Samarkand - one of the oldest cities in the world, along with Rome, Athens and Babylon was known as "Marakanda" still in the middle of the first millennium BC and was the capital of the ancient state - of Sogdiana. In the Middle Ages it was the center of a powerful empire Tamerlan. It produced the world's best paper and excellent velvet, stained glass and silk. Today it is the second largest city in Uzbekistan, with a population of over 600 thousand. Residents. During the years of independence Uzbekistan Samarkand became more beautiful, carefully preserving its history and its main treasure - the monuments of medieval architecture, many of which are protected by UNESCO, as a World Heritage masterpieces.

It is true poets and historians of the past gives him such magnificent epithets as "Eden of the East", "Face of the Earth", "precious jewel of the eastern world," "Beauty of sublunary countries", "Rome of the East" ... ..

The natural abundance of Zarafshan Valley, where there was Samarkand, was praised "Avesta" in the sacred hymns. In the middle of the 1st millennium BC. e. Greek sources mention about Samarkand in the form Marakanda, in the Middle Ages the ruins of ancient Samarkand became known Afrasiab. The earliest mention of Samarkand pismenooe refers to 329 BC. e., when the Greek-Macedonian army led by Alexander the Great captured it. In the first century, the city became part of the powerful Kangui powers.

In the 6-7 centuries. We stood at the head of Samarkand rulers ishhidy, acting in close cooperation with the Turkic Khanate. At the end of 7 in the early 8th centuries. in Central Asia appeared troops conquering Arabs. Samarkand was a part in the Caliphate, then Samaniydov State Korahanidov, Khorezm.

In the spring of 1220 the city seized the hordes of Genghis Khan, who destroyed its ancient foundation. 14 mid-15th century. It is marked by significant rise new economic, political and cultural life of Samarkand. And at this time the world has increased and the world famous Samarkand as the capital of Timur created a vast empire that stretched from the Volga River to the Ganges, from Tien Shan to Bosporus. The governor wanted to turn the beautiful city of Samarkand.

From every victorious campaign to India, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, the Caucasus, Turkey, he was sent to Samarkand, the most skillful architects, jewelers and scientists. In its Power Timur was the creator of the creator. He generously encouraged artists and poets, thinkers and scientists. These genes will be passed then to his grandson - Ulugbek, whose star catalog and map created five centuries ago, the world admired today.

It was during the reign of the Timurids Samarkand reached the highest peak. The rulers of European countries considered it an honor to visit this city. Samarkand - city of legends. Here every stone, ravine or water - the living tradition of the past, every quarter of the city (or Guzar mahalla) holds a pedigree, his legend. Sometimes legends acquires any historical event or a place that is dear to the heart of each from Samarkand.

Modern Samarkand - the second city in Uzbekistan after Tashkent in terms of population and territory, industrial importance, the center of world tourism. Located on the left bank of the middle reaches of the hilly Zarafshan River. The very nature of Samarkand gave an excellent climate and clean water - it is located in one of the paradises of the Uzbek land.

The climate is continental-subtropical Samarkand. The number of clear days 155, the amount of sunshine hours in 2916, the average temperature is 13.4 years, in January - 0, on July 26, the absolute minimum of -27, the absolute maximum of +45. The population of 364.3 thousand. The main water artery of the city is the river Zarafshan, Dargom channels Siab, Shaudar.


Registan Square

Combination of two words reg - sand and stan - place; literally - a place covered with sand an area in the center of Samarkand. "Registan" was called the main square in the cities of the Middle East. Samarkand Square is the most famous  thanks to the famous architectural ensemble of the XV-XVII centuries located on it, the center of which is the Madrassah of Ulugbek (1417-1420), the Sherdor Madrassah (1619-1636) and the Madrassah Tilla-Kari (1646-1660). The ensemble of three madrassahs is a unique example of the art of urban planning and a wonderful example of the architectural design of the main square of the city. It is one of the brightest examples of Persian architecture. In 2001, this ensemble, together with other ancient historical buildings of Samarkand, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Ulugbek madrasah is the oldest madrassah in Registan Square and was erected in 1417-1420. the ruler of the Timurid state and the scientist-astronomer Ulugbek. The erection of this structure, and a little later the observatory, brought Samarkand the fame of one of the main centers of science of the medieval East. Madrassah was built in the western part of Registan Square, opposite to it a few years later was built the khanaka of Ulugbek, and the northern side was occupied by caravan-sarai. The last two buildings stood for about two centuries, and then in their place in the beginning of the XVII century appeared surviving to the Sherdor madrassa and the Till-Kari madrassah.

