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The Khanaka of Nadir Divan-begi
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The Khanaka of Nadir Divan-begi (1619/20)

This Khanaka a rectangular edifice topped with a dome. The building has non-traditional narrow and prolate main portal along with two lateral entrances. The hall (dhikr-hana) has excellent acoustic properties. The inner walls of the hall are recessed with niches fringed with stucco moldings. The dwelling space occupies corners and lateral exterior walls of the building. The finishing of the main entrance gate is made quite conservatively, with an exception of some floral elements in ornamentation. The edges of the main portal are overworked with epigraphy ornaments. The main front of the khanaka is cornered with towers cut at a level of the walls.

The khanaka, owing to its location and size (side of the square hall is 11,2 m. - 36,75 ft.) in the course of centuries was the prominent cultural and religious centre of Bukhara.

The story

According to local story, when Nadir Divan-begi built the Khanaka, near the site of the building there, was a large holding, owned by an old Jewish widow. Nadir Divan-begi had decided that this site would be the perfect place for pond. However, the widow turned down his offer to buy the property. Then Nadir Divan-begi brought her before Imam Quli-khan in the hope that he would coerce her into selling. Imam Quli-khan ordered a congress of muftis to inquire into the question. However, these specialists in Muslim law decided that there was no legal way to purchase the property, other than with the widow's consent, since Jews had rights on a par with Muslims if they paid the Jizyah or poll tax on non-Muslims.

Therefore, Nadir Divan-begi had to build a small reservoir near the house of that stubborn Jewess. Nevertheless, he dug an aryk - an irrigation ditch - to his new pond in such a way that the water ran right near the Jewish widow's house, although it was more expensive. Soon the water began to undermine the foundations of the widow's house. When she came to Nadir Divan-begi for justice, he confirmed his readiness to buy her house for fair price. The widow rejected the money, laying down her own conditions instead. She promised give up her property if the Bukhara rulers would give to her another piece of land with permission to build a synagogue. In return for the widow’s holding Nadir Divan-begi gave her a plot of land, belonging to him, in residential area, which later was named the "Jewish quarter" (Mahalli Kuma).

Soon the first synagogue at Bukhara and a large pond, the last element of the complex, were built. People started to call it the "Lyab-i Hauz", which means "at the pond". The date of its construction is about 1620. However, folk memory retains another epithet - "Haus-i Bazur" i.e. "made with a force".


1. Dmitriy Page. The Guide to Bukhara. History and sights.

2. Дмитрий Пэйдж. Бухара. Путеводитель по архитектурным и историческим достопримечательностям

See also

1. Ханака Надира диван-беги
2. Nadir Diwan-Begi Hanaka

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Dmitriy Page. The Guide to Bukhara. History and sights

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