The largest pond became the main element of an ensemble - Lyabi khauz, which means "at the pond", at the center of Bukhara. The right-angled pond (46 x 36 meters) stretches from the east to the west, buried in the verdure of century-old trees. Its edges are arranged in the form of the descending staircase made of massive blocks of yellowish limestone.
The ensemble comprises three monumental structures:
Kukeldash Madrasah in the
north, Khanaka in the west and
Nadir divan-begi Madrasah in the east.
In the picture: Lyabi Khauz & Kukeldash Madrasah
The central square around the big pond still today holds some of the magic of the past. Old men sipping tea sitting on tapchans at the
Chaikhanas or playing backgammon right by the water, vendors selling sunflower seeds, children playing in the sun, the ever smiling
Hodja - most well known Sufi - riding on his bronze donkey.
Kukeldash Madrasah (1568-69), bordering the
Lyabi-hauz, is among the biggest (80 x 60 meters) and most monumental in Central
Asia, with over 130 hujras as well as a splendid example of "white interior".
The entrance gate is the particular interest, inlay and fixtures are devoid of
glue or nails and covered with heraldic ornaments. Kulbala
Kukeldash is the name of Khan's foster-brother who was the builder of this
Nadir Divan-Begi Khanaka.
The Nadir Divan-Begi Khanaka (1619-20), located opposite
the Nadir Divan-Begl Madrasah on the western side of Lyab-i Khauz, is
reflected in its water. The Khanaka is a massive multi-cellular structure with a
domed square hall in the center, 11.2 meters on side, with low niches along the
sides and cornered cells.
Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah.
The Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah (1622-23) was initially erected as a
caravanserai. At the inauguration ceremony Imam Quli Khan unexpectedly proclaimed the supposed caravanserai is to be a
madrasah. So Nadir Divan-Begi was obliged to rearrange the caravanserai by adding on to the front the loggias, the portal and angular towers. He also constructed an additional storey with cells.
The Nadir Divan-Begi Khanaka is located opposite the Nadir Divan-Beg Madrasah on the western side of the Lyab-i Hauz.