Tashkent. "Two civilizations, one is ancient, kept unchanged from biblical time and another one, new, European with all its advantages and disadvantages exist together in peace…" These words describe best modern Tashkent, though were written 100 years ago. The knowledge about ancient period of the history of Tashkent is hazy, because the place where nowadays is a multimillion bustling capital of Uzbekistan, at that time for scientists and writers was the end of inhabited world. Ancient Persians called all nomadic tribes of Central Asia Saka. From documents of Achaemenids Empire it is known, that the tribes wandering 2, 5 thousand years ago on the area of modern Tashkent, were called khaomavarga (honoring khaoma). In ancient cults of the East khaoma was called special drink or incense for religious ritual. However in the second half of 1 millennium BC inevitable historical progress called for new needs of "shepherds" and became a reason for change from nomadic to settled way of life and appearing first settlements at the border between Great Eurasian steppe corridor and internal parts of Central Asia. Tashkent arose. Area of Tashkent was known in ancient times as Chach. In Chinese sources dated II-I c. BC traditional reading of hieroglyph, indicating this area - Yuni. Along irrigation canals (Anhor, Salar), derived from Chirchik River (ancient name Parak), within the borders of modern city first fortified settlements arose, remains of some of them preserved as little hills (tepe). It is considered that the most conclusive proof of existing the town in I century BC were found during excavation of Shash-tepe hill. Based on the results of this excavation, in 1983 symbolic date of 2000 years anniversary of Tashkent was established, which was supported by UNESCO. One of the earliest records of Tashkent area under name of Chach belongs to 262 BC – in victorious sign on pedestal of sanctuary in Naksh-i-Rustam on the south of modern Iran.

Amir Temur Square – military parade ground, racetrack and promenading area in the past and the oldest public park in Tashkent, founded in 1882 by the order of general-governor Chernyaev. The square in the center of Tashkent, now called the square of Emir Timur, was laid in front of the headquarters of the Turkestan military district on the initiative of Mikhail Chernyaev and designed by architect Nikolai Ulyanov in 1882 at the intersection of two central streets of the new city - Moskovsky and Kaufmanovsky Avenue under the name Konstantinovsky Square. Initially, he was passing.Initially, the so-called Konstantinovskaya Square was in place of the square, surpassing other squares in the city. In November 2009, the reconstruction of Amir Temur Square was carried out. The Palace of Forums "Uzbekistan" was built, which has become the main venue for various events, including as part of the activities of various international organizations, such as the Asian Development Bank, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and others.

Alisher Navoi Opera & Ballet Theater – yellow-brick hybrid of classical and Central Asian styles, completed in 1947 by Japanese prisoners of war. The construction was led by architect Shchusev, designer of Lenin's mausoleum in Moscow.It was founded in 1939 on the basis of the Uzbek musical theater. It originates from the State Uzbek Concert and Ethnographic Ensemble (M. Kary-Yakubova, 1926), which included Tamara Khanum. In 1928, the ensemble was transformed into a musical experimental ensemble, in 1929 - into the State Uzbek Musical Theater. In 1947, the theater was merged with the troupe of the Russian opera house. In 1948, it was named after Alisher Navoi. The repertoire of the Alisher Navoi Theater in Tashkent includes opera performances, ballet and children's performances. The history of the Alisher Navoi Bolshoi Theater dates back to the 20s of the XX century. Then the musical-drama theater was founded, on its basis and the Bolshoi Theater was formed, which is the country's leading theater.

Kukeldash Madrassah was built in the mid-16 century by the ruler's vizier Kukaldash, after secular use as a Soviet warehouse and museum, the madrassah is reasserting a religious role.The largest madrassah and one of the most famous historical monuments of Tashkent. It is not difficult to find it, it is located in the historical heart of the city - in the area of ​​Chorsu Square and Tashkent Registan. In the IX and X centuries, it was here that the Kesh fortress gates, one of the three city gates, were located.The Kukeldash Madrasah was built in the 16th century (1570) during the reign of the Sheibanid dynasty with a vizier, close to the Tashkent sultans Barak Khan and Dervish Khan. Merced Kukeldash has a traditional architecture for such institutions: a spacious courtyard surrounded by two floors of hujras (cells), where students now live, and the Jami mosque in the corner. To the left of the madrasah along its very end lies the road leading to the Chorsu Bazar.

Khast Imam Square – the holy heart of Tashkent and the least Russified or Sovietized part of the city – consisting of Barak Khan Madrassah, Tillya Sheykh Mosque and Kafal Shashi Mausoleum. Hast Imam Square (Hazrati Imam) is the religious center of Tashkent. The Hast Imam is located in the old city, inside residential blocks with old mud houses that survived the 1966 earthquake.This complex arose near the grave of one of the first imams of the city of Tashkent, a famous scientist, expert on the Qur'an and Hadith, a poet, as well as a craftsman Hazrati Imam (his full name is Abu Bakr Muhammad Kaffal Shashi). The Hast Imam with its architectural complex looks orientally atmospheric, especially at night: thanks to the illumination, the entire complex resembles a soaring mirage of a fairy-tale city from ancient Middle Eastern fairy tales. Well-designed landscape also adds beauty: neat lawns, flower beds, shrubs. Storks walk around the territory.

