Zindan (“zina” - "crime" and “dan” – “room”) in Persian means an underground prison. It’s the most mysterious monument of Bukhara built in XVIII century. It’s situated inside the city (Shakhristan) and consists of several wards, dungeon made of brick with a diameter of about 5 meters and a depth of 6.5 meters.
Zindan was accommodated not more than 40 people and it’s not a serious amount if compare it with population of medieval Bukhara. It means that crime rate was low at that time. The prisoners were usually debtors, criminals and condemned persons.
The Bukhara Khanate was the state where religion played a major role in the lives of citizens. One of these requirements was the daily five prayers. There was a special officer - Rais who kept order. He came to mosques every day and noticed who was absent at the first prayer. If someone was absent without good reason – he was punished. Murder, attempted murder and treason were the good reason to be put to Zindan. Political offenders were in other prison situated inside the fortress Ark.
Zindan was no longer used as prison in 1920. Today Emir Zindan is a unique museum and every tourist can visit it. It’s a good opportunity to walk along the narrow corridor, where earlier walked prisoners. Don’t miss this opportunity during your tour to Uzbekistan. There’s also tomb of saint Kuchkar-Ata in top part of Zindan.
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