Welcome to Bukhara
Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities in Central Asia.Long ago it was nicknamed as “Bukhoroi – sharif ” – “ Noble Bukhara”. The city is more than 2500 years old dating back to the Bukhara oasis (Sogdiana) mentioned in Avesta – the holy book of Zoroastranism.As some sources say, the word Bukhara is taken Most of the monuments in this romantic Eastern city, which attracts tourists from all over the world, date back to the Middle Ages.
In the ancient past, the Bukhara oasis formed part of Sogdiana, a vast region of Central Asia which had been conquered by Alexandr of Macedon.After seizing Samarkand, Alexandr spearheaded his legions deep into the Bukhara oasis.
The process of town formation was very active and the ancient settlements surrounding Bukhara developed into towns Varaksha, Vrdanzi, Ramish (Ramitan), Kermine, Paikend. Archeologists conducting excavations at Varakhsha have discovered an early feudal palace of the bukharkhudats displaying exquisite mural paintings in no way inferior to the famous murals of Pendikent.
All these towns had more or less a similar structural pattern: the ark (citadel), the shakhristan – well – planned residential core and a necropolis beyond the town limits where crypts were built to accommodate ceramic urns with the bones of the dead.
Architectural monuments and sights of Bukhara.
More than 140 monuments have remained in Bukhara. Most of the monuments in this romantic Eastern city, which attracts tourists from all over the world, date back to the Middle Ages. The old citadel, the monument of Bukhara was the nucleus of this medieval town.
The Arc citadel.
The oldest monument in Bukhara – the Ark citadel (from the Persian “Arg”) and residence of the local rulers was built on an artificial hillock. It dates back to the third century B.C. Legend, however, refers us to even greater depths in history, and associates the ancient fortress with the names of mythical characters from the ancient eastern epic poem “Shakhname” which was handed down from generation to generation. Here is what the sixteenth – century chronicle says:” the citadel in Bukhara was built for the following reason. Siyavush Ibn – Keikavus fled his father. He crossed the Djeihun and went to Afrasiyab who received him kindly and gave him his daughter in marriage. It is said that (Afrasiab) gave all his property to him. Siyavush wished to leave the memory of himself in these lands because he knew life was short and would not favour him.Thus he ordered the construction of the Bukhara citadel and lived init most of the time. When slander (gave rise to enmity) Afrasiab killed him. Siyavush was buried in the same citadel at the entrance to the eastern gates which are called “Kakfurushan” (vendors of the hay) and also known as “Gates of Gurian”. The fire – worshippers of Bukhara, for this reason, revere the given land. Every year, on the day of Navruz before dawn people bring a rooster to the place. The people of Bukhara have special laments to commemorate the killing (of Siyavush). Musicians have set them to music and call them “lament of the Magi”. These words are pronounced over three thousand years. Some say that Afrasiyab built the Bukhara citadel. The Ark was a city in itself and comprised closely spaced courtyards, offices, the residence of the emir, his wives, relatives and courtiers. Within the trapezoidal fortifications the construction layout was rectangular with the crossing of the main streets facing the four sides of the world. The Ark housed the residence of the emir, including the salomkhona ( greeting hall), the kurinishkhona ( audience chamber), the police department, the stables, various store houses, the treasury, the armory, the prison, the mint, mosques, mausoleums, jewelers’ workshops. Just outside the western walls of the citadel was the marketplace or Registan (registan is a Persian word which means “sandy place”.
Opposite the Ark, at a small pond, is the Bolo hauz mosque built in 1712: a richly decorated iwan was added by the last emir of Bukhara emir Alimkhan early in the XXth century. On Fridays Emir himself would come down to this mosque for prayer. The colors and carvings on the columns and the coffered ceiling are remarkable.
Another interesting monument is the nearby mausoleum Chashma Ayub (the Well of Job). By its style it belongs to the XIIth century but the inscription above the entrance gives the date of a reconstruction as 1380, or 1384.The conical shape of the cupola, in contrast to the usual bulbous one, is a an element alien to Transoxiana. In one can see the influence of Khorezm style, as it was built by Khorezmian builders brought in by Amir Timur after destruction of Gurganj.
The oldest monument in Central Asia, the mausoleum of Samanids, sometimes described as the tomb of Ismail Samanid is located in a park to the west of The Ark citadel. Ismail Samanid ruled Bukhara from the end of the IXth century to the beginning of the Xth. According to some historians this building is linked by all its principal elements to the pre – Islamic Soghdian traditions when architecture still had to make use of less solid and less durable materials – wood and sun-baked bricks. It is one of the rare monuments which have survived undamaged from pre – Mongol times.