Rectangular in terms of madrassah had four aivans and a square courtyard, along the perimeter of which were located deep niches, leading to two-tiered cells, where students lived. The back side of the courtyard was occupied by a mosque, four domes towered above the corner educational auditoriums of the madrasah, and four minarets were located at the corners of the building. The building is facing the square with a majestic eastern portal with a high pointed arch, above which there is a mosaic panel with geometric ornamentation, made of colored bricks, irrigated and carved ceramics. Madrassah Ulugbek was one of the best spiritual universities of the Muslim East of the XV century.There studied the famous poet, scholar and philosopher Abdurakhman Jami.  Lectures on mathematics, geometry, logic, natural sciences and theology were read at the educational institution and were read by their famous scientists of that time: Kazi-zade ar-Rumi, Jemshid Giyas al-Din Al-Kashi, Al- Kuschi, and also Ulugbek himself.

Madrasah Sherdor was built on the site of the Khanaka of Ulugbek, which arose in 1424 in the eastern part of the square opposite the Madrassah of Ulugbek. By the beginning of the XVII century, the khanaka along with other buildings of the square had decayed and deteriorated. By the order of the Uzbek ruler of Samarkand Yalangtush Bahadur, construction of the Sherdor and Tillya-Kari madrassas was started. Madrasah Sherdor (madrassah "with tigers", "Abode of lions") was erected by an architect named Abdul-Jabbar, decorator Muhammad Abbas.

Sherdor madrasah is almost repeats the opposite Ulugbek madrasah, although in distorted proportions. It is distinguished by an inordinately large dome, which could cause the gradual destruction of the building already a few decades after its construction. The walls of the madrassah are covered with quotations from the Koran, the emblem of Samarkand is depicted on the entrance portal - leopards with the sun on their backs, a swastika is placed in the center of the arch, and "God Almighty" is written on top of the special Arabic script. The decoration of the external and internal facades is made of glazed brick, mosaic sets and paintings with an abundance of gilding. Finishing of the Sherdor madrassa is noticeably inferior to the refinement of the madrasah of Ulugbek, erected in the 15th century, which was the "golden age" of the architecture of Samarkand. Nevertheless, the harmony of large and small forms, elegant mosaic pattern, monumentality, clarity of symmetry - all this places the madrassah on a par with the best architectural monuments of the city.

Tillya-Kari madarasah  was erected in the northern part of the square ten years after the Sherdor Madrassah in the place of the caravanserai of the 1420s. The main facade of the square in the plan of the building is symmetrical and consists of a central portal and two-tiered front wings with arched niches and corner towers. The spacious yard is built up around the perimeter with small residential cells, hujras. On the west side of the courtyard there is a domed building of the mosque with two adjacent galleries on the pillars.

The building of the madrasah is richly decorated with mosaics and majolica with geometric and floral ornamentation. In the decoration of the interior, the gilding is abundantly used, which gave the name to the madrasah, meaning "decorated with gold." In the mosque, the mikhrab is gilded, the surface of the walls and vaults is covered with abundant of gold.

Throughout its history, the Till-Kari madrassah was not only a place for students to study, but also served as a cathedral mosque.

To the east of the Till-Kari madrassah is Dakhma Sheybanids, which is a heap of tombstones, the oldest of which dates back to the 16th century. The founder of the Sheibanid power was the grandson of Abul Khair, Muhammad Sheibani, who in 1500 conquered Samarkand and Bukhara, overthrew the last rulers ruling there from the Timurid dynasty. After that, Sheibankhan in 1503 seized Tashkent. In 1506 he captured Khiva and in 1507 attacked Merv (Turkmenia), eastern Persia and western Afghanistan. Sheibanids stopped the offensive of the Safavids, who in 1502 conquered Akkoyunlu (Iran). Muhammad Sheibani was the leader of nomadic Uzbeks. Dakhma Shibanids is a funerary structure in the form of a rectangular prism. The grave was acquired by the order of the daughter-in-law of Sheibani Khan, the wife of his son Temur Sultan, Mihr Sultan Hanim, as a special family burial vault. Later Hamza Sultan (1511), Mahdi Sultan (1511), daughter of Sheibanikhan Shahrbanu khanim (1536) and other representatives of the Shibanid dynasty were buried. The latest gravestone dates back to 1586. Initially, the Sheybanids were buried in the Dakhma on I.Karimov street, but in the 1870s it was destroyed by order of the authorities, and the tombstones were transferred twice, for the last time transferred to the territory of Registan.