Barak Khan founded in the 16th century by a descendent of Tamerlane who ruled Tashkent for the Shaybanid dynasty. This is the administrative center of the Mufti of Uzbekistan, the head of official Islam in the Republic.The Barak Khan Madrasah was built in the 16th century by order of the ruler of Tashkent, Navruz Akhmadkhan, the grandson of Mirzo Ulugbek. Citizens considered Navruz Ahmadkhan a ruler who was lucky, for which they gave him the nickname "Barak-Khan" or "Lucky ruler." Since then, madrassas have been called the nickname of its founder. The construction of the madrasah was carried out in several stages and was completed in 1532. The main entrance of the complex is decorated with unique ceramic mosaics and amazing paintings. This madrasah is not a single building, it also includes a couple of mausoleums, which were erected before the construction of the madrassah itself. An unnamed mausoleum is located in the eastern part of this complex, and the second, which has a pair of domes, was installed on the site of the grave of Suyunzh Khan.

Tillya Sheykh mosque built in the same time as Barak Khan Madrassah, now employed as Friday Mosque. The highlight is the immense Osman Koran, claimed to be the world's oldest; in 655 it was stained with the blood of the murdered Caliph Osman.The mosque was erected at the direction of the rich Kokand Khan Mirza Ahmed Kushbegi, who built three more other quarterly mosques. He became famous as a respectable man and a faithful Muslim, well-educated and not indifferent to the troubles of other people.Not far from the mosque is the Muyi Muborak madrasah, transformed into a museum-library with old books. winter and summer prayer rooms are located on the courtyard of the mosque; low minarets; utility rooms and a library. The mosque is decorated with a carved mihrab niche, a minbar, window openings. According to legend, the golden hair of the Prophet Muhammad is stored here. The mosque operates today.

Kafal Shashi mausoleum – the grave of a local doctor, philosopher and poet of Islam who lived from 904 to 979. The portal, inner dome and arcade date from the 16th century, when his holy reputation attracted a cemetery. mausoleum in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), built in honor of the imam, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Ismail al-Kaffal al-Shashi. The crypt in its original form was not preserved. In its current form, the mausoleum was built in 1542 by the Khan architect of the time, Gulyam Khusain. This is an asymmetric domed portal mausoleum - khanaka.Hanaka was intended to give pilgrims shelter in their dormitory cells - hujras. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Ismail Al-Kaffal Al-Kabir al-Shashi lived on the planet more than a thousand years ago. But in modern Tashkent there is no person who does not know the respectful title of “Hazrat Imom” (Holy Imam), which the townspeople called him back in the 10th century. Over the past ten centuries, the Khazrati Imom dialect swallowing syllables began to sound like “Hast-Imam” and even “Hastim”

Applied Art Museum – the museum is as popular for its setting as for its many beautiful exhibits. Tsarist diplomat Polovtsev expressed his appreciation of Uzbek architecture by having his residence built by masters from Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva Fergana and Tashkent.The history of the Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan dates back to 1927, when the first exhibition of works by Uzbek masters was organized here. Initially, the museum was called the Museum of Handicrafts, and in 1997 it received the status of a state and received its current name.The museum stores more than 7000 samples of folk arts and crafts.In 1927, an exhibition of the best works of Uzbek masters was organized in Tashkent. Subsequently, it grew into a permanent and was called the "Exhibition of the National Economy of Uzbekistan." Every year exhibits accumulated, products of past centuries were acquired: handmade embroidery, skullcaps, jewelry, carpets and other examples of folk applied art.

Samarkand is the most ancient city of Uzbekistan. It arose in the middle of 1st millennium B.C. as center of agricultural area on the banks of the Zarafshan River – Sogdiana. The city was mentioned in the holy scriptures of Zoroastrians and records of ancient Persian kings from Akhemenid Dynasty. The most authoritative biographer of Alexander the Great – Arrian called the capital of Sogdiana Marakanda. For centuries it was the main city of Sogdiana. During invasion of the Arabs, it was king of Samarkand, who led struggle against conquerors. And later this city played important role in political and financial life of Maverannahr. In 1220 after long siege Genghis Khan took by storm and practically     razed it to the ground. The territory of ancient city have left uninhabited since that time – now Afrasiab hills separate modern Samarkand from the Zarafshan River.  The revival of the city in the second half of 14 century connected with the name of the prominent state man and commander Amir Temur (Tamerlane), who made the city the capital of his empire. By Amir Temur’s intention Samarkand must have been the most beautiful city in the Orient. To the south of ruins of Afrasiab arose Tamerlane’s Samarkand – now old part of the city.  Splendid buildings of world famous monuments of Middle Age architecture, some of them remained were situated inside irregular rectangle, surrounded by fortress walls with six gates. The center of the city was famous Registan square. The monuments of Samarkand and its outskirts amaze with its splendor. Remarkable blue glazed tiles of the wall coverings, elegant architectural forms, and complex floriated and geometrical ornamental design beautify these erections.

