The New Student's Reference Work/Bokhara
Bokhara (bṓ-kä′rȧ), meaning “treasury of sciences,” a city of central Asia, the capital of the khanate or province of Bokhara, a vassal state of Russia, is situated on a plain near the river Zerafshan. It is more than eight miles in circumference, and is surrounded by mud walls twenty-four feet high, pierced by eleven gates. The palace of the khan, built on a hill at an elevation of 300 feet in the center of the city, is surrounded by a brick wall nearly seventy feet high. Bokhara is the center of religious life in central Asia, and is said to have 365 mosques. The finest occupies a square of 300 feet, and has a cupola 100 feet in height. Joined to it is a tower of about twice the height, from which criminals are hurled. The city has long been noted as a seat of learning, and besides a vast number of schools has about eighty colleges. The River Zerafshan is utilized for irrigating, and the drain of water is said to have lessened the population by one half, but there are still about 75,000 people. Silks, woolens and swords are manufactured, slave markets are held, and the bazaars are rich with the wares of Europe and Asia. The Transcaspian railroad opens communication with the ports of the Caspian Sea, but the trade is almost wholly in Russian hands. The area of the state of Bokhara is about 80,000 square miles, with a population of about 1,250,000.