Behind Sherdor madrassa is an ancient trading dome of Chorsu, confirming the status of Registan Square as a shopping center of medieval Samarkand. The hexagonal domed building, which has survived to this day, was built in the 15th century, and was rebuilt in the second half of the 18th century [4]. By the order of Khokim of Samarkand, the future Bukhara emir from the Uzbek dynasty  of manghit, Emir Shahmurad.

In 2005, the commercial dome was restored, while a three-meter layer of soil was scraped off to restore the full height of the building. Now it houses a gallery of fine art, where works by Uzbek artists and sculptors are exhibited.

It is said that the name of the square - a place strewn with sand - was due to the fact that the ground was covered with sand, as the main canal was passing through here. However, it should be remembered that at the time of Timur, who died in 1405, on that square there was not one of the existing buildings that are considered masterpieces of Eastern architecture.


Bibi-Khanum mosque

One of the most grandiose mosques in the entire Muslim world, the largest mosque in Central Asia, a huge complex that inspires awe and yet the mysterious fear of the grandiose height of the walls and at the same time makes one tremble at its splendor - all this is about the architectural monument of Bibi Khanum.

Construction began on May 4, 1399 on the site, which the ruler himself personally chose. The most talented craftsmen and craftsmen of that time started their work. Two hundred stonemasons from Azerbaijan, Fars, Hindustan, Khorasan and other countries worked on the construction of the mosque, and in the mountains, tirelessly, worked on processing the stone and supplying it to Samarkand 500 people. To speed up the progress of the work, 99 elephants were delivered from India. It is not surprising that the mosque was built in a record short time for that time - five years. In September 1404 the yard of the mosque contained 10 thousand people. An unusual sight was the blue domes of the Bibi Khanum mosque, which were compared to the beauty of the heavens, and the portal arch to the Milky Way. Nevertheless, Amir Timur did not like the structure. In a fit of anger, he ordered the arrest of Khoja Mahmud David and Mohammed, the architects who supervised the construction.

Many buildings, of which the mosque originally consisted, were combined into a single composition by a covered gallery with 480 marble columns and occupied an area of ​​more than 18,000 square meters. On the east side of the rectangular courtyard was located the peshtak - the main entrance portal 33,15 meters high and 46 meters wide. Opposite the portal in the center of the complex stood the main mosque, the entrance to which was adorned with double doors, poured from seven alloys, carved marble slabs and skillfully made lining. At the corners of the mosque, four tall multi-level minarets were built. In the center of the courtyard a deep well was dug and covered with stone tiles with a hole for water drainage (tashnau).

The Bibi Khanum Mosque was conceived as a structure that was supposed to far surpass all similar buildings. However, the medieval masters did not own the technologies and materials necessary for building such large-scale buildings, besides; they did not take into account the risk of seismicity. Deep foundations of torn stone and brick walls did not save Bibi Khanum - even during Timur's lifetime the building began to collapse, and the stones from the cracked dome poured onto the heads of the prayers.

Now from the whole complex you can see only five surviving buildings: a portal, a large mosque in the backyard, two small mosques and a minaret. In addition, the center of the courtyard is still adorned with a huge marble music stand for the Holy Quran, made at Ulugbek.

But thanks to the painstaking work of historians, archaeologists and art historians, we have the opportunity to present the original appearance of Bibi Khanum.

The finest geometric, vegetative and epigraphic ornaments, as well as majolica combined with inorganic bricks and carved mosaic decorate the building of the mosque. On the inside of the dome were gilded papier-mache products, and on the walls - ornamental painting on plaster. Small mosques have a more modest decor - this was done intentionally, to better emphasize the importance of the main building.

