City (pop., 1999 est.: 237,900), west-central Uzbekistan. Lying east of the Amu Darya, it was founded in the 1st century AD and was a major trade centre when the Arabs captured it circa 710. Built up by the Sāmānid dynasty, it became the capital of their realm, which at its height encompassed much of southern Central Asia. After falling to Genghis Khan in 1220 and to Timur in 1370, it was taken by the Uzbeks, who in the 16th century made it the capital of the khanate of Bukhara. In 1868 the khanate was made a Russian protectorate and in 1920 a Soviet republic. Bukhara was the capital until the republic was absorbed into the Uzbek S.S.R. in 1924. It became part of Uzbekistan on that country's independence in 1991. Historic buildings in the central city were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.
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