Gur Emir (in Tajik - Tomb of the Emir) – necropolis of Temur and the Temurids (15 c.). The complex consists of several buildings, built in different time. Gur Emir itself was built by the order of Amir Temur for his beloved, untimely deceased grandson Muhammad Sultan, who was announced as heir of Amir Temur. Later Amir Temur, some members of his family and two respected Sufi sheykhs all were buried here. Gur-Emir (translated as “tomb of the emir”, “tomb of the lord”) is the tomb of the Timurids, a masterpiece of architecture of Central Asia, the burial place of Amir Timur, his two sons - Shahrukh and Miranshah, his grandchildren, Muhammad Sultan and the great astronomer Ulugbek, and also spiritual mentor Timur, a Muslim sheikh from Medina Mir Seyid Bereke and a certain Shah-Khoja.Many great historical monuments of Samarkand are associated with the name of the eminent ruler and warrior Tamerlane. And one of the main attractions of the ancient city is the Gur-Emir mausoleum (“tomb of the lord”, “tomb of Emir”), where he and his descendants found the last refuge.

Registan square – ensemble of majestic and tilting madrassahs (15-17 cc.), consisting of Ulugbek Madrassah, Tillya Kari Medressah and Sher Dor Madrassah. Ulugbek Madrassah – the oldest building was built by the order of Ulugbek (grandson of Amir Temur). The other two were built in first half of 17 century by the order of ruler of Samarkand – Yalangtush-bakhadur. In 19 century the Registan square served as market. The Registan is a decoration of Central Asia, one of the most magnificent squares in the world, which is located in the center of old Samarkand. Everyone who was lucky enough to be here cannot remain indifferent: the greatness and beauty of the Registan evoke a feeling of delight in everyone without exception.Translated from Uzbek, the word "registan" means - a sandy place. In ancient times, this central city square was really covered in sand. Initially, the territory was not surrounded by madrassas, magnificent buildings appeared a little later.

Bibi Khanym Mosque (15 c.) – the gigantic congregational mosque, one of the Islamic world’s biggest mosques and the biggest building in old Samarkand. It was built by the order of Tamerlane in memory of his campaign to India in 1399. The building last 5 years but the construction proved to be unstable and began to fall to ruins in several decades. Soon the mosque turned to picturesque symbol of Samarkand, surrounded by numerous legends. The name “Bibi-Khanum” (“Bibi-Khanum”) - a stunning cathedral mosque that appears from the Afrosiab hill - literally translates as “elder princess” (or “elder wife”). Bibi Khanym was also called the Friday mosque of Samarkand, as thousands of Muslim men came here to perform the sacrament of prayer.5 buildings have survived to this day: portal; opposite him, in the back of the courtyard are large mosques; on the sides - small mosques; minaret. The huge work of historians, archaeologists, art historians gives us the opportunity to present the original appearance of the mosque.

Shakhi Zinda (The Living King) – necropolis of Samarkand rulers and nobles. The name refers to its original, innermost and holiest shrine – the grave of Qusam ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, who is said brought Islam to this area. Decorations of the mausoleums are of exceptional interest. Specialists believe that Shakhi Zinda complex represent new style in architecture and construction in Muslim world, the center of which was Samarkand. The harmony of the living composition, reflecting the history of the 25th century Samarkand, is a mysterious and unsurpassed archaeological and architectural memorial complex - the Shah-Zinda necropolis. All mausoleums of the Shahi Zinda complex are marked with a single compositional solution. These are square domed buildings, the entrance to which is highlighted by a portico. The rich architectural decoration of the buildings, in which irrigation bricks, majolica tiles, carved mosaics, is striking.

Ulugbek Observatory (1420) – the remains of an immense (30 m. tall) astrolabe for observing star position, part of three-storey observatory, which were excavated in 1908 by Russian archeologist Vyatkin. Today visitors can view his discovery, the underground section of a vast quadrant, ignored by the fanatics who destroyed the building in 1449. There is in Samarkand, on its very outskirts, Kuhak Hill, where there is the only historical monument - the observatory and the Ulugbek Museum. The grandson of the great Temur Ulugbek, having inherited the reins of Movarounnahrom, perfectly combined his studies in science and care for the people.The scientific program of the observatory was designed for at least 30 years (the period of revolution of Saturn). State affairs did not allow Ulugbek to constantly enter into all the details of the observatory. But the fact that astronomy was not a fleeting whim for Ulugbek was proved by his whole life. He constantly patronized his brainchild, was the inspirer and supervisor of all major works.

Afrasiab hills - ruins of ancient town, destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1220. In the history museum there are fragments of 7th century frescoes, excavated from Afrasiab ruins. The caravan traveled a long way until the walls of Afrosiab appeared on the horizon. Backlit by the setting sun, he looked like one of the mirages seen by travelers during the grueling transition. Wanting to enter the city before dawn, the drovers revived, and the caravan was filled with their cries and slaps distributed to the camels. But the animals did not care about the rush of people. Having taken a measured and unhurried pace, they were in no hurry to change it either in the middle of the path or at its end. During excavations, it was found that the ancient settlement Afrasiab consisted of a fortress, an inner city and a suburb. In the inner city, residential and craft quarters, a mosque, the remains of the palace (VII-VIII centuries) of the Samarkand ruler were found, where amazing frescoes dedicated to the events of the city's life were discovered.

