will close on Feb 27th.

Please save any personal content and exchange contact info with other members you?d like to stay in touch with. Thank you for your contributions to the VirtualTourist community.

"The Ark Fortress (some history)" Top 5 Page for this destination Ark - Bukhara Fortress Tip by josephescu

Ark - Bukhara Fortress, Bukhara: 23 reviews and 41 photos

  the Ark's main entrance, Bukhara
by josephescu
  • the Ark's main entrance, Bukhara - Bukhara
      the Ark's main entrance, Bukhara
    by josephescu
  • sunset view over the Ark from the Kalom minaret - Bukhara
      sunset view over the Ark from the Kalom minaret
    by josephescu
  • The Ark Fortress (some history) - Bukhara
  • sunset view over the Ark from the Kalom minaret - Bukhara
      sunset view over the Ark from the Kalom minaret
    by josephescu
  • inside the Ark - Bukhara
      inside the Ark
    by josephescu

The dark of the Bukharan emirate rises sheer form the Registan square, a symbol of the Mangit dynasty reign of terror, described by tsarists as “a disgusting ulcer on the body of the Russian Empire”.

Home to the rulers of Bukhara for over a millennium, the Ark is as old as Bukhara itself. The founding of the fortress is blurred in antiquity, but it was certainly the focus around which developed the medieval town. The first fortress to be documented by local historians was built in the 7th century by the Bukhar Khundat Bidun, but after repeated collapse it was remodelled, on the advice of local soothsayers, to reflect the Great Bear constellation, only then to stand firm. Arabs built the first ever Bukharan mosque here in 713 on the smouldering ashes of a Zoroastrian Temple.Samanids and Karakhitai and Khorezmshah destroyed and rebuilt it 3 times between them and finally the Mongols pulverised it in 1220. the Ark finally began to take its present form in the 16th century under the Uzbek Shaybanids and all its present buildings date from the last 3 centuries. By this time, the Ark had grown to house not only the emir, his family and retinue, but also the whole range of government accessories, in a complex of over 3000 inhabitants providing a palace, harem, throne room, reception hall, office block, treasury, mosque, gold mint, dungeon and slave quarters.

The Ark was almost completely destroyed in 1920 by a fire, sparked either by a vindictive and fugitive emir or a merciless Bolshevik bombardment, depending upon your politics. What remained soon became a natural target for waves of Soviet propaganda campaigns and was finally emasculated and pacified into the town’s main history museum and archive. But to this day, hidden behind the cluster of restored museum buildings, lie the hearts and bones of the Ark, left to rot in a secret, derelict wasteland.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written Dec 17, 2007
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse



“Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 3 9 2

Have you been to Bukhara?

  Share Your Travels