• Registration Year


  • Registered Sector

    Historic Centre of Bukhara

  • Historical Function

    Religion and trade.

  • Administrative Status

    Chief city of the oblast of Bukhara.

Location and site

In a low irrigated valley of the Zeravchan River, Bukhara was constructed on the Shahrud Canal. It is situated in an oasis, and is on the Silk Road, 15 km. from the Trans-Caspian Railway and 250 km. from Samarkand.

Urban Morphology

Since the 9th century, three components have distinguished this historic city with its narrow, tortuous streets: the Citadel (ark), the city itself (shahristan) which does not include the Citadel, and the commercial quarters (rabad). The ensemble is surrounded by fortifications which were destroyed and reconstructed several times and have modified the form of the city over the centuries. In the 16th century, the walls measured 12 km. in length; they were reinforced by 116 half-towers and 11 gates flanked by towers. Two of these gates survive today.

In the monumental landscape of Bukhara, which dates for the most part to the 16th century, very early Islamic achievements still exist; these include the famous Mausoleum of Ismaël Samani (10th century), the Poï Kalian minaret (11th century) and the Magoki-Attari Mosque (10th and 12th centuries). Numerous buildings are dedicated to religious purposes and there are several commercial buildings, including caravan enclosures and markets. The domestic architecture is constructed of brick and pisé; dwellings have flat roofs and lack window openings at the street level. Sculpted alabaster panels and frescoes decorate the homes of the wealthy.

Registration Criteria

The example of Bukhara, in terms of its urban design and its buildings, had a profound influence on the evolution of urban planning in a large part of Central Asia. (II) Bukhara is the most complete and intact example of a medieval city in Central Asia that has conserved its urban fabric to this day. (IV)

Historical Reference

  • The city of Bukhara was part of the Kusana Empire before being integrated into the State of the Hephtalite Huns in the 4th century A.D. The Saka Dynasty, made up of Scythes, had occupied the region before this time.
  • Bukhara was the principal cultural centre of the caliphate of Bagdad in 709, after the Arab conquest. It was the capital of the Iranian Kingdom of the Samanids between 892 and 999. Its economic and cultural prosperity, which was accompanied by urban growth, was maintained under the reign of the Kharakanid Turks during the 11th and 12th centuries.
  • In 1220, the city was sacked and set on fire by the hordes of Gengis Khan. In 1273 and 1316, the Mongols invaded again. Following its integration into the Timurid Empire in 1370, a number of architectural masterpieces were erected in Bukhara. During the feudal struggles at the end of the 15th century, the city went into decline.
  • In the 16th century, the Shaybanid Uzbecks founded the khanate of Bukhara. As the capital and centre of the new state, the city enjoyed its heyday. Its economic and cultural prosperity led to a great deal of architectural activity.
  • Bukhara was the victim of assaults by its neighbouring countries. In 1753, it became the capital of the new Manguite Dynasty, which ruled it until 1920. Its trade role was critical to Central Asia.
Mr. Farhod Latipov
Acting Mayor of Bukhara City
Bukhara Khokimiat (City Administration)
16/2-37, Alpomish street
Bukhara, Republic of Uzbekistan
+998-65 2234535