Bukhara, one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, was already a town in the first millennium BC, it became important historically in the eigth century, when it was conquered by the Arab Abbasid Caliphate (709 AD/90 AH). Bukhara flourished both intellectually and commercially, and by the tenth century, under the powerful Samanid Dynasty, it became a renowned center of the arts and learning, especially the sciences and mathematics. The city's rich cultural heritage, commissioned by the patronage of its rulers, includes many architectural landmarks of the Islamic world. Recent excavations by the Uzbek Academy of Sciences have revealed that present day Bukhara is built up on layers of past settlements. By dating some of the discovered remnants that have been excavated, it is quite likely that Bukhara can be considered at least 2,500 years old.
Bukhara lies on a flat plain and is surrounded by semi-desert lands. It is situated on the edge of the Kizilkum desert and has a dry and arid climate. In the past, the Bukhara oasis formed part of a vast region of Central Asia which had been conquered by Alexander of Macedon. These events led to the forming of feudalism in the Bukharan oasis.
The new social system introduced a social hierarchy: the individual principalities were ruled by kings supported by armed nobility. The process of town formation became very active and the ancient settlements surrounding Bukhara developed into the towns of Varakhsha, Vardanzi, Ramish, and Kermine. All these towns followed a similar structural pattern, they all were made up of: the Ark (citadel), the Shakhristan -well planned residential; core, and a necropolis on the outskirts of the city.
Bukhara in this period followed the same layout and pattern of development. It sprawled over an area of forty hectares. The Shakhristan which was rectangular was cut into four sections by two crossing main streets which led to gates opening out on all four sides of the city. At the turn of the tenth century, Bukhara had developed into a major cultural and religious center. Bukhara was almost leveled by Gengis Khan in 1226/623 AH; few monuments survived the destructiveness of the Mongol hordes. Bukhara revived under the Shaybanid Dynasty in the sixteenth century, but it's importance decreased with the decline in traffic along the Silk Road. In 1753/1166 AH, Bukhara became an independent emirate and remained so until 1868/1285 AH, when it was incorporated as a vassal state under Tsarist Russia. Bukhara was forcefully taken by the Bolshevik forces after WWI; a number of monuments suffered great destruction during the bombardment.
Kamoliddin, Shamsiddin. “English abstract of 'of City District Communities in the Late Feudal Period of Bukhara (Based on the History of its Districts)'". Translated by Ivan Leonidov. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 76. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Сухарева, О.А. Квартальная Община Позднефеодального Города
Бухары: В Связи С Историей Кварталов. Москва: Издательство Наука, 1976, 363с.
Sukhareva, O. A. Kvartal’naia
Obshina Pozdnefeodal'nogo Goroda Bukhar'i: V Sviazi S Istoriei Kvartalov. Moscow: Izdatelʹstvo Nauka, 1976, 363pp.
District Communities in the Late Feudal Period of Bukhara (Based on the History
of its Districts)
Община Позднефеодального Города Бухары: В Связи С Историей Кварталов
This work aims
to analyse inner-city life and everyday living in the city district community.
It describes all the districts of Bukhara from a historical point of view using
documents mainly produced between the ninth – eleventh centuries, but with some
dating from later centuries. The development of the early medieval city was a
continuous process, which led to the conversion of rural outskirts into city
districts on several occasions in history.
provides a plan of djaribs (districts in Bukhara), and topographical and
terminology dictionaries. There is no separate bibliography enclosed. Any
references to general and scientific sources are produced in footnotes located
on each page. The book provides illustrations, including maps and plans of djaribs,
and black and white photos of the city and separate buildings.
provides an overview of the historical studies on the city of Bukhara before
outlining her methodology.
She defines the terms of ‘residential
districts’, and the meaning of living environments and social networks in the
cities of the late Mediaeval period.
The author lists
all the districts registered by diwankushbegi (the office of the
Vizier) at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and
provides an ethnographic description of nearly 200 of Bukhara’s districts along
with their division into djaribs. Based on this analysis she provides a general overview of
She then analyses the process of the
formation of the districts, and their role in the development of the medieval
city. She examines the findings
on the residential districts and gives a historical assessment.
The list of
topographical entries at the end of the book depict the city and district
gates, djaribs and ‘mahalla’ (inner-city districts), the
districts and their constituent parts: i.e., markets and other trading
establishments, public establishments, mosques, madrasas, mazars (tombs
of the Saints), cemeteries, water sources, bridges, both cultivated
agricultural land and land for general use.