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Things to Do in Bukhara

Things to Do, Bukhara

Bukhara stands as one of the finest and oldest cities in the world. The history of Bukhara spans over 2600 years and it has been a centre of power, politics, culture and development since its inception. Bukhara is rich in historical sites, with about 140 architectural monuments. The city served as the capital of the Samanid empire and Khanate of Bukhara and was the birthplace of Imam Bukhari.

Ismail Samani Mausoleum, the 9th-century monument whose exterior is an intricate pattern of delicate masonry resembling the lace; majestic Ark fortress, once a fortified residence of the rulers of Bukhara; Kalyan Minaret whose vertical lines mark the city skyline at about 50 metres; a living maze of numerous mosques and madrasahs, caravanserais, baths and multi-domed market buildings - all these monuments are inimitable gems of Holy Bukhara.

As time progressed, various monuments, palaces and religious buildings have been constructed in the city and these now stand as beautiful tourist attractions and a reminder of the cities glorious past. Bukhara is consistently ranked as one of the top tourist destinations in Uzbekistan and Central Asia.

Let's explore the most stunning landmarks, attractions and spots in Bukhara you shouldn’t miss.

Things to do in Bukhara

  • Visit Chor-Minor - Chor Minor (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.

  • Visit Kalyan Minaret - The Kalyan minaret is a minaret of the Po-i-Kalyan mosque complex in Bukhara, Uzbekistan and one of the most prominent landmarks in the city.

    The minaret, designed by Bako, was built by the Qarakhanid ruler Mohammad Arslan Khan in 1127 to summon Muslims to prayer five times a day. In times of war, warriors used the minaret as a watchtower to lookout for enemies.

    About a hundred years after its construction, the tower so impressed Genghis Khan that he ordered it to be spared when all around was destroyed by his men. It is also known as the Tower of Death, because until as recently as the early twentieth century criminals were executed by being thrown from the top. Fitzroy Maclean, who made a surreptitious visit to the city in 1938, says in his memoir Eastern Approaches, "For centuries before 1870, and again in the troubled years between 1917 and 1920, men were cast down to their death from the delicately ornamented gallery which crowns it.

  • Visit Ark Fortress - The Ark of Bukhara is a massive fortress located in the city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan that was initially built and occupied around the 5th century AD. In addition to being a military structure, the Ark encompassed what was essentially a town that, during much of the fortress' history, was inhabited by the various royal courts that held sway over the region surrounding Bukhara.

    The Ark was used as a fortress until it fell to Russiain 1920. Currently, the Ark is a tourist attraction and houses museums covering its history.

  • Visit Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble - The Lyabi Khauz Ensemble (1568–1622) is the name of the area surrounding one of the few remaining Khauz, or pond, in the city of Bukhara. Several such ponds existed in Bukhara prior to Soviet rule. The ponds acted as the city's principal source of water, but were also notorious for spreading disease, and thus were mostly filled in during the 1920s and 1930s by the Soviets.

    The Lyabi Khauz survived owing to its role as the centerpiece of an architectural ensemble dating back to the 16th to 17th centuries. The Lyabi Khauz ensemble consists of the 16th-century Kukeldash Madrasah, the largest in the city, along the north side of the pond. On the eastern and western sides of the pond are a 17th-century lodging-house for itinerant Sufis, and a 17th-century madrasah.

  • Visit Bukhara Tower - Houses a glass elevator, a paid observation deck with binoculars (above), small French restaurants (on the second tier and below), a cafeteria, a tourist information center with museums (below). Bukara Tower is the best observation deck to see all the beauty of Bukhara.

  • Visit Bolo-Khauz Complex - Built in 1712, on the opposite side of the citadel of Ark in Registan district, Bolo Khauz 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.

  • Visit Kalyan Mosque - Kalyan Mosque, arguably completed in 1514, is equal to the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand in size. The mosque is able to accommodate twelve thousand people. Although Kalyan Mosque and Bibi-Khanym Mosque of Samarkand are of the same type of building, they are different in terms of art of building.

    Two hundred and eighty-eight monumental pylons serve as a support for the multi-domed roofing of the galleries encircling the courtyard of Kalyan Mosque. The longitudinal axis of the courtyard ends up with a portal to the main chamber (maksura) with a cruciform hall, topped with a massive blue cupola on a mosaic drum.

    The edifice keeps many architectural curiosities, for example, a hole in one of domes. Through this hole one can see foundation of Kalyan Minaret. Then moving back step by step, one can count all belts of brickwork of the minaret to the rotunda.

  • Visit Nodir Devonbegi Madrasah - Madrasah in Bukhara, part of the architectural ensemble of the XVI-XVII centuries Lyabi-house. The madrasah was built in 1622-1623. by the vizier of Imamkuli-khan, Uzbek dignitary Nodir Devon-run as a caravanserai, but was later converted into a madrasah. In 1993, the madrasah, along with other monuments of the historical center of Bukhara, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the evening you can enjoy the show inside the madrasah.

  • Visit Trading domes - There are four trading domes have only survived up to now: Toki-Sarrofon Trading Dome, Telpak Furushon Trading Dome, Tim Abdullakhan Trading Dome and Toki-Zargaron Trading Dome.

  • Visit Magoki-Attori Mosque - Magoki-Attori Mosque is a historical mosque in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. It forms a part of the historical religious complex of Lyabi Khauz. The mosque is located in the historical center of Bukhara, about 300 meters southwest of Poi-Kalyan, 100 meters southwest of the Toqi Telpak Furushon trading dome and 100 meters east of Lyabi Khauz. It is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Bukhara. Today, the mosque is used as a carpet museum.

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