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Samarkand travelers should not miss a day trip to Shahrisabz. For the approx. 85 km you need approx. 1.5 hours by car.
From Samarkand to Shahrisabz
In the south of Samarkand are the foothills of the Zarafshan Range. On the way to Shahrisabz, we cross the mountain range on a pass road, which leads to approx. 1675 m above sea level. The road over the pass is well developed so that it is easy to drive.
From the top of the pass, one has a beautiful view of the southern valley. Shahrisabz is at an altitude of 622 m above sea level.
The name of the city Shahrisabz is inevitably associated with Amir Temur, although, the city was still called Kesh at that time.
Amir Timur was born here and managed to fight his way up from a shepherd to the ruler of Transoxania.
Timur was of Mongolian descent but spoke the Turk language so he could not be distinguished from the Turk peoples. With the restoration of the Mongol Empire in mind, he pursued this goal with extreme brutality. He ruled his empire as a tyrant. One of his most powerful opponents was the Golden Horde on the Volga, which after various defeats fell into individual Khanates.
Until then he had already conquered the territories of southern Khorasan, Iran, and Iraq.
After that, he conquered Delhi, Damascus, and Baghdad. In 1402, he caused the Ottomans the most serious defeat in their history in the battle at Ankara.
On the following campaign to attack the Ming Dynasty in China, Timur died due to extensive alcohol consumption in Shymkent.
The historic center of Shahrisabz was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. Whether this will remain after the construction of a hotel and other modern buildings is open. But in 2008, the UNESCO Committee confirmed the status again at a conference in Bahrain.
Samarkand was the capital of its empire even if Amir Temur worked to transfer these to Kesh. In Kesh, he built his own palace, Ak-Saray, the White Palace. Unfortunately only a part of the entrance gates remained. The dimensions of this building are only hard to imagine.
The vault of the entrance portal was 22 meters high. Experts estimate that the entire portal was 45 m high.
The water basin in the inner courtyard was approximately 240 x 120 meter in size. The center of the palace was where the Amir Timur statue stands today. One building is said to have been 6-storied according to old writings. The gardens gave the city its new name Shahrisabz, the city of green.
200 m further on is the Chubin Madrasa, which today houses the Shahrisabz Museum of History and Material Culture.
Here we had the opportunity to see a 3D animation of the palace. Besides, there is an extensive collection of objects from Amir Timur’s time.
Kok Gumbaz Mosque
We continued on our way to the Kok Gumbaz Mosque. Ulugh Beg built it in honor of his father Shah Rukh. It is part of the Dor ut-Tilovat complex, which also includes some mausoleums.
In the first mausoleum, with the turquoise dome lies Timur’s father and some descendants of the Prophet who died here on the way from Termez to Samarkand.
The second mausoleum was built for Sheikh Shamseddin Kulyal, the spiritual teacher of Amir Timur and his father.
The Jahongir Mausoleum, which Timur had built for himself, would certainly have been worth seeing. Two of his sons are buried here, but he himself was buried in Samarkand in the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum.
The complete area is approx. 1.5 km long.
As fascinating as this area is, we, unfortunately, have to break off on this day.
Ursula does not feel well on this day. This time she has got stomach problems and already suffers the second day from it because we run out of Uzara drops. Charcoal tablets from the local pharmacy are only of limited help. The heat does the rest. So after returning to Samarkand, we decide to spend the rest of the day in the hotel.
Back to Samarkand
The route back to Samarkand is the same as the one we came over. After leaving the houses of Shahrisabz behind us, the landscape is immediately brown and dry. Then the road climbs up the Zarafshan Range. On the slopes, we see scattered huge boulders.
At the top, we make a short stop at a fruit and spice market. The offered goods look good. Unfortunately, we have no need for them on our trip.
From here we have a beautiful view over the valley towards Samarkand.
Arrived in Samarkand we drive directly to our hotel.
Please read on > Ulugh Beg Observatory in Samarkand
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