Shakhrisabz (originally from Persian a "green city") is a small and very cozy town, which lies in the foothills of the Zarafshan and Hissar ranges in the valley of Tanhoz and Aksu rivers’ confluence. Located 90 kilometers to south of Samarkand city, at an altitude of 630 meters above a sea level, Shakhrisabz is considered to be one of the oldest cities on Earth. That town is as old as the eternal city of Rome. Its age, according to archaeologists, is 2700 years old.
History of the town starts with the parking of ancient farmers in III century BC. But, according to the Chinese annals of the II century BC it is mentioned, that the ancient city of Sousse was located at this place. Its governor was the first to establish trade relations with China and built the city of Keshe. In the second half of the II century BC, the city got the name of Kesh and became the capital of Sogdiana - a province of the Achaemenids Empire.
At different times the city was transferred and rebuilt for many times. Therefore, the current Shakhrisabz is situated 20 kilometers from the ancient fort of Keshe.
In its rich history the city became a mute witness of the Persian kings Darius’s and Cyrus’s campaigns and the cohorts of Alexander of Macedon. It organized resistance to Arab invaders, met and saw off the endless caravans on the Great Silk Road.
The city has reached its greatest prosperity in the middle of the XIV century.
In 1336 year on the outskirts of Shakhrisabz, exactly in the village of Khoja-Ilgar, the great military leader and ruler - Amir Temur was born.
Creating a huge and powerful state of Movaraun-Nahr with its capital in Samarkand city, Temur always cared about his motherland, essentially making Shakhrisabz the second capital of the empire. Thus, Bobur - a descendant of Timur, the founder of the Mogull Empire wrote: "... as Kesh was the birthplace of Temurbek, he put a lot of efforts and care to transform the city into" the foot of the throne. "
By the will of the emperor, the best builders, architects, masters of architectural decor were sent here, who embodied the experience and traditions of different countries in their magnificent works. On the fertile soil of Shakhrisabz their creativity, multiplied by the skill of local craftsmen, gave excellent results, laying the foundation of the monumental style, which defined the architectural features of Central Asia in XIV-XV centuries.
Everything in Shakhrisabz, one way or another, is connected with the name of Amir Temur. His father Amir Taragay, as well as his spiritual teacher Shamsiddin Kulol, were buried at this place. There are also here the graves of his sons Jahangir and Omar Sheikh. Of course, even the great leader would now rest here in the land of his ancestors, but fate decided otherwise...
Up to the present time, there are not many monuments of great historical past which are still preserved in the city, but they are all unique. Grateful descendants carefully preserve the memory of that great era, it's not in vain Shakhrisabz city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ak-Saray is a "home residence" of Temurids, the example of the ceremonial government architecture. During 20 years, the best architects of Iran, Khorezm, Northern India, created this magnificent building. The palace, which was built in the style of that time, included several courtyards, around which there were living quarters and rooms for public use. The rooms were tastefully decorated with gold …
That is a memorial Ensemble, which includes three parts: the Vault of Jahangir, a mosque and a tomb of Hazrat Imam Temur. The favorite son of the ruler died in 1376 year and cast his father in an utter despair, so much that "the heart of the emperor was closed for compassion during 30 years." The body of a young prince was taken to the land of their ancestors, where a mausoleum was built for him. Later, …
That is a memorial Ensemble, of which there are only three buildings left at the former burial place of the local nobility. These are the mausoleums of Shamsiddin Kulol and Gumbazi Seyidon, as well as a mosque named Kok Gumbaz. The oldest building here is considered to be a mausoleum of Shamsiddin Kulol. Sheikh, who died in 1370 year, was the spiritual mentor of Amir Temur, and was buried with full …
The ancient major crossroads bazaar, having parallels only in Samarkand and Bukhara, will serve as an extension of the museum, exhibiting local crafts.
One of the few painted aivan (Uzbek: place for sitting and relaxing) wood ceilings, carried by stalactite wood pillars. According to legend, Malik Adjar was a wealthy man who generously helped those in need. The length of his legs was of such fame, that when mounting a camel, his knees would still touch the ground.
If it all possible, Shakhrisabz should be visited on a Friday. To witness the wise old men of the area with their white beards, white turbans and beautiful striped coats approaching the Juma Mosque, is a beautifully privileged moment, when fantasy meets reality.?
Timur had his burial arrangements carefully planned. He himself chose the granite slab, the location of his mausoleum, deep in the ground. For political reasons, however, Timur was laid to rest in Samarkand. When Galina Pugachenkova discovered the site 50 years ago, the remains of a man and woman were found inside the casket.
Today the original wood carved doors are opened to invite you into the small cells occupied by craftsmen of the Hunarmand association. This is where national handicraft and a good map of the area are available.
Under the beauty painted cupola next door lay remains of Timur’s father and other close members of his family. The original door to the mausoleum is displayed in the museum.
A small hall with high cupola ceiling holds thew beautiful white marble gravestone. Originally from a potter’s family, Shamshiddin Kulol later became the mentor of Bakhauddin Nakshbandi and the spiritual teacher of emir Taragai, Timur’s father as well as of Timur himself. On the far side of the carved stone pilgrims pore water into an indentation, which, when drunk, will cure men of snoring …
Ulugbeg himself designed and oversaw the construction of this blue domed mosque, erected in honor of his father Shakhruh. With its 46 meters, the cupola is even higher than that of the Bibi-Khanum mosque in Samarkand.
Parts of the fortification wall are still preserved today, right behind Ak-Saray. The magnitude of Ak-Saray is best understood after consulting the map in the museum, showing its original closed off palace compound holding “mahallas”, city section allocated the clergy, to different crafts masters and the ruling family.