Bukhara originated on the sacred hill of spring sacrifices of Zoroastrians, which is mentioned in “Avesta” – holy book of Zoroastrianism. Legendary founder of Bukhara is considered to be divine Siyavush – hero from “Shah Name” and Zoroastrian pantheon. There is a hypothesis that by Sogdian times the town was known as Numijkant, later to be renamed after Sanskrit word for monastery, vikhara. But the city had several more names. Regarding the age of the city, it was even harder to determine it. In 1997 by the support of UNESCO the city celebrated symbolic 2500 anniversary. When the Arabs came to Central Asia, Bukhara already was big urban center, ruled by king’s dynasty of Bukhar-Khudat, relied on dekhkans – rich landowners. Three times the city was taken and three times the city rebelled until finally it fell and Islam took hold here to flourish through centuries. At the end of 9 century Persian Dynasty of Samanids established in Bukhara and made it the capital of the country. During the reign of the Samanids Bukhara turned into cultural and scientific center of the whole Muslim world. The best poets, scientists and scholars lived and worked in Bukhara. In March 1220 the Mongol tide of calamity was spotted outside Bukhara’s gates. Thirty thousand defensive troops sped to meet them and were slaughtered to a man. The town was put to the torch and razed to a level plain. It took a century for Bukhara to recover. The town glimmered again under the Timurids, but was never more than a faint shadow of Tamerlane’s capital at Samarkand. In 1500 the Uzbek clan leader Mohammed Shaybani Khan entered Bukhara thus supplanting the Timurid line with his Uzbek dynasty. Later in 1785 another Uzbek dynasty from Mangyt tribe replaced Shaybanids and ruled the country till 1920 when Red Army conquered the city and proclaimed People’s Republic of Bukhara. Bukhara – museum on the open air, where about 170 architectural monuments of Middle Age have been preserved, the city of legends, Bukhara the Holy, Bukhara the Noble. 

The Kalon Minaret (in Tajik means Great) is one of the defining symbols of Bukhara. When it was built by the Karakhanid Arslan Khan in 1127, the Kalon Minaret was probably the tallest building in Central Asia. It’s incredible piece of work, 47 meters tall, which in 875 years has never needed any but cosmetics repairs. According to some historical sources, once in the place of Kalyan there was another minaret of a lower height, which subsequently collapsed, and instead they decided to build the current one on the same site. The minaret was erected in 1127 (XII century), when Bukhara was part of the Karakhanid state. The initiator of the construction was the ruler of the Karakhanid dynasty - Arslan Khan Muhammad, known for his urban development activities.The main purpose of the minaret is to call the Bukhara people to prayer. But its impressive height began to serve many other purposes. For example, it was a lighthouse in the sandy sea of ​​the desert for lost caravans. A beautiful panorama of the area opened from here, which made it possible to calculate the enemy long before his approaches to the city.

Toki-Zargaron (in some sources "Taki-Zargaron") is the most extensive bazaar among the markets of Bukhara. It is located north of the other three famous trading domes of the city, not far from the Poi-Kalyan complex. This magnificent architectural masterpiece was erected in the period from 1569 to 1570 during the reign of Abdullah Khan II of the Sheibanid dynasty. Toki-Zargaron became the first such bazaar of the city after Bukhara received the honorary title of the capital of a great state and became one of the important points on the Great Silk Road. The emergence of Bukhara as one of the key administrative, trade and craft cities of Central Asia significantly contributed to the prosperity of trading domes. Today, trade is also boiling under the famous dome, numerous visitors come here to purchase a wide variety of purchases: from national scarves to decorating your home. The jewelry bazaar was famous for its wide selection of precious products, in it one could find earrings, bracelets and necklaces even for the most sophisticated tastes.

Toki-Telpak Furushon (in some sources - Taki-Telpakfurushon) is one of the preserved traditional covered bazaars of Bukhara. It was erected in the years 1570-1571 under Abdullah Khan II - one of the rulers of the Sheybanid dynasty. It was the Sheibanids who began to turn Bukhara into a large center of trade, located at the intersection of many caravan roads. A symbol of this goal was trading domes, which gathered merchants from different parts of the world under their roofs. The material from which the trading dome is built is ceramic brick. This unusual structure is a kind of hexagon at the base.Such a town-planning solution was very convenient in terms of compactness, since Telpak Furushon was erected at the intersection, where five streets converged in one place.Toki Telpak-furushon - “the dome of hats sellers” - has incorporated a fan from five streets. Skilled builders cranked them into the right hexagon base. The central dome crowning Toki Telpak-furushon is cut by a crown of windows. In the old days, shop windows were filled with turbans, fur hats, hats, embroidered with silk and beaded skullcaps.

In the place where a couple of streets intersect, connecting the city center with the medieval suburbs (Registan and Rabat), the majestic Taki-Sarrafon is located. This name was given to the construction in honor of the sarraf - traders-traders. Traditionally, the Indians exchanged currencies of different states. That is, the dome can be called one of the most ancient "currency exchanges" of the East. The main part of the structure - a huge dome - is located on four large arches, and various structures surround this structure from all sides. Arched vaults are interesting in that they are made in a unique architectural style. The reception of their design is called "charzamine", and this method of decoration is typical for Bukhara. Under its four intersecting arches is a driveway. The name of the dome itself suggests that in the Middle Ages Bukhara was the largest center of trade on the Great Silk Road. Local merchants here before exchanging money for the “currency” of distant countries, while foreign merchants willingly bought Bukhara coins.

