Interesting facts about Samarkand

The commander Kuteiba brought the green banner of Islam to Central Asia. In 712, his soldiers took Samarkand, the richest and most famous city of Maverannahr (the Arabic name for the interfluve of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya). Gradually, the local population converted to a new faith, which was destined to take root and transform the appearance of the country with numerous mosques.

In 1220 Samarkand suffered a terrible catastrophe - it was plundered and almost completely destroyed by the Mongols. For one hundred and fifty years, the city eked out a miserable existence. But in the middle of the 14th century. the time has come for another great conqueror. This time it was given by the land of Maverannahr itself. It was Timur (Timur-Leng - Iron Lamer), whose name for Europeans sounded like Tamerlane. The tyrant sought to subjugate all surrounding states and peoples to his power. But at the same time he took care of the prosperity of his native country and the rise of its capital - Samarkand.

Timur consistently defeated the troops of all the greatest commanders of Asia, including the Khan of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Bayazid I Lightning. He conquered a vast territory, where his power became undivided. He drove architects, artists, masons and jewelers from different countries to the capital, and work began to boil. Over the next few decades, through the efforts of Timur and his successors, Samarkand turned into a great capital and ruler of the destinies of many Asian peoples.

Of all the structures, three are the most striking: the Bibi-khanum mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda mausoleum complex and the Registan ensemble. The construction of the Bibi-khanum mosque (meaning "senior princess") began in 1399, after Timur's victorious campaign in India. According to his plan, it was supposed to outshine all the sanctuaries he knew. The mosque really turned out to be grandiose, the rectangle of its outer walls reaches 167 m in length, and the dome of the main hall is raised to 40 m. The spacious courtyard was covered with marble slabs and surrounded by a closed gallery.

However, as soon as the mosque became a place of worship, it began to collapse. So, in the very first years, a monumental arch collapsed, which, according to Tamerlane's plan, was supposed to personify the Milky Way. Currently, the mosque has been restored and again delights visitors. Not far from it is one of the most mysterious and unique monuments of Samarkand - the Shahi-Zinda complex ("living king"). It consists of a series of graceful tombs that were attached to each other during the 14-15th centuries.

The heart of Samarkand is the Registan Square ("a place covered with sand"). It is an architectural ensemble of three massive madrasah buildings. These Muslim educational institutions were built after the death of Timur. The oldest was built by his grandson - Ulugbek. In 1409 he became the ruler of Samarkand, and then the head of the Timurid dynasty. Ulugbek did not inherit his grandfather's passion for conquering countries. This unique ruler can be called the "scholar on the throne." He loved poetry, studied history, but Ulugbek's main hobby was astronomy. He invited a large number of scientists from the Islamic world to the madrasah, making Samarkand also a scientific center of the East.

Gur Emir - tomb of Tamerlane