Burana Tower

kyrgyzstan, burana tower, tower

 

Construction start / opening date: XXI Century

Original name: Burana Munaras

Burana Tower is a famous architectural monument of the Kyrgyz people. This is the oldest building in Central Asia, which is located 80 kilometers from the capital of Kyrgyzstan – the city of Bishkek and 12 kilometers from the city of Tokmak on the territory of the ruins of the Burana settlement. Its appearance is associated with Uzbek architecture. If you do not know what to see in Kyrgyzstan, be sure to visit this landmark and historical place.

Building Legend

There is a whole legend about the appearance of the Burana tower, one of the most popular and famous among the myths and legends of Kyrgyzstan. One Kyrgyz khan had a daughter Munar (the name in translation means “tower, minaret”), whom he loved and protected very much. But once the astrologer predicted that the girl would only live to sixteen years old and would die from a spider bite.

Khan built a high tower, at the bottom of which he imprisoned the astrologer, and upstairs, all alone, settled his daughter. She grew up in a tower, admiring nature only from the windows in the dome.

Servants brought water and food to the khan’s daughter, while they were thoroughly searched. But, despite all the precautions, on the day of her sixteenth birthday, the girl was bitten by a spider, and she died.

Description

The Burana Tower in Kyrgyzstan is considered the earliest and most outstanding architectural structure in Central Asia. The word “Burana” means “minaret”. Similar structures were erected near cathedral mosques. The tower consists of several elements: foundation, podium, plinth and trunk.

The foundation is made of stone at a depth of 5.6 meters, its upper part looks like a quadrangular podium. The eastern and northern edges of the podium are faced with marble blocks. Buildings adjoined the western and southern sides, therefore they do not have a ceremonial design.

In the center of the podium there is an octagonal plinth with a height of five meters. On all its faces, in the center are arched niches with embossed filling of baked brick. Niches are decorated with rectangular ornamental frames.

A round and tapering trunk rests on the base, the surface of which is decorated with alternating stripes of figured and smooth brickwork.

Initially, the height of the minaret was forty meters, the top was crowned with a dome-lantern, which had four doorways – on the cardinal points. Today the height of the tower is 21.7 meters – the rest was destroyed during a strong earthquake in the 15th century.

What’s inside

The entrance to the tower is located on the south side. From it to the top of the minaret there is a spiral staircase with steps made of burnt bricks and covered with juniper boards. It is quite narrow – one person can hardly walk along it. Along the stairs were skylights cut right into the trunk. The top of the tower offers a beautiful view of the settlement.

Surrounding area

The Burana Tower in Kyrgyzstan is located on the territory of a city that was once very technological and modern. It had a plumbing system made of clay pipes.

Water came to them from the nearby mountains. On the territory of the settlement there is a huge burial place, decorated with unusual idols – stone sculptures of babals. These sculptures are made with a careful study of facial features and headgear. There are also simple petroglyphs (rock carvings).

Tower restoration

Research on the tower has been carried out by Russian scientists since the middle of the 19th century. Under Soviet power, measures were taken to preserve the architectural monument and to study the archaeological site of the settlement. Excavations made it possible to establish that the settlement has a complex layout and consists of the ruins of a quadrangular fortress.

In 1970-1974, the employees of the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz SSR carried out the restoration of the Burana tower. As a result, the destroyed places were restored along the preserved height of the tower, and the octagonal base was re-laid.

Interesting Facts

  • The Burana Tower has a high historical value, therefore it was declared a museum-reserve.
  • During excavations on the territory of the settlement, numerous materials were found – items made of metal, clay, glass, bones, coins, etc.
  • Near the tower are the remains of the palace complex and the ruins of two mausoleums.
  • Archaeological and architectural complex “Burana Tower” in Kyrgyzstan is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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