The city itself was constructed behind the walls of the Ark.
It was called Shakhristan. Bukhara was one of the very important stations on the Great Silk Road. The city was surrounded by the outskirts with trade and crafts enterprises – Rabad. More than 60 caravanserais received and welcomed merchants both from the East and from the West.
The history of Bukhara counts from over two and half thousand years.
From the ancient times the oasis of Bukhara was a part of a large area in the Central Asia, which was called Sogd – the area that had witnessed Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Amir Timur, known as Tamerlane in the West.
Bukhara is a holy land, which had witnessed the greatest philosophers, scientists, poets and other unexcelled masters.
The great scientist and encyclopedic expert Abu Ali Ibn Sina, known to the Europeans as Avicenna, was born and educated nearby Bukhara.
With the arrival of Islam in the 7th Century, religious constructions were erected in Bukhara.
One of them is a monumental architectural ensemble, consisting of Kalyan mosque and minaret, as well as Miri-Arab madrasah.
They compose a single architectural complex called Poi-Kalyan, which is translated as “the foot of the Great”.
Kalyan minaret was constructed in the beginning of the 12th Century. The thick trunk of the minaret narrows up – from 9 meters at the basis to 6 meters on the top. The minaret is 46.5 meters high.
It is incredible, but throughout its 800 years of history it never required major maintenance or repairs.
An open area in the upper part of the minaret, from which the muezzin calls for prayer, was also used as a watchtower. According to the legends the criminals were thrown down from the top of the minaret.
Miri-Arab madrasah was one of the largest from among 180 big and small madrasahs of ancient Bukhara.
Kalyan mosque was erected in the beginning of 15th Century, it is considered to be one of the most ancient mosques and second largest after Bibi-Khanum mosque located in Samarkand.
As many as 10,000 people could pray here simultaneously.
Its rectangular yard is framed by the galleries consisting of 288 domes.
Nowadays, Poi-Kalyan architectural ensemble is one of the most visited places in Bukhara.
As in the other parts of Sogdian State, in 16th-17th Centuries the mausoleums were not constructed in Bukhara.
Instead of mausoleums the large burial places of prominent representatives of Muslim clergy and members of their kin were erected.
One of such family necropolis was the burial-vault of Djuybar Sheikhs, which started from the burial of the famous Sufi named Khodji Islam Djuybari.
That was a famous Chor Bakr, erected in the 16th century nor far from Bukhara. Its original composition is made from the three traditional Muslim buildings – a mosque, khonako and khudjras.
People in Bukhara still believe that if in only day you make a pilgrimage to four mazars were the saints, whose name contain the name Bakr, are buried, then any wish may come true.
In necropolis only one ancestor of Djuybara Khodjas is buried – Abu Bakr Saad. But the name of this necropolis is translated as “The four from Bakr”.
That explains why this necropolis is so much popular for pilgrimage.
Many generations of people maintained and took care of the necropolis.
One of the most diligent of them was the grandson of Bukhara Sufi named Khodji Islam Djuybari.
Bukhara is a homeland of the great Sufis. Among them are the following: Bakhautdin Nakshbandi – the Sufi master and teacher honored throughout the world;
the spiritual mentor of Amir Timur,
and the man who established the Order of Nakshbandiya in the 12th Century.
Nakshbandi Mausoleum is the place of pilgrimage for the thousands of Muslims.
The master himself was a hereditary engraver and weaver, who made gold embroidery on the clothes.
His motto says: hands in labor, heart with God.
He was against reclusive lifestyle and demonstrative renunciation of human joys.