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Buxoro  (Uzbek)
بخارا  (Persian)
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Location in Uzbekistan
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Bukhara (West and Central Asia)
Coordinates: 39°46′N64°26′E / 39.767°N 64.433°E / 39.767; 64.433
Region Bukhara
Founded6th Century BC
First mention500
  TypeCity Administration
  Hakim (Mayor)Utkir Jumaev
  City143.0 km2 (55.213 sq mi)
73.0 km2 (28.2 sq mi)
225 m (738 ft)
  Density3,824/km2 (9,900/sq mi)
Time zone GMT +5
Area code(s) (+998) 65
Vehicle registration 20 (previous to 2008)
80-84 (2008 and newer)
HDI (2018)0.734 · 5th high
Website http://www.buxoro.uz/
Official nameHistoric Centre of Bukhara
Criteriaii, iv, vi
Reference no. 602
State PartyUzbekistan
Region Asia

Bukhara (Uzbek: Buxoro/Бухоро, pronounced  [buχɒrɒ] ; Tajik : Бухоро, pronounced  [buxɔːˈɾɔː] ) is the fifth-largest city in Uzbekistan, with a population of 247,644 as of 31 August 2016, [1] and the capital of Bukhara Region.


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, [2] 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. [3] The city has been known as "Noble Bukhara" (Bukhārā-ye sharīf). 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. [4]


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 tenth century it was finally transferred to the city. [5]

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.

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica , the name Bukhara is possibly derived from the Sogdian βuxārak ("Place of Good Fortune") [6]

In the Tang dynasty, and other successive dynasties of Imperial China, Bukhara was known under the name of Buhe/Puhe(捕喝), [7] which has been replaced in Chinese by the modern generic phonetic spelling Bùhālā (布哈拉).

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 AD 943-44) 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. [8]

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

The city's name was mythologized as Albracca in the Italian epic poem Orlando Innamorato published in 1483 by Matteo Maria Boiardo. [9]


Suzani textiles from Bukhara are famous worldwide. This one was made before 1850 Suzani, Bukhara pre-1850.jpg
Suzani textiles from Bukhara are famous worldwide. This one was made before 1850
Coin belonging to the Greek government of Balkh found in Bukhara EucratidesStatere.jpg
Coin belonging to the Greek government of Balkh found in Bukhara

The history of Bukhara stretches back millennia. In medieval times, Bukhara served as the capital of the Samanid Empire, Khanate of Bukhara and was the birthplace of Imam Bukhari.

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. [10]

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. [11]

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, [12] 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.

Amir Alim Khan, the last emir of Bukhara, circa 1911 Prokudin-Gorskii-19.jpg
Amir Alim Khan, the last emir of Bukhara, circa 1911
Minister of Interior, Bukhara, circa 1905-1915 Minister of Interior Bukhara.jpg
Minister of Interior, Bukhara, circa 1905–1915

The Samanid Empire seized Bukhara, the capital of Greater Khorasan, in AD 903. [13] Genghis Khan besieged Bukhara for 15 days in 1220. [14] [15] 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. [16]

Bukhara under siege by Red Army troops and burning, September 1, 1920 Fires in Bukhara 1920.jpg
Bukhara under siege by Red Army troops and burning, September 1, 1920

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 nāẓir )—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. [17]

Historic monuments in Bukhara

Historic Centre of Bukhara
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Kalon-Ensemble Buchara.jpg
Kok-Gumbaz mosque
Criteria Cultural: ii, iv, vi
Reference 602
Inscription1993 (17th Session)
Area216 ha
Buffer zone339 ha
Kalyan or Kalon Minor (Persian: mnrh khln
) (Great Minaret) Bukhara01.jpg
Kalyan or Kalon Minor (Persian : مناره کلان) (Great Minaret)

Architectural complexes

Ismail Samani mausoleum, armgh sm`yl smny Bukhara by Pouria Afkhami aka pixoos 03.jpg
Ismail Samani mausoleum, آرامگاه اسماعیل سامانی
Simurgh on the portal of Nadir Divan-Beghi madrasah (part of Lab-i Hauz complex) Nadir Divan-begi Madrasa.jpg
Simurgh on the portal of Nadir Divan-Beghi madrasah (part of Lab-i Hauz complex)
Nasruddin Hodja Nasruddin Hodja.JPG
Nasruddin Hodja
An alley close to Lab-i Hauz khwchh y dr nzdykhy lb HwD Bukhara by Pouria Afkhami aka pixoos 04.jpg
An alley close to Lab-i Hauz کوچه ای در نزدیکی لب حوض

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.


