Old City of Bukhara (World Heritage)

Its location as a traffic junction on the Silk Road made Bukhara one of the richest cities in Central Asia, whose cityscape is still characterized by masterpieces of Islamic architecture. These include the citadel, the tower-reinforced city wall, the Kaljan mosque, the Ulug-Beg madrasah and the Ismail-Samani mausoleum. Visit ask4beauty for travel to central Asia.

Bukhara Old City: Facts

Official title: Historical center of Bukhara
Cultural monument: located on the Silk Road, stronghold of Sunni Islam under the Samanid dynasty; Architectural monuments such as the citadel (Ark), the Great or Kaljan Mosque, the Ismail Samani mausoleum (9th / 10th century), the Madrasa (Koran school) Mir-i-Arab (16th century), the Koran school Abdullazis-Khan (1652) and the Ulugbek madrasa
Continent: Asia
Country: Uzbekistan
Location: Bukhara, Kyzylkum sand desert
Appointment: 1993
Meaning: an outstanding example of a medieval city in Central Asia with masterpieces of Islamic architecture from the 10th to 17th centuries.

Bukhara Old City: History

674 Arab rule over Bukhara
705-15 under the general Kutaiba ibn Muslim securing the Arab rule in Central Asia
875-999 During the rule of the Persian Samanids, the planned urban complex of Bukhara began
980-1037 Work of the Islamic philosopher and doctor Ibn Sina (Avicenna)
999 Elimination of the Samanids by the Ghaznavids
1199-1220 Bukhara under the rule of Khwarezmschah Ala ad-Din
1220 Conquest by Genghis Khan
1271-92 Marco Polo’s travels to the court and kingdom of Kubilai Khan
1500 Bukhara becomes the capital under the Uzbek Khan Sheibani
1514 Completion of the Great Mosque
1785-1920 Emirate of Bukhara
1868 Recognition of the supremacy of the Russian tsar by the Emir of Bukhara
1900 103 medreses with over 10,000 students
1920 Deposition of the Emir of Bukhara
1923/24 Division of Central Asia into five Soviet republics

“The most graceful place between the moon and the stars”

The contrast couldn’t be more blatant: Ironically, modern, alienated Gregorian chants by the German pop group »Enigma« resound from the boxes of a portable radio that a seller of music cassettes set up on his small open-air stand near the Koran schools in Bukhara. The refrain reads: “In Nomine Christi Amen”. But nobody seems to notice this and nobody feels disturbed in their religious feelings. English and American pop music can also be heard in the hotel lobby, with Michael Jackson singing: “We are the world”. This not only appears liberal and cosmopolitan – it is also surprising in the middle of the more than two thousand year old caravan town on the Silk Road, in the middle of Uzbekistan, where Islam has returned after decades of decreed atheism.

Morning sunshine awakens the oasis city and even bathes the concrete buildings on the periphery in a warm light. The domes of the Koran schools shimmer like turquoise sea water, and the slender minarets of the mosques, which rise above the sea of ​​roofs, are bathed in sunlight – above all the 46-meter-high Kaljan tower, on the top of which in the past a nocturnal fire drove the caravans showed their way to the splendor of the ancient Orient.

In contrast to its sister city Samarkand, not only individual historic buildings of high standing have been preserved in Bukhara, but almost the entire old town with around 140 cultural monuments. The oldest preserved building in the city, the mausoleum of Ismail Samani with its cube-shaped and domed burial chamber, even dates from the 9th / 10th. Century back.

The storytellers in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India have always raved about this country on the edge of the Kyzylkum Desert: “Behind the peaks, which only the griffin can conquer, lies the land of the sun. The cities are filled with fabulous scents. Balls of silk in all the colors of the rainbow are piled up in the bazaars, and the domes of the palaces shine together like sky and sea. “Bukhara was hailed as the” most graceful place between the moon and the stars, “and this can still be felt today. It is thanks to the Venetian merchant Marco Polo, who stayed at the court of Kubilai Khan in the 13th century and made extensive journeys in Central and East Asia, that Europe received news of “the noble”.

Today, Bukhara’s center resembles a living history museum: yellow adobe architecture, narrow streets, bazaars and Koran schools, mosques and mausoleums – some of which have already been restored – such as the Tak-i-Sargaron dome and the Abdullazis-Khan Medrese. The structure of the massive and so far only partially restored Ark fortress, in which the emir from the Sheibanid dynasty resided until the 20th century, was modeled on the constellation of the Great Bear. Koran schools have awakened to new life – first and foremost the Mir-i-Arab madrasah from the 16th century: boys who are not yet ten years old spread carpets in their shady courtyard, kneel down in prayer and devoutly listen to the remarks of the Prayer leader. And then one of the countless minarets resounds: “Allah u akbar” – “Allah is great”.

The bazaar smells of incense. Meat, fish, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and of course spices are on sale here. There is oriental hustle and bustle, especially stalls with heaped mountains of spices and tea are surrounded by numerous buyers. And silk fabrics are also still in demand. People of almost all skin tones and different facial features crowd between the stands, bargaining, swapping and chatting. One discovers the faces of Asia that have found themselves in the former hub of trade on the Silk Road: Mongolian pairs of eyes, thin Chinese beards, pale brown Persian complexion.

Old City of Bukhara (World Heritage)