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Updated:Saturday 11th October 2014

Bukhara Definition

city and region in Uzbekistan Lying east of the Amu Darya, it was founded in the 1st century AD and was a major trade centre when the Arabs captured it in 710. Built up by the Samanid dynasty, it became the capital of their realm, which at its height stretched from Baghdad to India and from Bukhara to the Persian Gulf. Falling to Genghis Khan in 1220 and to Timur in 1370, it was taken by the Uzbeks, who in the 16th century made it the capital of the khanate of Bukhara. In 1868 the khanate was made a Russian protectorate and in 1920 a Soviet republic. Bukhara was the capital until the republic was absorbed into the Uzbek S.S.R. in 1924. It became part of Uzbekistan on that country's independence in 1991. (Wikipedia) - Bukhara For other uses, see Bukhara (disambiguation). Bukhara Uzbek: Buxoro, Turkmen: Buhara Country Province Founded First mention Government  • Type  • Hakim (Mayor) Area  • City Elevation Population (2009)  • City  • Density  • Urban  • Metro Time zone Postcode Area code(s) Vehicle registration Website
BukharaLocation in Uzbekistan
Coordinates: 39°46′N 64°26′E / 39.767°N 64.433°E / 39.767; 64.433
Bukhara Province
6th Century BC
City Administration
Qiyomiddin Rustamov
39.4 km2 (15.2 sq mi)
225 m (738 ft)
6,700/km2 (17,000/sq mi)
GMT +5
(+998) 65
20 (previous to 2008) 80-84 (2008 and newer)
UNESCOWorld Heritage Site Historic Centre of Bukhara Type Criteria Reference UNESCO region Inscription history Inscription
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
ii, iv, vi
1993 (17th Session)

Bukhara (Uzbek: Buxoro; Russian: Бухара; Persian: بخارا‎; Turkmen: Buhara) is the capital of the Bukhara Province (viloyat) of Uzbekistan, before was in Turkmenistan. Bukhara is a city-museum, with about 140 architectural monuments. The nation''s fifth-largest city, the population on April 24, 2014 was approximately 272,710. The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long been a center of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. The historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassas, has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

  • 1 Names
  • 2 History
  • 3 Major sites
    • 3.1 Po-i-Kalan complex
    • 3.2 Ismail Samani mausoleum
    • 3.3 Chashma-Ayub mausoleum
    • 3.4 Lab-i Hauz
    • 3.5 Bukhara Fortress, the Ark
    • 3.6 mosque of Ali el hamadoni
    • 3.7 Char Minor
  • 4 Transportation
  • 5 Demographics
  • 6 Poetry and literature
  • 7 Notable people
  • 8 Twin towns – Sister cities
  • 9 Gallery
  • 10 See also
  • 11 References
  • 12 Sources
  • 13 Further reading
  • 14 External links


Bukhara was known as Bukhoro 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 Soghdian βuxārak ("Place of Good Fortune") which in turn is derived from Sanskrit vihara which means Buddhist moansteries. Bukhara emerged as an urban centre of Buddhism in the ancient times along the Silk Route in Central Asia.

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

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

History Main article: History of Bukhara

The history of Bukhara stretches back millennia. It is now the capital of the Bukhara Province (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, Bukhara became the intellectual center of the Islamic world. The historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassas, has been listed by UNESCO as one of the 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 of 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.

Bukhara under siege by Red Army troops and burning, 1 September 1920

Bukhara was the last capital of the Emirate of Bukhara and as besieged by the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. During the Bukhara operation of 1920 an army of well-disciplined and well equipped 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 (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. 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.

Major sitesKalyan or Kalon Minor (Great Minaret)

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".

Po-i-Kalan complex Main article: Po-i-KalyanThe Char Minor sitting midst its grounds

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, (Pesian/Tajik for the "Grand Minaret"). It is made in the form of a circular-pillar brick tower, narrowing upwards, of 9 meters (30 feet) diameter at the bottom, 6 meters (20 feet) overhead and 45.6 meters (150 feet) high. Also known as the Tower of Death, as for centuries criminals were executed by being thrown off the top.
  • Kalân Mosque (Masjid-i Kalân), arguably completed in 1514, is equal to the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand in size. Although they are of the same type of building, they are absolutely different in terms of art of building.
  • Mir-i Arab Madrassah. Little is known about its origin, although its construction is ascribed to Sheikh Abdullah Yamani of Yemen, the spiritual mentor of early Shaybanids. He was in charge of donations of Ubaidollah Khan (gov. 1533-1539), devoted to construction of madrasah.

