Chor-Minor (also the Madrasah of Khalif Niyaz-kul)

Chor-Minor is situated on an esplanade down the road a bit to northeast from Labi-hauz. Chor-Minor i.e. "four minarets" it is well-preserved structure built by Khalif Niyaz-kul - rich inhabitant of Bukhara, Turkmen by origin. The date of construction 1807 often indicated is not precise, because archival documents keep data, which prove, that in Bukhara at the close of the 17-th century there was a residential area (quarter) Khalif Niyaz-kul named after madrasah of the same name.

Design of Chor-Minor is such unusual that it is just flat-out confusing. Therefore, some consider the structure with four towers as a gate to lost madrasah behind. However, on closer examination one can see that Chor-Minor (even in the state that it got up to our days) is all-sufficient complex of buildings that have at least two destinations - ritual and dwelling.

Main edifice cornered with towers is a mosque. In spite of its unusual outward shape, the mosque has quite customary interior. The primary purpose of the mosque was to serve as a place for the five daily prayers (masjid-y panchvakty). Owing to cupola the room has good acoustic properties, therefore it takes on special significance of dhikr-hana hall, a place for ritualized dhikr ceremonies of Sufi, the liturgy of which often include recitation, singing, and instrumental music.

On either side of a central edifice are located dwelling rooms. Some of them collapsed, only basement remained. Consequently, for full functioning of madrasah only of classroom and some utility rooms is lacking. However, there is no intimation that they ever existed, only guesswork. If to suppose that madrasah was not such huge that extant buildings were only a front of it; intact solid structures can be madrasah in itself for 15-20 students.

On the esplanade to the right from Chor-Minor is a pool, most likely of the same age with the complex of buildings.

It was common practice that so-called madrasahs had no lecture rooms or, even if they had, no lectures had been given in them. These madrasahs were employed as student hospices. For example the Goziyon hurd (Small Goziyon) madrasah and even the Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah (which has no lecture room). In the 19-th century at the quarter Garibia, there was a mosque. There was also a row of dwelling rooms for students near by to this mosque, which (the row) was called the Gabria madrasah. At the quarter Miraqon, there was a khanaka. Khanaka in itself is a hospice for dervishes. However, because there lived students, it was called madrasah. At the quarter Sesu, near to ancient mosque there was hospice composed of only seven hujras (dwelling rooms). The hospice also was called madrasah. The same situation was at the quarter Volida-honi-shahid.

Each of four towers (minarets) has different shape. Some say that elements of decoration reflect religious-philosophical purport of four world religions. At least, one can easily find some elements are reminiscent of cross, Christian fish and Buddhist praying-wheel.