Labi Havuz (on the pond) is the largest ensemble built in Bukhara in the XVII century. Three buildings of the Kukaldash madrasah (1568 – 1569), Khanaqa Nadir Divanbegi (1622) form the ensemble, in which Labi Havuz is the central organizational element.
The oldest part of this building complex is the Kulba-Kukaldash madrasah, which has 160 cells and is considered the largest in Bukhara. The rooms in the Kukaldash madrasah give an impression of narrowness, overcrowded corridors, stairs, stumbling blocks. The best that the architecture of this madrasah has preserved for us are the constructions and decorative ornaments of the two main halls of the mosque and the darskhana (study rooms), as well as the domed ceilings under the corridors leading from the gates of the madrasah to the courtyard. Particularly beautiful in the madrasah are the carved wooden doors with complex star patterns.
Otherwise it can serve as a model for extreme carelessness in the building trade and negligence of dignitaries who, competing with each other, build charitable institutions but save the maximum.
The Labi Havuz ensemble in Bukhara was finally formed after the construction of the Great Havuz and the Khanaqa (retreat). The banks of the basin (pond), cut into corners, were covered with large blocks of stone on whose ledges the Meshkabe – water carriers whose services were used by the people of Bukhara – went down to fetch water.
The water was used to irrigate the roads, for construction purposes and as drinking water. Picturesque centuries-old trees still stand around the pond today. Shortly after the construction of the water collection pond, a madrasah by Nadir Diwanbegi was built on the other side of the square.
It is interesting with its beautiful proportions of the facade and the remains of pictures of fallow deer, fantastic birds in the arches. The whole courtyard part of the madrasah is a small pattern. The architectural design of Labi Havuz is very attractive.
The inclusion of a huge water level, trimmed with a thick edge of greenery, in the complex of monumental buildings, whose actively connecting beginning is not a traditional square but a water basin, was a new word in the history of Central Asian art and the appeal of this technique under the conditions of the southern city should not be underestimated.
It is said that when Nadir-Divan-Begi built the Khanaqa (place of retreat), a large house belonging to a Jewish widow is said to have stood on the site of the existing havuz. The Divan-Begi decided that this place was ideal for the construction of a water collection basin on the Khanaqa.
He approached the widow with an offer to sell the farm at a good price. But the Jewish woman would not agree to this under any circumstances.