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Ark Fortress


      A grandiose monument of Bukhara - the fortress and residence of the Bukharian rulers - Ark according to archaeological data refers to the III century. BC.
      The high Ark Fortress, fortified by walls, was the center of the city, demonstrating the military power of the ruler. By the beginning of the 20th century, the "Ark" was a city within the city. It was said to be the palace of rulers, the palace services of bureaucratic aristocracy and military leaders, handicraft workshops, treasury, arsenal, dwellings of relatives and dignitaries of the court, warehouses of clothes, carpets, weapons, palace treasures. There lived about 3000 people within the arc. The existing buildings in the Ark are erected at the end of the XVIII - the beginning of the XX century.
Today, the Ark Fortress is a large platform that extends in the direction from the West to the East. The perimeter of the outer walls of the Ark is 789.60 m, the inner area is 3.96 hectares. The height of the Registan square rises from 16 to 20 meters. The main entrance to the Ark is architecturally designed in the form of two pillar-shaped towers. The upper part of the towers is connected by galleries, above which a room with terraces is built. Entrance to the gate Arch represents a ramp, or a gradual climbing path, which leads through an indoor long corridor to the Jami Mosque. The ramp is surrounded on both sides by massive stone handrails, its length is about 20 m, on one of the walls hung a large leather lash (symbol of Emir's power). From the gate begins a long dark corridor, along which there are rooms for water and several cells for prisoners.
The eastern half is now an archaeological site where the Childukhtaron mosque has been preserved, in which today the museum of history is located.
In the Middle Ages famous scholars such as  Rudaki, Firdousi, Avicenna, Al-Farabi, later Omar Khayyam all worked in the Ark.
Despite its greatness, the fortress was very vulnerable. The ark was repeatedly destroyed, and then rebuilt again. The first information about the Ark (Kukhindis - as it is mentioned in historical sources) is contained in the "History of Bukhara" by Abubakr Narshakhi (899-960). Narshahi, in particular, wrote: "Governor Bukhara Bidun Bukhar Khudot built this fortress, but it soon collapsed. How much he built, how many times it collapsed. " It is said that when the ruler asked for advice to the sages, they advised him to build a fortress on seven pillars located in relation to each other, like stars in the constellation of the Great Bear. Built in this way, the Ark did not begin to collapse. Age of the Ark is not set accurately, but, at least, fifteen thousand years ago it was already the residence of local rulers. Here, in a powerful fortified citadel, lived not only the emirs, but also their main ministers, commanders and numerous servants.
In 1220, when Genghis Khan's soldiers captured Bukhara, the city's inhabitants took refuge in the Ark, but the conquerors, having penetrated into the Arch, interrupted defenders, plundered values ​​and destroyed the fortress.
The last terrible contribution to the destruction of the Ark was made by the Bolsheviks during the siege of Bukhara in 1920 under the command of Mikhail Vasilievich Frunze. At his command, Ark was bombed from the plane, until the besieged were forced to surrender. As a result, most of the fortress turned into chaos of ruins.

Useful links:
Other sights of Bukhara
Tours round Bukhara

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