Bukhara (bəkäˈrə) [key], city (1991 pop. 231,000), capital of Bukhara region, Uzbekistan, in the Zeravshan River valley. On the Shkhrud irrigation canal system, it is the center of a large cotton district and has textile mills as well as cotton-ginning industries and a large karakul skin processing plant. The population is mainly Uzbek, with Tajik, Arab, and Afghan minorities and a much-dwindled Jewish minority. First mentioned in Chinese chronicles in the 5th cent. A.D., Bukhara is one of the oldest trade and cultural centers in central Asia. It was a long-time center of Judaism. It came under the Arab caliphate in the 8th cent. and became a major center of Islamic learning. During the 9th and 10th cent. it was the capital of the Samanid state. From the 16th cent. to 1920 it was the capital of the khanate of Bukhara, which was ceded to Russia in 1868. From 1920 to 1924 it was the capital of the Bukhara People's Republic. Its many monuments include the mausoleum of Ismail Samanid (892–907), the minaret of Kalyan (1127), the mosque of Magoki-Attari (12th cent.), the Ulughbek (1417–18) and Mir-Arab (1535–36) madaris (theological schools), and the madrasah of Abdulaziz-Khan (1651–52). The name is also spelled Bokhara.
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