Magoki Attori (IX century) is one of the first mosques in the city that dates back to the pre-Islamic era. On the territory where the Magoki-Attori mosque is currently located - “Mosque in the pit”, at the beginning of our era there was a fire temple, and around the Moon market. At this market, spices and medicinal drugs were traded, and on the holiday of Nowruz, images of Zoroastrian fertility deities were sold here. When Islam established itself in the region, a mosque was built on the territory of the destroyed pagan temple of fire worshipers. During archaeological excavations of the 20th century, a group of scientists revealed that the first mosque was erected here in the 9th century. Judging by the inscriptions on the new eastern portal, the revival of the mosque in the sacred territory dates back to the 16th century. Today, Magoki-Attori portals, decorated with alabaster carvings, irrigated majolica, polished brickwork and carved terracotta, are masterpieces of architectural decor. The originality of the form and the play of shadows on patterns laid out of bricks, the ornamental luxury of the southern facade of the mosque speak of the highest craftsmanship of artisans of Bukhara of the 12th century.

Lyabi-house is perhaps the most favorite place for tourists to stay in Bukhara. It attracts with its grandeur and tranquility, keeping many secrets of gray centuries. Lyabi-Khauz is located in the southeastern part of Shakhristan (the part of the city that was inside the city walls, but outside the citadel), not far from the main shopping street of Bukhara. The Lyabi-Hauz ensemble (XVI-XVII centuries) is one of the central squares of Bukhara, where Nadir Divan-Begi madrassahs and khanaka are grouped around a large artificial reservoir (42 m long, 36 m wide, 5 m deep). .), also nearby is the Kukeldash Madrasah (1568). Literally, "Lyabi-house" is translated as "pool shore." During the Middle Ages, Lyabi-House was a trading area on which transactions were made. Active trade was carried out precisely here because of the close proximity to the central shopping street, and also due to the fact that the territory of Bukhara was densely built up, and this was one of the rare places with open space.The unofficial name of this reservoir - “Khauz-i Bazur”, which means “built with duress”, is preserved in history.

The ensemble of Nadir Divan-begi, including madrassas, khanaku and khauz, is closely connected with the name of the vizier Nadir Divan-begi, who served under Imamkuli-khan, one of the strongest rulers of the Ashtarkhanids dynasty. Nadir Divan-begi Madrasah (1622) is located in the eastern part of Lyabi-Hauz Square. At the beginning of the XVII century. Nadir Divan-begi began the construction of the caravanserai, but at the opening of the building, Imamkuli-khan unexpectedly for all proclaimed it a madrassah. Therefore, the construction of the building had to be supplemented with a portal, loggias and corner towers attached to the main facade, and a second floor was built with cells (hujras) for students to live. Between the khanaka and the Nadir Divan-begi madrasah there is a large rectangular pond, stretched from east to west - house. Its shores are made in the form of stone steps made of powerful blocks of yellow limestone.Today, Nadir Divan-begi madrasah has become a favorite place for residents and guests of ancient Bukhara.

Kukeldash Madrasah is the largest madrasah and one of the most famous historical monuments of Tashkent. It is not difficult to find it, it is located in the historical heart of the city - in the area of ​​Chorsu Square and Tashkent Registan. In the IX and X centuries, it was here that the Kesh fortress gates, one of the three city gates, were located. The central architectural ensemble - Registan was in every major city. The buildings included in such an ensemble are distinguished by exquisite architecture, monumentality, original design and unusual decoration. Tashkent Registan is no exception, just look carefully at the Kukeldash madrasah. Kukeldash Madrasah is one of the largest 16th century madrassas preserved in Central Asia. There are many legends associated with Kukeldash madrasah. For example, it is believed that for a long time it served as the place of execution - from the highest parapet of the central portal to Sheikhantaurskaya Street adjacent to the Kukeldash Madrasah, they were dumped in the bags of unfaithful wives, which should serve as a clear example of the benefits of a moral life. Another legend tells of an unusual spreading pistachio tree, which for several hundreds of years grew directly on one of the domes of the madrasah and was considered sacred.

There are many legends about the Arch. They say that it was built by Siyavush, the son of the ruler, expelled due to the wiles of his stepmother. Once, while walking around the bazaar, he saw a beautiful girl with whom he fell in love with all his heart. However, her father, the ruler of Afrosiab, did not want to marry her daughter for Siyavush. His father set a condition for him: Siyavush had to build a palace on the skin of one bull. The task seemed impossible to everyone. But the young man was not at a loss, he cut the skin into thin strips, which he connected together, and built a castle inside this entire line. The Ark fortress is located on a loose hill, the height of which in some places reaches 20 m. The Ark fortress is located on a loose hill, the height of which in some places reaches 20 m. The approximate area of ​​the architectural and archaeological site is 4.2 hectares. According to the architects, the fortress was planned to be built in the form of a polygon. The builders tried many times to erect the walls, but suffered a fiasco, since the artificial bulk hill was fragile, and the walls of the fortress were destroyed. Finally, in the VII century. under the Bukhara ruler - Bukhar-Khudat Bidun, at the base of the fortress, on the advice of the sages, it was decided to lay seven pillars in the same order as the stars in the constellation Ursa Major.

