Bukhara, is one of the most ancient cities in Uzbekistan, situated on a sacred hill. According to UNESCO - “Bukhara is the most complete and unspoiled example of a medieval Central Asian town which has preserved its urban fabric to the present day."
This large commercial center on the Great Silk Road was named from the "vihara" which means "monastery" in Sanskrit. What is more the town was once the center of learning renowned throughout the Islamic world.
Bukhara has more 350 mosques and 100 religious colleges and encompasses over 140 architectural monuments, the oldest of which date back to the Middle Ages.
The complex of Poi Kalon translated as the “base of the great” is the central architectural ensemble of Bukhara. The highlights of the complex and symbols of the city are the 46.5 meter Kalon Minaret(Lighthouse) and Kalon mosque. The outstanding building of the 16th-century Kalon Mosque can allocate up to 12,000 people under its arches. And the lighthouse which is the only original building of the complex was erected in 1127, and was predictably the tallest building in central Asia of that time.
The renowned the former royal town - the Ark fortress standing on a 20-meter hill is the oldest structure of Bukhara and an absolute must-see. The fortress was the legendary dwelling of Bukhara khans and was used as a royal residence from the 5th century to 1920, when the red army established its rule. According to a saga, the fortress’s seven basement pillars at its foundation were originally set up according to the location of the Great Bear's brightest stars.
The Chashma Ayub mausoleum (Museum of Water Supply) is also worth a visit. Also known as Job’s well the Chashma Ayub is believed to be found by the prophet Job who decided to help the people who suffered from water shortage. He struck the ground with his stick, making a source of crystal clear water, which people considered to have healing power and built a mausoleum over the source.
Bukhara is a real treasure trove of ancient monuments on the Silk Road.