Unusually, Shakhrisabz's Dorus Siadat - Seat of Power and Might - although built by Temur as a burial place for first one, then another, of his sons who predeceased him, shows little sign of the restoration that has been so evident at other buildings of this period of Uzbek history. Instead, its reddish-brown bulk, with its most untypical...more
...are the virtues extolled in the name of the Dorut Tilovat madressah, built beside the Kok Gumbaz Mosque.Two mausolea, each topped with a small blue dome, and a reconstructed row of student cells are all that remain of the once huge medressah that stood here. The first was built in 1374 by Temur for his father's spiritual advisor and it is...more
All that remains of the huge summer palace Ak-Serai - the White Palace- that Temur built here in Shahrisabz are the remnants of two massive towers that flanked the entrance. That this was once the greatest of all his palaces is attested to by contemporary writings. It took 25 years to build the palace and no expense was spared. . The Spanish...more
The Koba medressah is worth checking out both for its architectural history and its modern usage.The medresah was built in the 15th century in the traditional format of a central courtyard surrounded by khudjras (cells) for the students along each side of the square and darskhona (classrooms) on either side of the portal. Unlike the grand...more
....to buy a fat pig.Well, I doubt very much that you'll find the pig of the old nursery rhyme in Shahrisabz's bazaar but you'll find just about everything else you can possibly think of is for sale here if you come on the right day.The first time we visited Shahrisabz it was early summer, the spring wheat was harvested, the cotton was planted, the...more
It's a pleasant walk of about 2 kilometre from Temur's palace to the Kok Gumbaz Mosque and the nearby Dorus Siadad ensemble, a short walk but one that takes you on a stroll through the town's long history. Once known as Lenin Street, the road has been renamed Ipak Yoli - Uzbek for Silk Road. The Khodja Mirhamid mosque and medressah sits set back...more
Built by Temur's grandson, Ulug Beg, in 1435-6, Sharisabz's Kok Gumbaz mosque (kok - blue gumaz-dome) great dome has been restored to its former azure glory along with the portal and arch leading into it. The tiling here mimics the astral themes of the tiles on the Ulugh Beg medressa in Samarkand. The internal decoration of the mosque and the two...more
There is also a big covered bazaar in the center of Shahrisabz, halfway between the palace and the Mosques. It is from the 18th century. Everything can easily be accessed by foot. It is a pleasant walk around in a quiet surrounding as almost no cars go into the area between the old city walls.more
In 1437 - 1438, two years after the mosque's Gok Kumbaz construction, a burial vault (makbarat) for the descendants and members of the Timurid clan was built, by order of Ulughbek, beside the south wall of the mausoleum of Shamsiddin Kulal. Among the marble gravestones of the 15th - 17th centuries transferred to the burial vault at various times...more
This Mausoleum is a very strange buildings with a white cone-shaped cupola. It is east of the Kok Gumbaz, called Dorussiadat (Seat of Power and Might), which contains the Tomb of Jehangir, Timur’s eldest and favorite son. The adjacent mosque is said to house the tomb of a revered 8th century imam from Iraq, Hazrat-i Imam, "Holy Imam".more
This wonderful mosque was build in 1446 under Timur's descendat Ulughbek. The neame means "Blue Cupola". it belongs to the Doruttilovat ensemble. The Doruttilovat complex was formed after the death in 1370 - 1371 of the eminent religious leader Shamsiddin Kulal, the founder of Sufism, the spiritual mentor of Emir Taragay and of Timur himself, and...more
Ak Saray means "Wgite Palace". It has been the summerpalace of Timur. He build his palace in Shahrisabz to impress the people. Above the entry of the Ak-Saray are big letters saying: "If you challenge our power - look at our buildings!" The ruins still dominate the town. Of all the rooms and courtyards, which have been as is said full of gold and...more
Timur was one of the greatest conquerors in Central Asia. He was born in Shakhrisabz by the year 1320 from a noble family of turkish origins. In only twenty years he created one of the biggests Empires in the world from India to Russia and Anatolia establishing his capital in the mythical city of Samarkand. Brave warrior and very intelligent he had...more
This crypt had to be the resting place of Timur. Very simple, the only decoration are some biographical inscriptions about Timur on the casquet of the dome and some Quoranic quotations on the arches. Why was not buried here? There are different explanations about this. One of them tells us that when Timur died during an expedition against the...more
A few years ago, eating in a private house was the best way to ensure getting an appetising meal in Uzbekistan as restaurants were oftenof a very dubious quality. That has changed in the main cities and you will find really nice restaurants quite easily, Small towns like Shahrisabz are a different matter and your choices are much more limited. We...more
No surprises on the menu here at Dilmurod's house restaurant, the usual Uzbek fare of plov, salads, shashlyk and non, but the service was pleasant, the beer cold, the room cool and the toilets very clean - and that's about as much as you would or could expect from a simple restaurant in a small town. It suited us fine.more
