Bukhara is one of the most ancient cities of Uzbekistan, situated on a sacred hill, the place where sacrifices were made by fire-worshippers in springtime. This city was mentioned in a holy book “Avesto”. Bukhara city is supposed to be founded in the 13th cent. B.C. during the reign of Siyavushids who came to power 980 years before Alexander the Great. The name of Bukhara originates from the word “vihara” which means “monastery” in Sanskrit. The city was once a large commercial center on the Great Silk Road.
Bukhara lies west of Samarkand and was once a center of learning renowned throughout the Islamic world. It is the hometown of the great Sheikh Bakhouddin Nakshbandi. He was a central figure in the development of the mystical Sufi approach to philosophy, religion and Islam. In Bukhara there are more than 350 mosques and 100 religious colleges. Its fortunes waxed and waned through succeeding empires until it became one of the great Central Asian Khanates in the 17th century.
Bukhara with more than 140 architectural monuments is a “town museum” dating back to the Middle Ages. 2,300 years later, ensembles like Poi-Kalyan, Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Ark, Lyabi-Khauz are attracting a lot of attention. The city consists of narrow streets, green parks and gardens, historical and architectural monuments belong to the different epochs, but locate very close to each other.
Some of the major sites on Uzbekistan tours to Bukhara include the following. The Kalan Mosque completed in the 16th Century is approximately the same size as the Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand. It can accommodate 12,000 people. The Kalan Minaret was known as the Tower of Death as it was where criminals were executed by being thrown off the top. It dominates the historical centre of Bukhara as it is 46 metres/150 feet high. The spectacular-looking Ark, a town-within-a-town, is Bukhara’s oldest structure and which was occupied from the 5th Century until 1920 when it was bombed by the Red Army. Most of it is in ruins except for some remaining royal quarters which house several museums including an archaeological museum and a nature museum. You can see the remains of the coronation court, the treasury and the harem on your Bukhara tour package.