It was built around 1807 by the wealthy Turkmen merchant Khalif Niyazkul. It is relatively small, with a capacity of 15-20 people. Today, only a few student rooms (‘hujras’) have been preserved apart from the imposing gate.
Charminar in Hyderabad
Charminar is a gateway building in Hyderabad, India, and is the city’s landmark. The structure was built in 1591 and is considered one of the most important historical buildings in India.
Architecturally, the building is unique in Central Asia and worth a visit. The design of the building is reminiscent of the Charminar Gate in Hyderabad, India. Khalif Niyazkul was a merchant who travelled to different regions with his goods and is supposed to have been in touch with Indian architecture, which impressed him so much that he decided to build something similar in Bukhara. However, the design of the building has a local character.
The central part of the building is a rectangular, two-storey structure with a dome. At each corner of the building is a 17-metre high tower, which gives the building its name: Chor Minor means “four minarets”. However, this is a bit misleading, as the minarets have only a decorative function and were not used for the call to prayer. Some authors believe the building itself (if we exclude the towers) resembles a Samanid mausoleum. However, the mausoleum could not serve as a model, as it was excavated only decades after the construction of the Chor Minor.
A Legend of Chor minor
The tops of the minarets look like little domes and are decorated with light blue glazed tiles. A distinctive design was chosen for each dome. Legend says that the wealthy merchant had four daughters, and he dedicated them to a tower. For this reason, the domes are decorated differently.
Chor Minor today
The two front towers are no longer in their original status as they have been destroyed by time. One of the minarets was rebuilt during the Soviet era, while the other collapsed in 1995 and was restored in 1997, with financial assistance from UNESCO. For a long time, storks nested on top of minarets; today, there is a mock-up of a stork’s nest on one of the towers as memory.
For an extra fee, you can climb to the roof of the building via an internal staircase, which allows you to take interesting photos of the towers and their domes. The view from the top overlooks only the houses surrounding the madrasah.
Next to the madrasah is a water reservoir (khauz), which initially provided water for the population.