Of all the monumental Registan of Bukhara, only the Bolo-House complex has survived to our days. Its construction began in the XVII century at the initiative of the ruler of Bukhara - Emir Shahmurad. The emir wanted to show his people that he was no different from ordinary mortals, and therefore started the construction of a public mosque, which he was going to attend for traditional Friday prayers. The name "Bolo-house" is translated as "Children's pond." As you know, in Central Asia there have always been difficulties with water, which is why special artificial reservoirs were built that served the people as a source of drinking water.The building of the mosque has an elegant and luxurious appearance, because it was built for the prayers of the ruler. The decoration of the mosque is 20 columns that hold the ceiling. The columns themselves are made of wood and decorated with elaborate carvings covering the entire length of the pillars. The people call the Bolo-House “the mosque of forty pillars”, but not because they are mistaken in the calculations, but because of the reflection of these twenty columns in the clear waters of the reservoir.

One of the oldest monuments of the 10th century in Bukhara, the mausoleum of Ismail Samani is located in the center of the Samani culture and leisure park in the western part of Bukhara. The monument marks a new era in the development of Central Asian architecture, reviving after the Arab conquest. Mausoleum of Ismail Samani - a building of the 10th century - one of the oldest surviving architectural structures of Bukhara. It was created by order of the founder of the Samanid dynasty, Ismail Samani, who was also called “Amira Adil” (“Commander”). The small mausoleum is considered one of the most elegant monuments in Central Asia. Its brickwork with a characteristic ornament gives the walls lightness and softness, visually expanding them and making them transparent. Throughout the day, due to changing sunlight, it seems that the walls of the mausoleum are changing their design. The mausoleum looks especially beautiful in the moonlight.

Mausoleum of Chashma-Ayub - a religious building in the center of Bukhara, includes a mausoleum and a sacred spring. Currently, it houses the Water Museum. The mausoleum was built by order of the Karakhanid rulers in the XII century. It was rebuilt several times during the XIV-XIX centuries. Under Timur, the mausoleum was completed. The structure is formed by four rooms located on the East-West axis, each room crowned by a dome. The westernmost room was built first as a funerary tower, the remaining volumes were added later. The legend of the prophet Job is associated with this mausoleum. The legend of the prophet Job is associated with this mausoleum. There was a time in Bukhara when desert winds dominated the city and the inhabitants suffered from drought. They prayed to Allah to send them a miracle and save them from drought. And the Almighty heeded their prayers. At this time, the prophet Job traveled through the Bukhara lands. He struck the ground with a staff and a healing spring appeared that saved the Bukhara people from certain death. Grateful residents named the source of Chashma Ayub - the source of St. Ayub.

Sitorai Mohi-Khosa Palace: residence of the Bukhara emir. In the middle of the XIX century, the emir of Bukhara Nasrullahan decided to build himself a new suburban residence. But before the construction of the palace began, the question was how to choose the coolest place, so as not to suffer from heat in the summer. And the architects resorted to the ancient method - they brought carcasses of sheep to possible places of construction. The place where the meat was the last to be spoiled was chosen for the construction of the suburban pearl of Bukhara. However, the first palace has not survived to this day. In addition, the palace has a summer tea room, a small minaret, as well as a guest house richly inlaid with gold leaf. And each place has its own stories and legends that you can talk about for hours.Over the past century, Bukhara has grown significantly, and today the Sitorai Mohi Khosa Palace is located just 4 kilometers from the outskirts of the city. The residence of the last emir of Bukhara, which today, like a hundred years ago, peacocks are important to walk around, appears before visitors in the gleams of its former splendor, as if still ready to receive royal persons and overseas ambassadors.

Chor-Minor Madrasah is distinguished by its perfect silhouette, harmony and unconventional forms, compactness and grandeur. It was built in 1807 at the initiative of a rich merchant, a horse and carpet trader - Turkmen Khalif Niyazkul-bek. Sources say that after visiting the Taj Mahal in India, Niyazkul-bek was eager to create something similar to this amazing building. He called architects and astronomers and set them two conditions that they had to fulfill when building a madrassah according to his outline. The first condition: the madrasah should have been located on the Silk Road, so that Turkmens traveling along this road must stop there. The first floor of the outstanding architectural monument of the 19th century was occupied by the entrance lobby, consisting of six faces, the second floor - the guardhouse in the form of a square, from where you could get inside the minarets. The interior of the walls and dome was decorated with religious statements in Arabic. Some inscriptions can be seen today.

Khiva is the former capital of Khorezm kingdom. It is huge architectural complex, the museum under opened sky, the most intact of Central Asia’s Silk Road cities. Khiva khanate (Khorezm) from ancient times was the most important center of civilization in Central Asia. It is believed that in Khorezm the first religion of revelation – Zoroastrianism appeared. Khorezm-shah (king of Khorezm) Farasman fought together with Alexander the Great against the last Achaemenid’s king in 3 century BC. Natural isolation protected Khorezm better than any army and thus Khorezm kept its independence and originality through centuries. Khiva has existed for as long as trade caravans have pulled up alongside the sweet waters of its Khievak Well, on a transcontinental pit stop from Gurganj to Merv. Shem, the biblical son of Noah, is said to have marked out the city walls during a fiery desert mirage and as early as the tenth century the town entered Arab chronicles. But regional dominance only arrived in the 16th century, as nomadic Uzbek tribes swept through the oasis to found the khanate of Khorezm in 1511. By the end of the century Khiva had replaced the dying Konye Urgench and assumed the mantle of capital.  However by the end of 19 century the area of irrigated land decreased considerable and only ruins of numerous settlements and fortresses in surrounding desert (Ellik Kala region) are evidence of the past grandeur.

