Bolo Haouz Complex, Bukhara
The Bolo Haouz Complex is located in the Registan Square of Bukhara not far from the Ark Fortress. It consists of the beautifully decorated Friday mosque, a small minaret, and a pond (hauz), which gave the name to the ensemble. The mosque was built 300 years ago by the wife of the Emir of Bukhara and is still functional today. Once upon a time, the Bukhara Emir who wished to be closer to the people used to come for Friday prayers directly from the ArK to the mosque along red carpets. It is surprising that at a time of general decadence in architecture and art, such a magnificent, exquisite facility was built.
The mosque has an iwan of 20 ornate columns, which by reflecting in the water, gave the complex its second name "the Mosque of Forty Columns." The pond is one of the few surviving reservoirs of Bukhara - in the 1920s it was drained because of a cholera pandemic.
Alongside the mosque, there is a minaret that was built later than the mosque. It is remarkable that after the revolution, it started to fall, as did many minarets around Bukhara. Of course, elderly people immediately said that it was the signs of decay of faith and the fall of minarets in the Holy City for a reason. The young Soviet government, despite the acute lack of funds and forces, decided to save the monuments of architecture. The minarets were straightened with special construction, and the "strings" on which they were strung were called "the music of the Shaitan" because of the dull sound of the wind between them. Nevertheless, the minarets were saved, including the minaret of the Bolo Haouz, and today, we see it the exact same way as after its construction in 1718. The lighting system that was installed during the restoration was thought out by the architects to the smallest detail.
The interior of the mosque is amazingly beautiful. Even though the mosque is active and prayers are held there, tourists are allowed to enter inside and admire the interior decoration, of course, without shoes. Prayers may take place inside and outside the mosque, on especially carpeted steps.
Bolo Haouz Mosque is one of the most striking sights of Bukhara. It is a peaceful place remarkable in its metaphysical sensations and one of the favorite mosques of the inhabitants. Once it was the center of the city, and there were government agencies, a market, and teahouses.