Wall of the Bukhara Fortress, the Ark Ark fortress in Bukhara.jpg
Wall of the Bukhara Fortress, the Ark


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.

The mausoleum of Pakistan's founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, known as the Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi, was modeled after the shrine.


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 Minar Chor minor from southwest.jpg
Char Minar

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. [25] 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. [25]

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. [26] In 1995, due to an underground brook, one of the four towers collapsed [27] 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" [28] 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 Magoki-Attari mosque (south facade) Magoki-Attari.JPG
The Magoki-Attari mosque (south façade)

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.

In Bukhara there is a mosque which is said to be that of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, the patron saint of Kashmiri Muslims in the Valley of Kashmir. [29]

mdrsh myr `rb, mnrh khln w mdrsh khn Bukhara by Pouria Afkhami aka pixoos 02.jpg
مدرسه میر عرب، مناره کلان و مدرسه خان


About 140 miles (225 km) west of Samarkand in south-central Uzbekistan, Bukhara is located on the Zeravshan River, at an elevation of 751 feet (229 meters).


Bukhara has a typically Central Asian cool arid climate (Köppen BWk). The average maximum afternoon temperature in January is 6.6 °C or 43.9 °F, rising to an average maximum of around 37.2 °C or 99.0 °F in July. Mean annual precipitation is 135 millimetres or 5.31 inches.

The water was important in the hot, dry climate of Central Asia, so from ancient times, irrigation farming was developed. Cities were built near rivers and water channels were built to serve the entire city. Uncovered reservoirs, known as hauzes, were constructed. Special covered water reservoirs, or sardobas, were built along caravan routes to supply travelers and their animals with water.

However, the heavy use of agrochemicals during the era under the Soviet Union, diversion of huge amounts of irrigation water from the two rivers that feed Uzbekistan, and the chronic lack of water treatment plants, have caused health and environmental problems on an enormous scale.[ citation needed ]

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 days10101087211147970
Average relative humidity (%)80757259463840444856647958
Source 1: Centre of Hydrometeorological Service of Uzbekistan [30]
Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (humidity) [31]


Bukhara train station Bukhara train.jpg
Bukhara train station

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. [32]

Internal transportation facilities

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.


Bukhara recorded a population of 279,200 in the 2019. Bukhara (along with Samarkand) is one of the two major centers of Uzbekistan's Tajik minority. Bukhara was also home to the Bukharian Jews, whose ancestors settled in the city during Roman times. Most Bukharian Jews left Bukhara between 1925 and 2000.

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. [33]

Ethnic groups

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. [34] However, official Uzbek numbers have for long been criticized and refuted by various observers and Western sources [35] [36] and it is widely assumed that the population of the city consists mainly of Tajik-speaking Tajiks, with ethnic Uzbeks forming a growing minority. [37] 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. [36] 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.


The religion with the largest community of followers is Islam. The majority of the Muslims are Sunni Muslims make up 88 percent of the population, Eastern Orthodox 9 percent, and others 3 percent.

Uzbekistan, Bukhara, Spices and silk festival Boukhara 4654a.jpg
Uzbekistan, Bukhara, Spices and silk festival

Notable people

Many notable people lived in Bukhara in the past. Among them are:

International relations

The following is a list of Bukhara's sister cities: [38]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Registan Historical center of Samarkand, Uzbekistan

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Emirate of Bukhara Historical Central Asian state between the 18th and 20th centuries)

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Sayyid Mir Muhammad Alim Khan Emir of Bukhara

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Samanid Mausoleum

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Lyab-i Hauz

Lab-i Hauz, sometimes also known as Lyab-i Khauz, a Russian approximation, is the name of the area surrounding one of the few remaining hauz pools that have survived in the city of Bukhara. Until the Soviet period there were many such pools, 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.


