Bukhara has many faces and that`s why it is called multifaceted city. It is attributed to a variety of epithets – “Sacred Bukhara”, “Wise Bukhara,” “Blessed Bukhara”, “Scholastic Bukhara”, but probably the most faithful and accurate is the “Noble Bukhara”. Nobility of this city is traced in everything – in the age-old monuments of architecture, ancient streets, tall minarets and the Bukharians faces, their gait and manners. Over the city there soars special atmosphere in which the sacrament of an antiquity and precipitancy of the present are weaved. Each of numerous medieval monuments of Bukhara attracts crowd of tourists, pilgrims and simply connoisseurs of this beauty.
And it seems that all monuments are studied by scientists and considered by gapers up and down. But each person finds here something special and feelings experienced at these tiles and stones are incomparable with the brightest emotions, after all in them all wisdom of the world and power of a human civilization are hidden.
The whole of Bukhara is imbued with myths and legends. Their stories are told not only by experienced guides but gray-bearded elders, aksakals also. However the original picture was recreated by the scientists who carryied out excavations in this ancient city. In sections of almost 20-meter thickness of the soil archeologists found the remains of dwellings, public buildings, fortifications.
The found objects allow to define the time fraction they belong to: pottery, fireplaces, coins with images engraved on them and inscriptions, jewelry, handicraft tools – everything that characterizes activity and culture of human society.
Especially powerful there were bottom layers of the antique period (the III-IV centuries BC – IV century AD); the top layers remained from the medieval city of IX – the beginning of the XX centuries. Thus, the age of Bukhara dates back at least to 2500 years, as well as that of Samarkand. However locals are convinced that she is at least 3000 years old and insist on continuing excavation to help find real evidence of this.
Due to one of versions the name of the city occurs from “vikhara” that means a Buddhist monastery. The word “Bukhara” occurs from “bukhar” that in language of magicians means “a source of knowledge”. This word, close to the word of idolaters of Uyguriya and Katay (China) due to which the temple was a place (storage) of idols and was called Bukhar. The real name of the city was Lumjikat, – – says the chronicler of Bukhara Hafizi Tanysh’ (XVI century).
Since ancient times Bukhara was the center of a set of religions, there lived Zoroastrians, idolaters, Christians, Manicheans, and Buddhists. However at the end of the IX century the city became one of the major cultural and religious centers of the Muslim world, it was called “the Dome of Islam”. Till today, there remained many mosques, tombs, madrassahs.
Overall, the total number of monuments monumental public and residential architecture (over 4000) Bukhara is widely regarded as the biggest in Central Asia, an open air museum.
Among the most ancient monuments of Bukhara are fortifications and the gate of the city. The site of fortress reached up to our days with huge breaches. The remains of a wall are a unique monument of defensive system of Central Asia. Its fragments testify that it was the impregnable fortification construction intended for defense of the city during the endless feudal wars.
On outer side of the wall buttresses in the form of semi-towers which were built to fit into the rhythm of the city gate tower built of burnt bricks. Washed top of the wall bears traces of a gear parapet with loopholes at the level of a breast of a shooter behined whom there was a shooting gallery. The sandy pillow and here and there fieldstone masonry formed the basis of a wall. The length of the existing segment the wall is up to 4 km with the height up to 11 meters.
When specifying the date of emerging this defensive system, the majority of sources refer to work of Narshakhi “The History of Bukhara” (X century) according to which the first walls of shahristan were put during Takhirid`s, the Arab viceroys in the VIII century. The territory of the thriving city was considerably extended and was enclosed with a new rectangle of the walls which have captured both Ark, and early medieval shahristan (downtown) in 849/50 AD. Then these walls already decayed to the XII century were reinforced with new raw rampart during Qarakhanid ruler ArsIan Khan (1102-1130).
The new shaft of burnt brick girded Bukhara in 1164/65 during the rule of Masoud Klych Tamghachi Khan. Both shafts that have become unusable, were restored at the beginning of the XIII century (1207/08) at the rule of Khorezmshakh Mohammed, but in 1220 they were destroyed during the Mongolian invasion by armies of Chingiz Khan. Sources and monuments testify to its revival in the middle of the XIII century.
The next ring of walls surrounded suburbs in 1540-49 years. when Abdal-Aziz Khan I ruled there.
In the area the Arch, in southwest part of the city, still it is possible to see majestic massifs of medieval fortifications at the bottom which recreation park city stretches now.
The oldest monument of Bukhara is the Ark – the citadel and residence of Bukhara Rulers. According to archaeological data this structure refers to the III century B.C. According to archaeological data this structure refers to the III century B.C. The chronicle of the city narrates about numerous cycles of destruction and revival of the fortress, of its assaults and sieges.