Muhammad Amin Madrasah was built in 1785 by order of Muhammad Amin, who was the first emir of the Kungrat dynasty in Khiva. According to legend, Muhammad Amin or his youngest son, Kutlug Murad Khan, was buried in one of the rooms of the madrasah. In 1935, some of the monuments of Khiva were in ruined condition and, according to the old stories that worked during the restoration of the monuments, two graves were found in the madrasah.The bodies found in the tomb are well preserved, with the exception of the skin of animals in which they were wrapped. In the madrasah there are more than twenty hujras (rooms), a high portal without decorations. On both sides of the portal there are stairs laid out of burnt bricks with access to the roof of the madrasah. Opposite this monument, in 1799 the Fazilbayas Madrasah was built facing the central facade of the Muhammad Amin Madrasah, which in combination with it formed the kosh madrasah, traditional for the East. During the reign of Muhammad Amin, Fazilbiy served as Amir al-Umar - commander of the troops of Khiva. This building was destroyed in 1945-1955.

Celte Minor (Short Minaret) Today it is impossible to imagine ancient Khiva without this monument of Asian architecture. The Kalta Minor Minaret has become a real symbol of the city. Its dimensions are amazing, and it is difficult to take your eyes off the unique design. The foundation of the minaret goes to a depth of 15 meters, the diameter at the base is 14.5 meters and a height of 29 meters. But this massive tower rises only a third of its design height. In 1855, when the ruler of Khiva, Muhammad Amin Khan, was killed, the construction of the majestic minaret stopped, although it was supposed to grow to 70 meters, and according to some estimates to 110 meters.However, the architect’s plans were not destined to be completed - the tower remained unfinished, and now looks like a huge glazed barrel, and has the name “Kalta”, which translates as “short” Kelt Minor (Short Minaret) - conceived by the Khan in 1852 as the most the highest minaret in the Islamic world (over 70 meters), but abandoned immediately after the death of the khan at a height of only 26 meters.

Kunya-Ark ("the old fortress") is the inner Khan's citadel of Ichan-Kala. It was founded in the XVII century. Khiva Khan Mohamed-Erenk (1687-1688). By the end of the XVIII century. Kunya-Ark was already a "city in the city", separated from Ichan-Kala by a high wall. Here were the Khan's mosque, the residence of the khan, the supreme court, the khan's reception - chicken khan, powder factory, arsenal, mint, office, harem, kitchens, stables, guardhouse, etc. The first building of the chicken khan, built by Mohamed-Erenk, was destroyed in the middle of the XVIII century. during the invasion of Iranian troops.The Mint in Kunya-Ark was established during the reign of Muhammad-Rahim Khan I (1806-1825), during which a tax reform was carried out in the Khanate, customs were created, and minting of a gold coin was started. To the south of the mint is the Khan's mosque, built by Alla Kuli Khan (1825-1842).Its walls, mihrab and minbar, as well as turrets along the edges are completely lined with majolica tiles, decorated with a complex floral pattern.

Pakhlavan Mahmud was an outstanding son of Khorezm. By profession, he was a furrier (a master in the manufacture of furs), which brought him means of subsistence, and by vocation he was an outstanding fighter, a talented poet and a wise philosopher. During his lifetime, Pahlavan Mahmud became widely known far beyond the borders of Khiva. There is a legend that as a wrestler he did not suffer a single defeat. He lost only one battle, but only because he found out that in the event of a defeat, his opponent faces death. To this day, professional Iranian fighters before the fight offer a prayer dedicated to the great Pahlavan Mahmoud.At the end of the 19th century, a mosque, a madrassah and four charitable institutions, karikhona, were built in the complex of Pahlavan Mahmud. Pilgrims flocked here, for whom were provided living quarters - hujras, as well as a dining room with kitchen - oshkhon.

Madrasah and minaret of Islam Khoja. The vizier and father-in-law of the Khiva khan Isfandiyarhan II, Seyyed Islam Khoja, built in 1908-1910 a madrasah and minaret near the complex of the mausoleum of Pakhlavan Makhmud. Islam Khoja was one of the famous people of his time. He put a lot of effort and work to improve the city. Through his efforts in Khiva, the buildings of the hospital, post office, telegraph, the gates of Kosh-Darvaz, the palace of official receptions in the complex of the Nurullabai Palace, new bridges of iron structures in some places of Khorezm were built.The top of the minaret was again restored on the eve of the 2500th anniversary of the city of Khiva, with a thin film of gold coating applied to its surface. Currently, the exposition of the museum of “Khorezm Applied Art” is housed and operates on the premises of the madrasah.Mounted on the top of the minaret, a 2.5-meter domed top is made of metal called patal (a mixture of bronze, brass and copper). The top made of this metal for some time shone like gold.

