Tim Abdullah Khan is a covered marketplace (tim) built in 1577, along Bukhara's primary commercial spine between Taq-i Zargaron and Maghak-i 'Attari Mosque. Once known as the Tim-i Kalyan, or Great Market, this bazaar lies southwest of the Abdul Aziz Khan and Ulugh Beg madrasa ensemble. Shaybanid ruler Iskandar (1561-83) most probably commissioned this bazaar, although his son, 'Abdalah II (1583-98) is popularly believed to have built it. It was a center of Central Asia's famed silk trade through the centuries, and is the sole survivor of erstwhile Bukhara's six covered markets.
Tim Abdullah Khan is a self-contained, introverted market space, distinct from the famed crossroad markets (taqs) of Bukhara. Its square and symmetric plan features three grand entrances along the street façade facing west and three, relatively modest openings in the other cardinal directions. A large domed octagonal hall forms the building's center; it has four ancillary rooms built into its walls at the corners. Four passageways, one in each direction, lead out from the central hall to an octagonal gallery lined with small and large alcoves for merchant stalls. The vaulting of Tim Abdullah Khan is a multi-cupola composition, with nineteen domes built around the high central dome. This honeycomb-like composition rests on cross arches and shield-shaped pendentives. Eight clerestory windows admit light into the central hall, while lantern-shaped towers flood light into the main entrance vestibule.
Typical of Bukhara's commercial structures, Tim Abdullah Khan was constructed in a highly utilitarian manner, with little decoration. The simplicity of its design combined with the structural tour de force of its vaulting and its elaborate street façade substantiate greater scholarly attention for this market, which had a pivotal role medieval Bukhara's economy. Tim Abdullah Khan was once part of an extensive commercial and institutional network consisting of traveler inns (caravanserais), public baths (hammams), crossroad markets (taqs), theological colleges (madrasas) and mosques. These urban connections are no longer perceptible after the mindless demolitions and insensitive preservation attempts of the twentieth century. The building's eastern bay of domes show extensive structural damage that require immediate structural repairs.
Azizkhodjayev, Alisher. 1997. Bukhara: An Oriental Gem. Tashkent: Chief Editorial Office of Publishing & Printing, 94.
Herdeg, Klaus. 1990. "Bukhara." In "Formal Structure in Islamic Architecture of Iran and Turkistan." New York: Rizzoli; 59, 61. Available on ArchNet Digital Library at http://archnet.org/library/documents/one-document.jsp?document_id=6205.