The "Street of the mausoleums" is one of the most fascinating sights of Samarkand. Here a tomb was erected for Kusam Ibn Abbas, who, as a companion of Mohammed, spread the faith with the sword. According to legend, when he was prayed by an unbeliever, his head was cut off. He took his head under his arm and disappeared into a well from where he came to paradise. The name Shohizinda means "living rulers" and should indicate that those buried here will not be forgotten. More were added to the tomb of Kusam Ibn Abbas until a small necropolis was established. The Mongolian conqueror Genghis Kahn destroyed the tomb around 1223. Under the Timurids, Shohizinda was rebuilt in the 14th century.


The necropolis Shohizinda consists of elaborately decorated tombs, which are clad in blue glazed tiles. In addition to the mausoleums, there are also several mosques that wind up the rolling hills along the road. The necropolis is entered through the Ulug Bek Portal, which was built by the Timurid ruler for his son Abdulaziz. The largest mausoleum is located in the "Lower Group", just after the entrance on the left. The blue dome shapes the appearance of the necropolis from the outside. In the burial chamber the skeleton of a woman was found. A staircase leads to the "Middle Group" where numerous tombs for women from the dynasty of Timurides and army commanders of the king were built.


The tomb of the "living sheikh" Kusam Ibn Abbas is located after the upper Chortaq (gate) on the right side. The cenotaph of the Muslim saint is behind a wooden lattice. 





Gur Emir

The Gur Emir is the burial place of the dynasty of the Timurids. Timur, the first ruler of the dynasty, built the tomb for his grandson Muhammed Sultan in 1403. King Timur died in 1404 on the way to China. With 200,000 soldiers he wanted to conquer the giant empire. Cold and excessive consumption of alcohol ended the ruler's life over much of today's states of Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, whose capital was Samarkand. The mausoleum shows the importance of the great emir. A magnificent portal leads to the tomb of the ruler (Gur Emir). Very impressive is the turquoise dome, which was made of turquoise, blue and orange tiles. The interior is one of the finest in Islamic architecture. Gold and bright blue tones define the richly decorated interior. Worth seeing are also the Trompen corners), which were decorated with Murqarnasdekor of alabaster and majolica. 


Bibi Xanom (Old Queen) was the wife of Timur, the founder of the Timurid dynasty. When Timur returned from his Indian campaign, he wanted to build the largest mosque in the region. In 1399 work began on the Bibi Xanom Mosque in Samarkand. Already in 1404 the mosque was finished, in the same year the ruler Timur died. The mosque consists of a 40-meter high entrance gate, a 540-square-meter leafy courtyard with two outbuildings crowned by turquoise domes (photo) and the main building with the large prayer hall, which is also surmounted by a tall dome. The rapid construction period and the frequent earthquakes ensured the equally rapid decline of the mosque. In 1974, the once magnificent mosque was only a ruin, then began the reconstruction. Today, the Bibi Xanom Mosque is again one of the landmarks of Samarkand. 


The Registan is the central square and main attraction of Samarkand. The name Registan is called Sandplatz but as modest as the name is nothing else here. There are few places in the world that are as sumptuous as this monumental square. The Registan is the landmark of Uzbekistan and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the Registan are three medresas (madrasas), all of which have aligned their large entrance gate to the square. The three Medresen thus form a unique ensemble that impresses every visitor with its splendor and elegance.

The Ulug Bek Madrese is the oldest in the Registan, it was opened in 1420. Ulug Bek was the fourth ruler of the Timurids and a passionate astronomer. Ulug Bek Madrese is on the left side west of the square. It is the pattern after the other two medreses were built. Stars are shown on the 35 m high (Pishtaq).

Opposite is the Sherdor Madrese, which was completed by Abdul Jabbar in 1632. On the entrance portal two tigers are shown. The name of the Koran school, however, is "lion-wearing" medrese. The big cats hunt white antelopes. Pictorial representations are very rare in Islamic structures, as these are actually prohibited.

The last one was the Tillakori Madrese built around 1660. Tillakori means the "gold-covered". It stands in the north of the Registan and deviates in its construction from the other two. There are no pillars beside the pishtaq and the turquoise dome is just on the left side. This breaks the strict symmetry of the course layout. The Tillakori Medrese occupies thereby a central position on the Registan and served at times as a Friday mosque. The name "Gold-covered" was given to the Koran school because of the golden decorations of the interior.

Registan used to be the city center of Samarkand, with markets, executions and military parades. Today the place lies in a green area and costs entrance. In the evening there is a laser show and folklore events. Nevertheless, the visit is also worthwhile in the evening, when the magnificent buildings are illuminated. 


Map sights in Samarkand


Travel Guide Samarkand