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Architecture of Central Asia refers to the architectural styles of the numerous societies that have occupied Central Asia throughout history. These styles include Timurid architecture of the 14th and 15th centuries, Islamic-influenced Persian architecture and 20th century Soviet Modernism. Central Asia is an area that encompasses land from the Xinjiang Province of China in the East to the Caspian Sea in the West. The region is made up of the countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. The influence of Timurid Architecture can be recognised in numerous sites in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, whilst the influence of Persian Architecture is seen frequently in Uzbekistan and in some examples in Turkmenistan. Examples of Soviet Architecture can be found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

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Sayram is a rural locality located in southeastern South Kazakhstan Region on the Sayram Su River, which rises at the nearby 4000-meter mountain Sayram Su. In medieval times, the city and countryside were located on the banks of the Arys River, into which the Sayram Su river flows. It is now a suburb of Shymkent. Population: 30,887 ; 25,408.

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 history of Bukhara stretches back for millennia. The origin of its inhabitants goes back to the period of Aryan immigration into the region. The city itself, currently the capital of the Bukhara Province (viloyat) of Uzbekistan, is about two and a half thousand years old. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long been a centre of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. During the Golden age of Islam, under the rule of Samanids, Bukhara became the intellectual centre of the Islamic world. In medieval times, Bukhara served as the capital of the Khanate of Bukhara and was the birthplace of Imam Bukhari.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Bukharan Peoples Soviet Republic Soviet republic in present-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan from 1920 to 1924

The Bukharan People's Soviet Republic was a short-lived Soviet state that governed the former Emirate of Bukhara during the years immediately following the Russian Revolution. In 1924, its name was changed to the Bukharan Socialist Soviet Republic. After the redrawing of regional borders, its territory was assigned mostly to the Uzbek SSR and some to the Turkmen SSR.

The architecture of Uzbekistan is noted for its originality. Many consider Uzbekistan’s architecture to be notable despite the changing economic conditions, technological advances, demographic fluctuations, and cultural shifts that the country has experienced.

Chor Minor

Chor Minor, alternatively known as the Madrasah of Khalif Niyaz-kul, is a historic gatehouse for a now-destroyed madrasa in the historic city of Bukhara, Uzbekistan. It is located in a lane northeast of the Lyab-i Hauz complex. It is protected as a cultural heritage monument, and also it is a part of the World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Bukhara. In Persian, the name of the monument means "four minarets", referring to the building's four towers.

Magok-i-Attari Mosque Mosque in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Maghoki Attori Mosque is a historical mosque in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. It forms a part of the historical religious complex of Lyab-i Hauz. The mosque is located in the historical center of Bukhara, about 300 meters southwest of Po-i-Kalyan, 100 meters southwest of the Toqi Telpak Furushon trading dome and 100 meters east of Lab-i Hauz. 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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  2. Rahim Masov, The History of the Clumsy Delimitation, Irfon Publ. House, Dushanbe, 1991 (in Russian). English translation: The History of a National Catastrophe Archived 2016-12-10 at the Wayback Machine , transl. Iraj Bashiri, 1996.
  3. Города Узбекистана, Таш.. 1965; Ашуров Я. С., Гелах Т. Ф., Камалов У. Х., Бухара, Таш., 1963; Сухарева О. А., Бухара XIX—начала XX вв., М., 1966; Пугаченкова Г. А., Самарканд, Бухара, 2 изд., [М, 1968]; Бухара. Краткий справочник, 4 изд., Таш., 1968. (in Russian)
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Further reading

Coordinates: 39°46′N64°26′E / 39.767°N 64.433°E / 39.767; 64.433