Visitors to this "city-museum" are plunged into a fully immersive historical experience and delighted by its ancient wonders including the Kalyan Minaret with its Kalan Mosque, the awe-inspiring Ark Fortress and the city's beautiful covered bazaars and markets.
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Since the Shaybanid era in the 16th century, the area around the Lyabi Hauz has become a warren of covered bazaars, teeming with activity. The lanes are lined with market stalls with their domed roofs and, despite a dramatic overhaul during Soviet occupation, remain a wonderful treasure trove of souvenirs.
An architectural ensemble built around one of the city’s few remaining pools, shaded by mulberry trees that date back to the 17th century when it was built, this is one of the most pleasant sites in Bukhara. The plaza is framed by two madrassas and a khanaka - a lodging house. By the pond sits a statue of Nasruddin Hodja, a character who appears in many children’s folk tales in central Asia.
Samani Park is home to two of the city’s most interesting mausoleums. Ismail Samani Mausoleum was built in the 9th century and, as the resting place of the Samanids - the last Persian dynasty to hold power, is an important Islamic landmark. Nearby is the mausoleum of Chashma-Ayub in which there is a natural spring reputed to have been brought forth by Job when he struck his staff on the spot. The waters are said to have healing properties.
This historical architectural complex was built in the 16th century around the base of Kalyan Minaret, which dates back to the 12th century. It includes the Mir-i Arab Madrasa and the Kalan Mosque, through which visitors can access the 105 steps that lead to the top of the Minaret. The Kalyan Minaret was at one time the tallest in central Asia. Sometimes known as the Tower of Death, in medieval times it was the site for criminal executions.
Built in the 5th century AD both for military purposes and as royal living quarters, the dramatic and imposing Ark was a mini town within the city, which housed the various courts who held power over Bukhara right up until it was bombed by Russia in 1920. Now its ruins are home to various mosques and museums that chart the city’s history.
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