Shakhrisabz Tourist Attractions


Shakhrisabz (‘green city’; also spelled Shahrisabz, Shahr-i Sabz), the home town of Tamerlane (Timur), features a number of architectural monuments built in his and his dynasty times. They are the grand remains of the summer palace Ak Saray (‘white palace’; also spelled Aq Sarai, Aksaray, Aqsaray, Aksarai, Aqsaray) dating from 1380, the memorial complex Dorus Saodat (‘seat of power and might’; 14th c. - 15th c.; also spelled Dorussaodat, Dorus Siadat, Dorussiadat, Dar al-Sayadah; also known as Hazrat-i Imam Complex) where two Tamerlane’s sons were buried and where a crypt intended for him was built, the memorial complex Dorut Tillavat (‘contemplation place’; 14th c. - 15th c.; also spelled Doruttillavat, Dorut Tillyavat, Doruttillyavat, Dar al-Tilavah) where Tamerlane’s father rests, and the Friday communal prayer mosque Kok Gumbaz (‘blue dome’) built by order of Ulugbek, Tamerlane’s grandson, in 1437. Thoroughly restored and reconstructed, these architectural monuments are perfect examples of Central Asian Islamic architecture of the Timurid times. They were meant to contribute to making Tamerlane’s home town and the second capital of his huge empire as beautiful as Samarkand.

The Palace of Ak-Saray

Ak-Saray Palace is one of the most magnificent monuments of the Timurids of the XIV - XV centuries, erected in the city of Kesh (Shakhrisabz). Amir Timur (Tamerlan, Tamerlane) directed the construction himself. After Timur had already built a great number of palaces and fortresses in the capital of his land, in Samarkand, he wanted to beautify his home town Shakhrisabz with a palace, which has not been seen in all his empire yet. He called the most skilled architects and craftsmen from all over his possessions. Also, about 50,000 slaves took part in this large-scale construction. Ak-Saray Palace was planned as the most grandiose of all Timur's constructions.

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Memorial сomplex Dorus-Saodat

When the eldest son of Amir Timur, Jakhongir, suddenly passed away in Samarkand at the age of 20, the king grieved greatly. He loved his son a lot, and got him to be the heir to the throne. In a burst of emotion king wished to build a mausoleum for the late boy, luxury and magnificence of which would reflect all father’s love. He called the best architects from different cities, including those from Khorezm. His wish was to build up a magnificent building in the homeland of his forefathers, in the city of Shakhrisabz. The complex is called Dorus-Saodat (‘Dorussaodat’), in Russian means “Repository of power” (‘Seat of Power and Might’).This memorial was designed not only for Prince Jakhongir, later it became the family tomb of the Timurid dynasty.

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Dorut-Tillavat Memorial Complex

The memorial complex Dorut-Tillavat (‘contemplation place’) dates back to the late 14th – early 15th centuries. It is located in an old cemetery in the south-east of Shakhrisabz. It is where Emir Taragay, Tamerlan’s father, died in 1360 or 1361, is buried. The formation of the complex began after the death of the famous and revered Sufi religious figure Shamseddin Kulyal who was the spiritual father of Taragay and Tamerlane himself. Shamseddin Kulyal was one of the founders of Sufism and the sheikh Bahauddin Nakshbandi’s mentor. He grew up in a potter’s family, hence was his nickname Kulyal (‘pot maker’). He was very much respected as early as during his life; people used to go to him for advice concerning both religious and secular matters.

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Kok-Gumbaz Mosque

The mosque Kok-Gumbaz (‘blue dome’) was built in 1435 on the foundations of an earlier structure in the architectural complex Dorut-Tillavat, with the front of it facing Shamseddin Kulyal Mausoleum. Kok-Gumbaz Mosque is the largest Friday mosque in the city. It was where all the major religious ceremonies were held. The construction of the mosque was initiated by the great Tamerlane’s grandson Mirzo Ulugbek, the world-famous astronomer and statesman. The main entrance portal of the mosque still has an inscription saying that Ulugbek built Kok-Gumbaz on behalf of his father Shakhrukh.

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