Located in the center of Ichan Kala, the Juma mosque (Friday) occupies the most important place among all other Khiva mosques. Its main difference is architecture uncharacteristic for mosques. Despite traditions, the Juma mosque has neither entrance arches, nor entrance portals, nor even traditional domed ceilings. Instead of all this, the Juma mosque is a one-story building with a massive wall and three entrances. All this discrepancy is due to the fact that when the construction of the mosque began at the end of the 18th century with the donations of the Khan dignitary Abdurakhman Mikhtar, a mosque already existed at this place. In the very middle of the south wall there are lancet arches nested into each other. Light enters the Juma mosque through three special ceiling holes, thereby creating an incredible play of light in a gloomy room.The Juma mosque and the minaret built at the same time are the center of Ichan Kala and the starting point for sightseeing in Khiva.

The unique Tash-Hovli monument was erected in the 19th century. It was the palace of the Khiva khan Allakuli Khan. Its size is surprising, in its original form, the number of rooms reached 163, in addition, it included three open spaces, namely, the guest part, where the khan received guests, the courtroom, and also the harem. Relying on the sources, the first building was built for the wives of the Khiva khan. For his wives were allocated special rooms called aivans. Among which stood out one, the most beautiful and richest - it was the room where the khan was. It is worth noting that each small room of this magnificent building is an unsurpassed object of applied art. Unique patterns in the form of ornaments enveloped the walls, ceilings and columns of aivan.It is worth noting that when decorating the architectural monument, motifs of ornaments of complex structure were used, the application of which required special skill. The blue background was introduced by artists, with its help the ribbons that combined the panels stood out perfectly, namely, they were beautiful ornaments, drawings in the form of poems.

Nukus. In the southern part of contemporary Amudarya delta among the wastelands is situated Nukus – capital of Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. Karakalpakstan: the name evokes poignant images. We are reminded not only of the crisis of the Aral Sea, but the long and rich history of the civilizations flourishing and passing on this land.  We find a varied and rich landscape as well as treasured historical monuments and archeological sites. The Karakalpak (Black Hat), whose ethnic umbrella gives the republic its raison d'etre, are a Turkic people whose language, traditions and clan structure have closer links to the Kazakh than the Uzbek and whose physiognomy owes more to the nomadic Mongol than to the settled Persian. Their ancestral heartland was traditionally centered upon the lower Volga and Syrdarya rivers and northern Aral, but towards the end of the 18th century the clans were gradually driven southwest into the Amudarya delta by relentless Kazakh aggression. Their signed treaty of friendship with the ambassador of Peter the Great in1722 meant little in these new lands and they were made reluctant and unruly subjects of the Khans of Kungrad and later Khiva. In 1827 a Karakalpak rebellion held the town of Kungrad for a time but it was bloodily suppressed by Khivan forces. In 1873 Karakalpak lands were ceded to Russia and restlessly under Soviet rule through the ranks of nationality from an autonomous oblast in the Kazakh republic (1925), to autonomy in the Russian Federation (1930), to an autonomous republic in its own right (1932), to an autonomous republic inside the Uzbek republic (1936). In these dizzy days of ethnic assertiveness the republic’s status is somewhat ambiguous. Approximately 30 per cent of the population are ethnic Karakalpak, 30 per cent Uzbek and 30 per cent Turkoman. Only 2 per cent are Russians, descended mainly from Cossack fishermen, and most of these are leaving.

Karakalpakstan Art Museum in Nukus – the gem of the region, home of the remarkable collection assembled by Igor Savitsky during the earlier part of this century. Igor Savitsky (1915-1984), an artist from Moscow came to Karakalpakstan as a member of the Khorezm Archeological Ethnographic of the USSR Academy of Sciences. As a result of this introduction he spent years studying and collecting ethnographic art of the region, from antiquity through to his own time. He found forgotten treasures from as early as ancient Bactria and Sogdiana, left by the passing of the legions of Alexander the Great in the 3rd century B.C. He carefully collected and recorded the hard work of the nomadic peoples who crisscrossed this territory during the last centuries. In the 1950’s he established a home for his collection in the Karakalpakstan Art Museum. But Savitsky’s achievements did not stop here. Savitsky was a great admire of the Uzbek and Russian artists who worked between 1900 and the 1930’s. These artists, part of the great European revolution in modern art history, were virtually silenced by the political pressures of the day. Savitsky realized that the works of these artists represented the emergence of a unique Uzbek and Russian Avant-garde style, cut short at its inception. The works of these artists had fallen into disrepute and were being systematically destroyed by the creators of the new political-social ideology.
Igor Savitsky collected over 81.500 items during the first half of the century. He housed these pieces in the archives and stores of the Nukus museum. Since the opening of this museum in 1966, limited numbers of these works have been placed on view for the public.

Ellik Kala region - from IV BC to I BC is the period of Khorezmian ancient civilization prosperity. It is hard to believe the the arid and baked plains of Kyzyl Kum desert were once densely populated marshland As the Amudarya forced its way into he Aral Sea around 2000 BC, the region slowly drained and dried. As rivers changed course, irrigation canals became fragile desert lifelines controlled by feudal lords. Whenever irrigation canals were destroyed, stranded cities withered and died, leaving skeletons of past glory. Monuments like Djanbas Kala (II BC), Toprak Kala (IV BC), Ayaz Kala (III BC) date back to that period.

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