There are two roads from Samarkand to Shahrisabz. The short one takes you across the Takhtakaracha Pass (1676 metres). Unfortunately, it's off-limits for tour buses these days so we had to take the low road - a longer journey that takes you away from the farms surrounding Samarkand and out onto the steppe before turning south towards the mountains....more
From Samarkand to Sharisabz is a short road (80km) crossing the mountains of Saraschan, following the Big Silkroad. This road cannot be used by busses and bigger cars. So most poeple take a detour driving around the mountains, This road is about 175km long. It crosses the socalled Hungerplain, which is a dry plain of almost desert character.more
If you go to Shakhrisabz from Samarqand you will have to cross the Takhtakaracha Pass (over 1788m) on Gissar Mountains. This is possible only by car and only during warm season and it will take you two hours. On the other hand, if you go there by bus or pullman, you will be forced to do a detour around the mountains of three hours. I suggest you to...more
Embroidery is The craft in Shahrisabz and there are stalls selling embroidered pieces at all the main sights of the town. Whether they have set their goods up along the wall by the Ak Serai Palace, in the courtyard of the Kok Gumraz mosque or wherever they think a passing tourist will find them, the women selling are traders - not the women who did...more
....buying a doll that was virtually a portrait of the girl in the shop? I'm not a doll collector but this one was irresistable. Handmade, with a papier-mache head and a wired poseable body, she comes from a long tradition of doll and puppet making that was suppressed, as were so many traditional crafts here in Uzbekistan, during the long decades...more
Temur, Timur, Tamerlane - what ever name he is known by, was a colossus of history, known and feared by what, in his time, was truly half the world. His gigantic figure strides across Uzbekistan's history, almost as much today as in his lifetime as the present government has rehabilitated him from a brutal and ruthless conqueror to a charismatic...more
October is "wedding season" in Uzbekistan - the harvest is over, there's time to celebrate - and celebrate they do. Three days or more of ceremony and celebration are the norm, wealthy families may take a week.Of all the ceremonies of family life Nikokh - marriage - is the most important, for the couple and their families. Family is the fulcrum...more
I saw on the streets of Shakhrisabz some drink sellers that sold water and other drinks in recycled bottles. They had like a kind of tap from where they filled used bottles. But it's quite obvious, it's difficult to trick you.
And up it was - a long flight of steps up from the road to the farmhouse on the hill above us. We'd stopped there just after turning off the main Samarkand to Bukhara road as we headed for Shahrisabz. At the top we found not only the farmhouse and, as everywhere in this most hospitable of countries, a welcome pot of tea, but a weaving workshop where the farmer's wife and daughters were making homespun woollen floor mats, quite different from anything we had seen anywhere else.
Working on narrow looms, one on the ground outside, a vertical one inside, the mats are woven in long lengths which are then cut, joined and bound at the ends to make the mats. Some were brightly coloured, others - more appealing to my eye - were made of undyed wools, soft browns, creams and greys combining with natural "black" wool. Some were reversable. They were very attractive and, needless to say, several sales were made.
But it wasn't just about selling to the tourists. We watched the girls as they spun and wove the wool, admired the little boy's new shoes, a couple of us made our way back down the stairs to the field below where more of the family were gathering corn and shepherding the sheep to new pasture. The views of the valley were lovely, the farmyard with its tandoor oven, chickens and garden was interesting, the sun was warm as we sat and drank our tea.
It's a successful small enterprise they have going there. It makes a good stop on the long (3 hour) drive to Shahrisabz, new loos at the bottom of the stairs make it a comfort stop and I'm sure lots of the tour buses that come that way know to stop there, though if you're only on a day trip and must be back in Samarkand by nightfall there probably isn't time for as long a stop as we had.
Twice now we've been to Shahrisabz, and each time we have had the loveliest guides - both middle-aged women, both history teachers and both utterly engaging in their warmth and enthusiasm for their town. It was the first whose promise of autumn melons and balmy days was so instrumental in our decision to include a stay in Shahrisabz on our return;...more
Timur was born in 1336 in a place near today's Sharisabz. At that time Sharisabz was called Kesh. His father was the Khan of a nomadic tribe of Centralasia with Mongolian origins. Timur very soon became a military leader. He and his men conquered Centralasia, destroying many cities and killing thousands of people.In the 14th century Timur and many...more
Sharisabz is located on a very important North-South trading route, already founded in 3rd century b.c. Under the name of Kesh it was the capital of Timur, who build many monumental and beautiful builings to make his city very impressive. Visitors, who came to Kesh from afar always admired the astonishing work of the local artists. The rests of a...more