Olot tumani

Ismail Samani mausoleum

The Ismail Samani mausoleum (9th-10th century), one of the most esteemed sights of Central Asian architecture, was built in the 9th century (between 892 and 943) as the resting-place of Ismail Samani - the founder of the Samanid dynasty, the last Persian dynasty to rule in Central Asia, which held the city in the 9th and 10th centuries. Although in the first instance the Samanids were Governors of Khorasan and Ma wara''u''n-nahr under the suzerainty of the Abbasid Caliphate, the dynasty soon established virtual independence from Baghdad.

Wall of the Bukhara Fortress, the ArkChashma-Ayub mausoleum

Chashma-Ayub is located near the Samani mausoleum. Its name in Persian means Job''s spring due to the legend according to which Job (Ayub) 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 still pure and is considered healing. The current building was constructed during the reign of Timur and features a Khwarazm-style conical dome uncommon in Bukhara.

Lab-i HauzPhoenix on the portal of Nadir Divan-Beghi madrasah (part of Lab-i Hauz complex)

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 (ponds) in the city of Bukhara. Until the Soviet period there were many such ponds, which were the city''s principal source of water, but they were notorious for spreading disease and were mostly filled in during the 1920s and 1930s. The Lab-i Hauz survived because it is the centrepiece of a magnificent architectural ensemble, created during the 16th and 17th centuries, which has not been significantly changed since. The Lab-i Hauz ensemble, surrounding the pond on three sides, consists of the Kukeldash Madrasah (1568–1569), the largest in the city (on the north side of the pond), and of two religious edifices built by Nadir Divan-Beghi: a khanaka (1620), or lodging-house for itinerant Sufis, and a madrasah (1622) that stand on the west and east sides of the pond respectively.

There is also an interesting metal sculpture of Nasruddin Hodja, the quick-witted and warm-hearted man, who forms the central character of many children''s folk stories in the Central Asian and Indian subcontinent, sitting atop his mule with one hand on his heart and the other with an ''All OK'' sign above his head.

Nasruddin HodjaBukhara Fortress, the Ark Main article: The Ark (fortress) mosque of Ali el hamadoni

In bukharo there is a masjid of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani

Char Minor

A beautiful building tucked away in one of the lanes behind the Lyabi Hauz complex is the Char Minor. This building is now surrounded mainly by small houses and shops on its perimeter. One may find an artisan or two selling a fine piece of hand drawn paintings.

TransportationBukhara 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 Turkmenistan including Ashgabat. The city is also served by railroad links with the rest of Uzbekistan.

DemographicsUzbekistan, Bukhara, Spices and silk festival

According to the official statistics, the city''s population is 82% Tajiks, 6% Russians, 4% Uzbeks, 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 Persian-speaking Tajiks, with ethnic 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 despite their Tajik language and identity. According to Soviet estimates in the early 20th century (based on numbers from 1913 and 1917), the Tajiks formed the overwhelming majority of city. Until the 20th century, Bukhara was also home to the (also Persian-speaking) Bukharan Jews, whose 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 of America.

Poetry and literature

Being a cultural magnet, Bukhara has long appeared in much local and Persian literature. Many examples can be given.

ای بخارا شاد باش و دیر زی Oh Bukhara! Be joyous and live long! شاه زی تو میهمان آید همی Your King comes to you in ceremony. ---Rudaki

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. Rumi verifies this when he praises the city as such:

آن بخارا معدن دانش بود "Bukhara is a mine of knowledge, پس بخاراییست هرک آنش بود Of Bukhara is he who possesses knowledge."

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.

Notable peopleFayzullo Ubaydulloyevich was a Bukharan politician.Aini Sadriddin was a famous Bukharan poet.

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 person of encyclopedic knowledge
  • Bal''ami: Abolfazl Muhammad and his son Abu-Ali Mohammad, two famous viziers of Samanid kings, historians and patrons of art and literature
  • Abubakr Narshakhi (10th century) - historian who wrote History of Bukhara
  • Sadiduddin Muhammad Aufi (1171-1242) historian, scientist, and author.
  • Hazrat Syed Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari(c. 595-690 AH, 1199-1291 CE)
  • Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari (1318–1389)
  • Amir Kulal (died in 1370)
  • Kiromi Bukhoroi
  • An Lushan
  • Sadriddin Ayni (1878–1954)
  • Fayzulla Khodzhayev (1896-1938)
  • Abdurauf Fitrat
  • Oksana Chusovitina
  • Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar
Twin towns – Sister cities
  • Nisa, Turkmenistan
  • Old Urgench, Turkmenistan
  • Merv, Turkmenistan
  • Samarkand, Uzbekistan
  • Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  • Khudjand, Tajikistan
  • Hamedan, Iran
  • Nishapur, Iran
  • Balkh, Afghanistan
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
  • Stork''s Nest at the top of a palace wall, before 1915

  • Trade dome Tagi Zargaron 16-th century (photo 2003)

  • mémorial Al-Boukhari

  • spices and silk festival 2009

  • spices and silk festival 2009

  • Boukhara 2009

  • Boukhara 2009

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