Mosques, madrasas & mausoleums of Bukhara (web only)

| May 15, 2020

Chor Minor mosque was built in 1807 by Khalif Niazkul. He built a madrasa with a courtyard and a pond, a summer mosque, and a four-turret building opening into the architectural complex. Kalyan minaret, at 47 metres tall was probably the tallest structure in Central Asia when built by Arslan Khan in 1127. As well as serving in a traditional capacity to announce the call to prayer, the minaret has also been used during its history as a beacon and a watchtower. At Miri-Arab madrasa, view the exquisite decor and architecture with its two blue domes that tower above the surrounding buildings in Bukhara’s centre. Along with the Kalyan mosque and minaret, it forms the Poi-Kalyan complex.

Other sights visited today will include the Ulugbek madrasa, founded in 1417, and the Abdullazizkhan madrasa, built in 1651 and located opposite. Visit the surviving trade domes, Lyab-i-Hauz complex and the ancient Silk Market.

Also visit the imposing fortress known as the Ark, which, although mostly dating from the last 300 years, is built on the site of a 2,000-year-old fortress and was continuously occupied from the fifth century until the 1920s. See the Chasma Ayub mausoleum, built over a spring in the 12th century where, according to legend, Job (Ayub) made a well by striking the ground with his staff. Visit the 17th-century Bolo Hauz mosque in Registan Square, a place of prayer for the emirs and their entourage.

The oldest monument in Bukhara is the Ismail Samani mausoleum, built in the early 10th century for the founder of the Samanid dynasty. The delicate brickwork on the facade of the building, incorporating Zoroastrian symbols (although the building was Islamic in origin), belies the huge, thick walls that have been part of the reason for the continued survival of the mausoleum – survival also aided by the fact the building was partially buried during Genghis Khan's visit, and so escaped his destruction.

View the Muslim shrine of Khoja Bakhautdin Naqshbandi, the spiritual teacher of Amir Timur and founder of the Sufi order Naqshbandi. Visit the Magoki Attori mosque, the most ancient mosque in Bukhara's old centre.

Continue to the former summer palace of the last emir of Bukhara, Sitorai Mohi Hosa. The construction of the palace lasted from 1912 to 1918 and employed the best master craftsmen of Bukhara as well as the Russian engineers Margulis and Sakovich. Then visit the Naqshbandi complex, one of Bukhara's most beautiful architectural sights and one of the most important Muslim shrines. In the main building is the khanqah, and to the west in a separate courtyard there is a large necropolis, where Naqshbandi is buried.

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