bolo hauz mosqueEvery Friday, an exquisite spread of deep red Bukharan rugs would embellish the ground leading from the Ark to the ‘Mosque Near the Pool’ and the splendidly attired emir would venture out from behind his fortress protection to atone for his sins under the splendid dome of the Bolo Hauz in Bukhara.

Today, the carved stalactites of its elegant wooden pillars still carry echoes from the royal court mosque in the Ark and the high carved and painted decoration of the Bolo Hauz Mosque in bukhara (1712) still draws an admiring faithful after its brief Soviet interlude as a proletarian worker’s club. The mosque’s facade again attracts the eye with a veritable riot of restored primary colour and its 12-metre (39-foot) high iwan still stands as one of the highest, most graceful and most beautifully decorated in Central Asia.

Also bordering the Registan is the Sadriddin Ayni Theatre (1930), an early victim of the post-independence Russian exodus and economic hardships. Here in 1925 Mikhail Kalinin, first President of the Soviet Union, chaired the first congress of the Uzbekistan SSR. Today, its fusion of Russian columns and Arabic calligraphy plays host only to the occasional renegade martial-arts video.

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