Bukhara, the pearl of the desert
Bukhara has been one of the main centres of Iranian civilization during its history. Its architecture and archaeological sites form one of the pillars of the Persian history and art. The region of Bukhara was for a long period a part of the Persian Empire. The origin of its inhabitants goes back to the period of Aryan immigration into the region.
Iranian Soghdians inhabited the area and some centuries later the Persian language became dominant among them. Encyclopedia Iranica mentions that the name Bukhara is possibly derived from the Soghdian βuxārak. Another possible source of the name Bukhara may be from "Vihara", the sanskrit word for monastery and may be linked to the pre-Islamic presence of Buddhism (especially strong at the time of the Kushan empire) originating from the Indian sub-continent.
The Last emir of Bukhara was Muhammad Alim Khan (1880-1944). The Trans-Caspian railway was built through the city in the late 19th century. The historic center of Bukhara has been listed by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. It contains numerous mosques and madrassas.