Imam Al Bukhari (810-870) is a well-known Islamic theologian, whose activity exerted a huge influence on all Islamic world. In his childhood in the age of seven years old, he took interest in hadith – legends connected with sayings and acts of prophet Muhammad. Imam Al Bukhari spent four years in Mecca taking classes from best-known and esteemed muhaddises (scholars –hadith experts). Later, setting out on travels, he visited the largest centers of Islamic science of that time. The crown of his travels was his book entitled “Al Jamius-Sahih”, a collection consisting of 600 hadith, forming the basis for Islamic Sunna. It took Al Bukhari more than 16 years to write that book, classifying the hadith by topics.
In 1998 a mausoleum was erected in the place of his entombment in Khatrang village, not far from majestic Samarkand blue domes, bright like spring sky. The Imam Al Bukhari Mausoleum building is sparkling in the sun among neat green lawns, while its refined oriental decoration arrests sight of the tourists. The mausoleum is surrounded by a solemn atmosphere: the Muslims not only from Central Asia, but also from all over the world are coming here daily to make a pilgrimage. It is an interesting fact that visiting of the Imam Al Bukhari Mausoleum, Shakhi-Zinda and Rukhabad – the Samarkand main sanctuaries at one day is equal to minor hadj for the Muslims. Hence there is a saying popular among people: “If Mecca is the heart of Islamic world, Samarkand is its head”.
The Imam Al Bukhari Mausoleum is a cube crowned with a small dome, decorated with blue tiles. The shrine inner walls are skillfully finished with the materials such as mosaic, majolica, and ganch (burnt brick). The grave-stone is made of chlorine onyx.
Around the mausoleum, spreads out a whole complex with total area of 10ha. The complex includes the mausoleum itself, a mosque, library, madrasah, museum, special hotel for tourists and pilgrims, and also gift shops. The mosque’s total area is large enough to house a thousand and a half believes for prayers. The madrasah, located deep in the yard, conducts classes in hadith. The library in the complex has rare manuscripts and lithographic books on Islamic theology. The museum demonstrates the gifts presented to it by the guests from different countries , the most valuable among them is a piece of an antependum from Caaba in Mecca, donated by the Saudi Arabian King when he was making pilgrimage to tomb Imam Al Bukhari.