Chor Minor – The historic gatehouse in Bukhara

The structure was built by Khalif Niyaz-kul, a wealthy Bukharan of Turkmen origin in the 19th century under the rule of the Janid dynasty. Originally, it was a part of a complex of a madrasa, which was demolished.

The towers of Chor Minor or Char Minar are not minarets. Three of them were used for storage, and one has a staircase leading to the top floor. All of them are topped by domes covered by blue ceramic tiles. Each of four towers have different deco rational motifs. Some say that elements of decoration reflect the four religions known to Central Asians. One can find elements reminiscent of a cross, a Christian fish motif, and a Buddhist praying-wheel, in addition to Zoroastrian and Islamic motifs.

Khalifa Niyazkul Madrasah, also known as Chor-Minor. In spite of its unusual outward shape, the building has a typical interior for a Central Asian mosque / Image source

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