Bukhara History - Part 14

Varahsha city

The palace of the local rulers (Khunuk-Khudats) in the old city of Varahsha within the Bukhara oasis gives us a good idea of the appearance of rich houses in Bukhara. This palace still existed and was inhabited at the time of the Samanids. It was a part of the citadel placed on an artificial stylobat (foundation) some 15 m high. Principal elements of this palace were a yard with an entrance arch which rested upon two pillars, several big halls, a number of rooms of less importance, and corridors. In pre-lslamic times people said that «the beauty of the palace was well known». The palace owes much of its reputation to the decor, remains of which have been unearthed by archaeologists.

Murals, carved gypsum, carved wood columns, and ceilings were organically interlaced with the architecture of this building. Paintings in the Varahsha palace were diversified in subjects. They tell epic Soghdian plots; mounted heroes on elephants fight with attacking cheetahs. A scene in the palace shows the throne of the ruler resting upon the figures of winged camels (it is interesting that ancient Chinese records speak of the Bukha-ran rulers having thrones such as this). There are also images of a ruler with his wife and young son near a sacred fire.