Legend about Siyavush and Afrasiab

Bukhara is one of the oldest and largest cities in Central Asia, which for many centuries has played an important role in the history of society and has repeatedly been the capital of the states that formed on the territory of Uzbekistan. Century after century, many generations of Bukhara people contributed to the construction of the city, which became the "City-Museum".

According to Siyavush and Afrasiab legend, the most ancient monument of Bukhara is the citadel Ark.



At the gate of the citadel Ark is the grave of the cult hero Siyavush. There is a tradition that leads us to a distant time, linking the foundation of the fortress with the names of mythical characters of the most ancient epic of the peoples of the East - “Shah - name”, which was passed down from generation to generation. In the annals of the XVI century it is said that the creator of the citadel of Bukhara is Siyavush ibn Keykavus.

Siyavush is the radiant epic hero of Central Asian legends, a charming young man who was slandered by his stepmother.

Having escaped from his father, Siyavush crossed the Jaihong, hiding from the claims of his stepmother, reached a rich country, which was stretched in an oasis of the desert. The daughter of the king of this country Afrasiab captivated the young man with his beauty, but the king set him a cunning condition. He threw a bull skin and ordered to build a palace that could be located on this skin. Siyavush turned out to be even more cunning. He cut the skin into thin strips, which he tied together and made a big circle. Inside this circle, he built a large palace, according to the legend of which the Bukhara Ark arose. The king gave Siyavush his beautiful daughter and gave him all his property. Siyavush wanted to leave a mark in these countries, for he knew that life was fleeting and would not show him loyalty. Siyavush decorated the city with a high palace, orchards and precious flower gardens.

Enemies created hostility between Siyavush and Afrasiab and he killed Siyavush. He was buried in the same citadel, inside the fortress, at the entrance to the eastern gate. These gates are called Kakhfurushon, which means “a seller of straw”, and are also called “Guriyan Gate”. Honoring this area, every year on Navruz holiday for donation, people bring one rooster there before sunrise. They also say that during the construction of the citadel, it collapsed and remained so for many years. The chronicle tells of numerous cycles of revival and destruction of the fortress, assaults and sieges.

Today Ark is a large earthen elevation, which in its shape is close to an irregular rectangle. The building is somewhat elongated from west to east, and its southeastern corner is slightly cut off.

But according to the historian Narshakhi, there is a legend in connection with this. He wrote in his book that the citadel collapsed in an incomprehensible way, every time it was finished building. And only when one wise stargazer advised to build walls according to the outline of the Big Dipper, Ark ceased to collapse. And indeed, its irregular quadrangle resembles a constellation.

If you are interested in the legend of Siyavush and Afrasiab, and you want to visit ancient mysterious Bukhara, book tours to Uzbekistan. Bukhara is included in almost every excursion tour in Uzbekistan.

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