Of the numerous country palaces of Bukhara rulers there survived the best of them: Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa – the summer residence of the last Bukhara emirs. The palace is located at a distance of 4 kilometres north from Bukhara, by the road that runs to Gijduvan.
The first structures in this picturesque area were built in the mid-19th century during the rule of Emir Nasrullakhan. In the 1880s, his successor Muzaffarkhan built here a palace for his beloved wife Sitora-bonu. The most skillful Bukhara craftsmen were sent to Russia to learn the best practices of country residence construction. Soon after that, under the supervision of architect Hajji Khafiz, there was constructed sumptuous set of rooms including throne room, which had a peculiar mixture of European and Asian architectural styles. Around the palace there was laid out a park with fountains, pergolas and loggias. The ruler’s wife died young, but her name remained in the name of the palace - Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa, which can be translated as ‘the palace of the moon-like star’.
The main structures of the residence were built during the rule of the last Bukhara emir Alimkhan during 1910s and 1920s. The new palace complex comprises an arch over the gateway, a few buildings and a greenhouse. The main building of the palace includes the emir’s private chambers, the so called salomkhona main ceremonial terrace, a parlor, throne rooms, a number of waiting rooms and the treasury.
One of the waiting rooms and the White Throne Room are decorated with masterpieces of Uzbek frescos and gunch stucco carvings. The waiting room has traditional frescos of geometric decorative patterns in tempera made by usto Khasanjon Umarov in 1912; these frescos are still in excellent condition. The mirror walls of the glittering Khona’i Safed throne room are covered with finest gunch stucco laces made by outstanding Bukhara master Shirin Muradov in 1914; the walls have richly patterned vertical and horizontal panels, niches and inlays.
The entrance to the main building is guarded by two marble sculptures of lions made by Nurata craftsmen. Marble heads of fabulous dragon creatures decorate the spillway of the pool.
Today the Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa palace houses museum exposition. It represents over 100 samples of palace furniture, utensils, Chinese and Japanese porcelain items. The Khonai Khasht parlor features a collection of the 19th- century national dress made by Bukhara best gold embroiderers. In the palace park there have been restored to its original layout the fence and pavilions; the landscape gardening repeats the ancient planting schemes.
Visitors to the Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa palace have a unique opportunity to make a journey into the past and to see round the chambers of the last Bukhara ruler.