Article ID: CBB927089378

Celestial and mythical origins of the citadel of Bukhara (2021)


Narshakhī's The History of Bukhara, an account from the tenth century AD that has been narrated as a mythical and strange story about the formation of the citadel of Bukhara, has received scanty scholarly attention. This study addresses some of the unknown semantic and symbolic origins of Iranian citadels and fortresses through an analysis of documented legends and other classical sources. This analysis shows that the citadel (qal'a) was built based on the conceptual archetype of the Utopia of Kangdiz (Siāvošgerd) and the geometric shape of Banāt Naʿsh (Big Dipper), which has played a symbolic role in protecting and guarding in Persian cosmology. This celestial analogy can explain the causes and origins of the irregular shape of some other Iranian citadels.

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Authors & Contributors
Pingree, David Edwin
Hejazi, M.
Ohashi, Yukio
Forcada, M.
Rashed, Roshdi
Knappenberger, Paul
Suhayl: Journal for the History of the Exact and Natural Sciences in Islamic Civilisation
Iranian Studies
Tarikh-e Elm (The Iranian Journal for the History of Science)
Nei Menggu Shifan Daxue Xuebao (Ziran Kexue Ban)
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
History of Religions
Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
The MIT Press
Springer International Publishing
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Celestial mechanics
Ibn al-Haytham, Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan
Ibn Basuh, Abu ‘Ali al-Husayn
Avenzoar, Abu Marwan Abd Al-Malik Ibn Zuhr,
Time Periods
Early modern
11th century
10th century
Persia (Iran)
Middle and Near East
Roman Empire
Adler Planetarium, Chicago

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