In Sanskrit word, Bukhara signifies "monastery" and this city was once a large commercial center on the Great Silk Road. Bukhara was already considered an important cultural and trade center, which in fact determined the dramatism of the city's historical fate.

Uzbek Bukhoro, also spelled Buchara, or Bokhara, city and administrative centre, Bukhoro oblasti (province), Uzbekistan, on the Shakhrud Canal in the delta of the Zeravshan River, at the centre of Bukhara oasis. Founded not later than the 1st century AD, it was already a major trade and crafts centre when the Arabs captured it in 709. The capital of the Samanid dynasty in the 9th-10th century, it later was seized by the Qarakhanids and Karakitais before falling to Genghis Khan in 1220 and to Timur (Tamerlane) in 1370. In 1506 Bukhara was conquered by the Uzbek Shaybanids, who, from the mid-16th century, made it the capital of their state, which became known as the khanate of Bukhara.

Bukhara attained its greatest importance in the late 16th century, when the Shaybanids' possessions included most of present-day Central Asia as well as northern Persia and Afghanistan. The emir Mohammed Rahim freed himself from Persian vassalage in the mid-18th century and founded the Mangit dynasty. In 1868 the khanate was made a Russian protectorate, and in 1920 the emir was overthrown by Red Army troops. Bukhara remained the capital of the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic, which replaced the khanate, until the republic was absorbed into the Uzbek S.S.R. in 1924. It remained the capital when Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991. The city grew rapidly after the discovery in the late 1950s of natural gas nearby.

The old town still retains much of its former aspect, with its mosques, madaris (Muslim theological schools), flat-roofed houses of sun-dried bricks, and remains of covered bazaars. Among important buildings are the Ismail Samani Mausoleum (9th-10th century); the Kalyan minaret (1127) and mosque; the Ulugh Beg (1417), Poi-Kalon (1127), Kukeldash (16th century), Abdulaziz-Khan (1652), and Miri-Arab (1536) madaris; and the Ark, the city fortress, which is the oldest structure in Bukhara. The city's economy is based on a number of food and light-industrial undertakings, including a large works processing Karakul lambs' fleece. Bukhara is also growing in importance as the largest city in a natural gas region. Certain traditional handicrafts, such as gold embroidery and metalworking, are still practiced. Cultural amenities include a teacher-training institute, a theatre, and a museum. Pop. (1991 est.) 249,600.

Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities in Central Asia. Most of the monuments in this romantic eastern city, which attracts tourists from all over the world, date back to the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, archeological excavations conducted by the Uzbek Academy of Sciences have revealed thick cultural layers, i.e. traces of ancient settlements in location providing suitable conditions of life. It has been established as a fact that Bukhara never changed its site but developed vertically. In archeological cross-section of almost 20 meters thick there have been discovered the remnants of dwellings, public buildings and fortifications. These have been dated on the basis of the artifacts associated with them: ceramic pottery, fireplaces, coins bearing images and inscriptions, jewelry, tools of artisan. The lower layers (3rd-4th centuries B.C. to the 4th century A.D.) of the periods of antiquity are the thickest. The upper layers are those of the Medieval city (from the ninth to the beginning of the twentieth centuries). This means that Bukhara is at least 2500 years old, just like Samarkand.

The most famous monuments:

• Ark
• The Mausoleim of the Samanides (IX and X century)
• Kalyan Minaret (The Great Minaret +1127)
• Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum +XII
• Bayankuli-Khana Mausoleum XIV
• Ulugbek Medrese 1417
• Kukeltash Medrese +1578
• Abdulaziz-Khan Medrese +1652
• Miri Arab Medrese +1535
• Chor-Minor +1807
• Saifiddin Bokharzi Mausolem XIII
• Trading domes = cupolas +16 century
• Madari Khan and Abdullakhan Medrese XVI
• Lyabi-Hauz Ensemble +17 century
• Nodir Devan Begi Medrese XVII
• Nodir Devan Begi Khana XVI
• Sitorai Mokhi Khosa Summer Palace IXX
• Chor Bakhor Nekropolis VIX
• Bolo Hauz Mosque
• Bakhauddin Nakshibandi Mausoleum


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