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Shahrisabz (Green City), 90 kilometers from Samarkand, is located in Kashkadarya valley, a province in the south of Uzbekistan. It is a 2700 - year - old city - the center of folk art, embroidery and ceramics. This name was given to this town of Kesh by Amir Timur, who was born 13 kilometers from here, in the village of Hodja Ilgor. At the end of the fourteenth century, he decided to build here his most magnificent residence, the Ak Saray (White Palace). This building was even more ambitious than the Bib Khanum mosque in Samarkand. The construction took 20 years to complete and wasn’t finished when a Spanish ambassador Clavijo saw it in 1404. All that remains from that once proud monument are the two flanking towers of the entrance iwan and parts of the richly decorated walls at the base of the big arch. Some of the artifacts that have been preserved from Ak - Saray Palace are unsurpassed masterpieces of ornamental mosaic. An inscription on the portal of palace states in large letters: “If you question the power of making miracles-look at our buildings!”
Parts of the fortification walls 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.
If possible, Shakhrisabz should be visited on 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.
Malik Adjar mosque, XV
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.
Chorsu covered market, XIV
The ancient major crossroads bazaar, having parallels only in Samarkand and Bukhara, will serve as an extension of the museum, exhibiting local crafts.
Medieval public bath, XIV
Of many bath houses only this one remains. Accessible for men only, it comprises hot and cool bathing rooms, a massage vault and a barber’s room.
The Dar - ul Siyadat complex to the south of the Ak Saray is the mausoleum that Amir Timur had built for his eldest son, Jakhangir. It is a fortress -like structure with a high portal and conical cupola built in the late fourteenth century. Beside the mausoleum is the sixteenth century mosque with 600 year old plane trees in it. Amir Timur’s would be grave yard is next to this complex. Inside, it is lined with marble and decorated with bands of inscriptions, and houses a sarcophagus of an unknown person.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.
A short distance to the west is the complex Dorut - Tilovat.The Ko’k Gumbaz (Green Mosque), is an imposing construction with a blue dome built by Ulugbek in the middle of the fifteenth century. Interior walls have painted decoration. Opposite are two mausoleums, Gumbazi- Saidon and Shamshiddin Kulol Mausoleum.
Shamshiddin Kulol Mausoleum, XIVc.
A small hall with high cupola ceiling holds a beautiful white marble gravestone. Originally from a potter’s family, Shamshiddin Kulol later became the mentor of Bakhauddin Nakshbandi and the spiritual teacher of Amir Taragai, Timur’s father as well as of Timur himself. On the far side of the carved stone pilgrims pour water into an indentation, which, when drunk, will cure men of snoring and women of barrenness.The mausoleum was built by Timur in the 1370s.
Gumbazy-Selidan tomb, XV
Inside the mausoleum next door with turquoise dome and beautifully painted tiled decoration.the cupola lay remains of Timur’s father and other close members of his family. The original door to the mausoleum is displayed in the museum.It is believed, that prophet’s descendants,on their way from Termez to Samarkand died in Shakhrisabz and were buried in this mausoleums. A number of cenotaphs inside the mausoleum may prove this.
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