered by Nasr from the dynasty of the Karakhanids.
The 11th c. - Bukhara was conquered by Khoresm Shah’s brother; the beginning of the Sadrs dynasty.
1141 - Bukhara was under authority of Kara-Chinese.
1241 - Having suppressed the uprising of craftsmen, Khoresm-shah Makhmud annexed Bukhara to Khoresm.
1220 - Bukhara conquered by Mongols of Genghis-khan.
The 13th c - Bukhara destroyed and devastated by Mongols.
The 14th –15th cc. - The era of the Temurids.
The 16th c. - Bukhara became the capital of Bukhara khanate.
The 18th c. - Bukhara was conquered by Iranian Shah.
The end of the 18th c. - Overcoming the crisis; Bukhara returned to Bukhara khanate.
The beginning of the 19th c - the war for land between Bukhara and Khiva as well as the war between Bukhara and Kokand for possession of Djizak, Tashkent, Khodjikent.
Since 1924 - Bukhara lost the status of capital and within formerly controlled surrounding territory became a part of Uzbek Soviet Socialistic Republic.
Present day Bukhara is a historical and archeological museum under the open sky. Bukhara is going to the age of 2500.
The fortress base – I millennium citadel VI to XIX. The 20m ascent leads to the main gate of the citadel and the entrance booth for the museum. Master craftsmen line the cobbled pathway up to emir’s quarters with harem, the court, offices and arsenal. The view over the city is fantastic and the cool breeze most welcoming. Refreshments are served at the Chaikhana under a shady roof.
The mausoleum of Samanids, IX and X cc.
The earliest preserved mausoleum in Central Asia, the only one of its kind in the world, ringing in a new architectural area. Built by Ismail Samani in honor of his father, superbly patterned brick walls reflect the light in ever changing ways and the shadow plays throughout the day offer fascinating variants.
Kalan minaret, 1127
With its 50m the highest minaret in Uzbekistan. From here, citizens and visitors, travelers on The Great Silk Road, were called for prayers. Also an observation tower and during the Bukhara Emirate the place for public executions. Many legends are linked to this grand construction such as the story of master builder who prepared the foundation of alabaster and camel’s milk and then disappeared for two years, starting the trick work after the base was firmly dried.
Four sturdy minarets (chor = four, minor = minaret), covered in glazed tiles, the aywan type mosque, hauz and the cupola constructions of the main entrance make Chor Minor a unique ensemble not to be missed.
Trading domes (cupolas), XVI
It is in the city of Bukhara that wares from further East and West changed hands. Reloading batches of goods from one Caravan to the other demanded a high degree of organization. Bukhara ‘s trading domes each had their role to play. First cupola Taki-Sarrafon, moneychangers bazaar. Second cupola Taki-Tilpak Furshon headwear sellers bazaar. Third cupola the jewelers Taki-Zargaron. Today’s bargaining takes place in the very same trading domes plus Tim Abdulla Khan plus a large choice of outlets in Caravanserais and madrassah.
Lyabi-Hauz Ensemble, XVII
Bukhara’s land mark, famous all over the world. The central square around the big pond still today holds some of the magic of the past. Old men sitting on tapchans at the Chaikhana or playing backgammon right by the water, vendors selling sunflower seeds, children playing in the sun, the eversmiling Khodji Nasretdin riding on his cast iron donkey.
Nodir Devanbegi Madrassah, XVI
The two birds of phoenix facing a symbolic sun above the portal lead into the Madrassah with its many small shops, where Arts and Crafts are displayed. A dinner &show program with folk dance accompanied by traditional instruments and contemporary fashion is held under the stars in the courtyard.
Chor Bakr Necropolis, XIV
Situated outside the city center, this holy and not often visited ensemble contains burial vaults, mosque and khanaka.
Chashma-Ayub mausoleum, XII c.
The legend connects the monument with the prophet Iob (Ayub) who traveled as a preacher through the lands of Bukhara. During a drought, dying from thirst, local people asked him for water. As he struck the ground with his stick, he salubrious spring arose, from which refreshing water can still be tasted today. Located under the same roof, very fittingly, the water supplies the History museum of Bukhara.
Bayankuli-Khana Mausoleum, XIV
Constructed on an platform (sufe). The portal is decorated with terracotta and the delicate stone-hewn pattern looks like colored lace.
Kukeldash Madrassah, 1578
Bordering the Lyabi-hauz square this Madrassah is among the biggest and most monumental in Central Asia, with over 130 hujras as well as a splendid example of “white interior”. The entrance gate is of particular interest; inlay and fixtures are devoid of glue or nails and covered with heraldic ornaments.
Ulugbeg Madrassah, 1417
One of Central Asia’s architectural highlights, built by Ulughbeg, sober and strictly proportioned. Astral elements predominate in its ornamentation and the inscription sums up Ulughbeg’s life philosophy: “Pursuit of knowledge is the duty of each follower of Islam, man and woman”
Abdulaziz Khan Madrassah, 1652
Makes up an architectural ensemble with Ulughbeg madrassah but is more luxurious in its decor. The portal is distinguished for its height and rich exterior ornamentation. The complete range of its time were applied in the courtyard and rooms, namely carved tile and brick mosaic, relief majolica, marble carving, alabaster murals, gilding, kundat.
Miri-Arab madrassah, 1935
Together with the minaret and the Kalyan mosque it forms the famous complex, also referred to as “The Bukhara Forum”
Saifuddin Bokharzi mausoleum, XIII
The theologist and writer’s wooden tomb is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and the Mausoleum today accommodates the exhibits of a local museum.
Modari Khan and Abdullakhan Madrassah, XVI
Built by Abdullakhan II in honor of his mother and the Kosh fashion, meaning double, facing each other, both are important architectural monuments.
Sitorai Mokhi Khosa Summer palace, XIX
Commissioned by Akhat Khan, the Emir of Bukhara, the palace built in combination of European and Oriental design and built by the best masters who were partly trained in Russia. Today the palace houses a museum with interesting shops and a guesthouse.
Bolo Haus mosque, XVIII
Opposite the Ark, the graceful wood carved colonnade rests by the pond.
Bakhauddin Nakshbandi Mausoleum
12 km outside the city, this holy place of Islam is truly inspiring. Pilgrims, young and old, men and women, children, form near and far gather for blessings, prayers and a meal together in these peaceful and serene surroundings. A museum gives you more insight into yet a different aspect of Central Asian’s fascinating history.