|Founded||6th Century BC|
|o Type||City Administration|
|o City||143.0 km2 (55.213 sq mi)|
|o Urban||73.0 km2 (28.2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||225 m (738 ft)|
|o Density||2,702/km2 (7,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||GMT +5|
|Area code(s)||(+998) 65|
|Vehicle registration||20 (previous to 2008) |
80-84 (2008 and newer)
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., although Uzbek is spoken as a second language by most residents. Bukhara served as the capital of the Samanid Empire, Khanate of Bukhara, and Emirate of Bukhara and was the birthplace of Imam Bukhari. The city has been known as "Noble Bukhara" (Bukh?r?-ye shar?f). 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.
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.
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.
In the Tang dynasty, and other successive dynasties of Imperial China, Bukhara was known under the name of Buhe/Puhe(), which is the origin of the modern name of Bùh?l? ().
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.
At the beginning of the 11th century, Bukhara became part of the Turkic state of the Karakhanids. The rulers of the Karakhanids built many buildings in Bukhara: the Kalyan minaret, the Magoki Attori mosque, palaces and parks.
Bukhara lies west of Samarkand and was previously a focal point of learning eminent all through the Islamic world. It is the old neighborhood of the incomparable Sheik Naqshbandi. He was a focal figure in the advancement of the mysterious Sufi way to deal with theory, religion and Islam.
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, 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.Genghis Khan besieged Bukhara for 15 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 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 nir)--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.
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Criteria||Cultural: ii, iv, vi|
|Inscription||1993 (17th session)|
|Buffer zone||339 ha|
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.
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.
The Ismail Samani mausoleum (9th-10th centuries), 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 to 10th centuries, after the Samanids established virtual independence from the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad.
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 to 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 destruction.
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 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 student hospices.
Each of the four towers has different decorational 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. In 1995, due to an underground brook, one of the four towers collapsed  and emergency assistance was applied for and granted by UNESCO under the World Heritage Fund. Although the collapse resulted in destabilizing the entire structure, the authorities were anxious to keep awareness of the disaster to a minimum. Without explanation the building disappeared from the list of sights and after hurried reconstruction of the tower "using non-traditional building material, such as poor quality cement and steel" Char Minar returned as one of the most popular sights of the city, yet the event has been kept secret ever since.
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.
The former Magoki Attori mosque was constructed in the 9th 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 12th 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.
|Climate data for Bukhara (1981-2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.6
|Average low °C (°F)||-2.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||19.1
|Average precipitation days||10||10||10||8||7||2||1||1||1||4||7||9||70|
|Average relative humidity (%)||80||75||72||59||46||38||40||44||48||56||64||79||58|
|Source 1: Centre of Hydrometeorological Service of Uzbekistan|
|Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (humidity)|
Bukhara International Airport has regularly scheduled flights to cities in Uzbekistan and Russia. The Turkmenistan border is about 80 km away with the nearest city there being Türkmenabat, connected via the M37 highway which continues to other places in Turkmenistan including 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, including Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan via the M39 highway. The city of Samarkand is 215 km to the east of Bukhara.
Bukhara city is the largest transport hub after Tashkent in Uzbekistan. Inside the city there is facility of bus transportation. There are over 45 bus lines. Majority of them have been equipped with ISUZU buses but some buses are being brought from China. By the number of buses and bus routes facilities Bukhara is the largest after Tashkent in Uzbekistan.
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 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 Bukharan Jews, whose 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.
Ali-Akbar 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: