Sitorai Mohi-Hosa Palace is a countryside residence of Bukhara emirs. It is located 4 km to the north of Bukhara and belonged to the last governing emir of Bukhara Said Alimkhan (1911-1920). The name of the palace means "stars meet the moon". Built in 1911 for the last emir, Alim Khan, the three-building compound incorporates elements of both Russian and traditional Bukharan architecture.
It was under construction for two decades, beginning from the end of the 19th century. Firstly, the group of local architects headed by Usto Hodja Hafiz had built a magnificent object which combined local Bukhara and European traditions. The main structure of this palace is granted to the throne hall. Under its arks the public meetings of the elite authorities used to be held.
Grand historical value is attributed to the new palace which is built near the old one and includes few building complexes. The new palace complex Sitorai Mohi-Hosa had already been built during the life of emir Alim-khan. It used to include the main entrance ark with mosaic ornament of various tones and colors, inner yard with galleries, main portal designed in east-European style with the flowers planted in front of the swimming-pool and the emir harem premise in the garden. By the entrance to the portal there are two marble lions made by nuratin masters. Also the architects had created marble reservoirs in the shape of fictional dragon.
The main building of the palace which includes several rooms and personal premises of emir had been constructed mainly under the supervision of Russian engineers and only "The White Hall" and its corridor built in 1912-1914, belong to the art style of Bukhara architects. These halls are the masterpieces of ornamental decoration. "The White Hall" had received its name from the shiny-white construction materials used during the creation) process to cover the walls and the ceiling. The mirrors built in the wall in the shape of a panel constitute only the font for the decorative ornaments. After destroying the palace in 1920 as it was decided by Bukhara emirate, Sitorai Mohi-Hosa was the session place for the new government, supreme state body of the National Republic of Bukhara (1920-1924), the united national assembly.
The inner courtyard was the location for the First Congress of the Bukharan Soviet in 1920 and now houses the slightly dusty Museum of Applied Arts, replete with the contents of the emir's bed chamber. Far more interesting, however, are the rooms that surround the courtyard: the emir's bedroom, games room, the mirrored White Hall, and a banqueting hall. There are two other museums in the complex, the Museum of Costume and the Museum of Needlework, both of which are worth 20 minutes or so of your time. Check out the paranja, a heavy and itchy horse-hair robe akin to a burqa that would have been worn by high-class womenfolk, and also the wedding robes. A 1928 photograph shows the emir's unveiled concubines and, having taken a sneaky look, you should head next door to the harem, where the emir would have had his pick of the frolicking flesh on show.
The palace and grounds can be seen in 30 minutes, perhaps twice that with a guide (which I didn't take this time). Some signage for each building and exhibits inside buildings have trilingual labels...Read full
Again, the Versailles it ain't. But for a backwater emirate in its waning days, it's not bad at all. The emir tried to hold off reform efforts living in luxury, if not good taste, as the world around...Read full
Hire a guide, hire a guide, hire a guide! It's a stunning place and we learned so much! Our hotel organized a taxi for us that waited for about an hour while we enjoyed this amazing house museum...Read full