Namazgah means place, where namaz can be conducted. For example, nazamgah can be room, prayer carpet of open square, which can accept an army during military campaign.
In architectural sense, it is open mosque, where large number of people can pray simultaneously.
When Islam actively spread in the territory of Central Asian, believers gathered in Registan during Kurban-bayram (Eid al-Adha) and Ramazan bayram (Eid al-Fitr). But in the 9th century, the square could not accommodate everyone. That’s why, Namazgah mosque was constructed in Bukhara suburbs – 3 km from the city center. At that time, Samanids were ruling the state.
But, in the 12th century, Arslan-han decided that the citizens should live nearby. So, in case of attack, they could return to city fast and protect it. While he was thinking more about defense capability of the city rather than convenience of population, both sides won in the result.
He purchased Shamsabad garden for this. In 1119-1120, the brick wall with the length of 38 meters with special cavity – mihrab – was constructed instead of the garden. Mihrab in mosques directed to the Mecca. In the 8-15th centuries, the building was reconstructed and it was reconstructed in line with new traditions. In the 16th century, the wall was tiled with glazed terracotta.
In the 17th century, the mosque was rebuilt. In the result, the mosque has the avian with three portals. For construction one of the walls, the bricks of primary construction were used. Ancient wooden minbar (pulpit) from where the imam read a khutba (sermon) was replaced with a brick minbar. Only part of the structure is preserved till our time.
Currently, ancient Namazgah is located within the city among houses and that’s why it lost its original purpose. Its function was overtaken by countryside memorial complexes. For example, Bahauddin Naqshbandi mausoleum, where the great sufi is buried, is one of them.
Despite this, old Namazgah mosque is an important religious monument of Bukhara.