In 1968, work began on the restoration of the complex Bibi Khanum, but the residents and guests of Samarkand could see almost completely the restored structure only by the beginning of the 2003 tourist season.

Again, the arch of the main portal, which was destroyed about half its height, was rebuilt. The lower marble frame remained original, and the old veneer is immediately visible - it is darker. Just like on the main mosque, the original ornament is darker than the modern reconstruction, which is 90%. The partially preserved north-western minaret was completely lined, and three other minarets were rebuilt, rebuilding and lining. At the same time, the height of newly built minarets is less than that of those built by craftsmen in the 15th century. The dome of the main mosque and the dome of the side mosques were also completely restored. Today, the reconstruction work in Bibi Khanum continues, across the street from the mosque, there is an original monument - an octagonal pillar-shaped mausoleum by Bibi khanum with a crypt. This building has no main facade, and judging by the tiled and painted decor, the mausoleum was attached to the Bibi Khanum mosque. The frame of the mausoleum testifies that it was erected at the same time as the mosque. Marble sarcophagi are placed in a spacious vault on the floor. When in 1941 the sarcophagi were opened, they found the remains of two richly dressed middle-aged women. It is possible that one of them was Sarai Mulk Hanum, she is Bibi Khanum.

Separately I would like to note the bazaar, which is located near the Bibi Khanum mosque. After 900 years, he did not lose his colour and still continues to live his unique life of the oriental bazaar.

Ulugbek Observatory

Observatory is one of the most significant observatories of the Middle Ages, built by Ulugbek on the hill of Kukhak in the vicinity of Samarkand in 1424-1428.

The remains of the observatory were found and investigated by the archaeologist V.L. Vyatkin in 1908. To find out the exact description of the location of the observatory was helped by the study of one of the documents of the XVII century: donatives for the lands for the Dervish monastery. In 1948, the expedition of the Institute of History and Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Uzbek SSR, led by archaeologist V.A. Shishkin (1893-1966), completed the last stage of the excavation, exposing the foundations of the observatory and fragments of the building until their foundation on the natural rock.

According to the reconstruction, the observatory looked like a three-storeyed cylindrical structure 30.4 m high and 46.40 m in diameter, and housed a grandiose goniometry (or quadrant) oriented from the north to the south with a radius of 40.21 m, which measured the height of the heavenly bodies above the horizon as they passed through the celestial meridian. The device is opened by excavations and well preserved in the underground part. It is assumed that its arch was the sixth part of the circle with a working part from 20 ° to 80 °.

The arc of the tool is limited by two barriers faced with marble. At each degree of the circle, marbles and cuts are cut in the marble. Each degree corresponds to an interval of 70 cm. There are brick stairs along the barriers.

Azimuth observations could be made on a horizontal circle on the roof of the building. There were other instruments in the observatory that were not preserved.

In the observatory of Ulugbek worked such large astronomers, as Kazi-zade ar-Rumi, al-Kashi, al-Kushchi. Here, by 1437, a catalog of the star sky was compiled, in which 1018 stars were described. In the same place, the length of the stellar year was determined: 365 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes, 8 seconds (with an error of + 58 seconds).

The founder of the observatory, Muhammad Taragay Ulugbek, the grandson of Timur (Tamerlane), was born in 1394, 11 years before the death of his grandfather. Sultan's teachers were the writer and philosopher Arif Azari and the great mathematician Kazy-zade Rumi, who later did much for the observatory. Ulugbek showed great abilities and interest in mathematics since childhood. He was greatly impressed by his trips together with Timur to Sultania, to Marat, and to the Maraghin Observatory, built by the Persian scholar Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (1201-1274). Probably, it was there that the boy started an interest in astronomy.

Becoming the ruler of Samarkand, Ulugbek began to realize his long-standing dream - the creation of an observatory. The main consultant in this big business Ulugbek calls Kazy-zade  Rumi. "With the help and assistance of the teacher," he writes, "the great scientist, carrying the banner of science, indicating the ways of truth and exploration, Kazy-zade Rumi began to create an observatory."

Observatory - a special kind of building, and here the main role belonged not to the architect, but to the scientists who determined the placement and dimensions of the tools built into the building, that is, Ulugbek and Rumi. I must say that the decisions they made were bold and original. Construction took about three years. By the autumn of 1420 (according to other sources - by 1428-1429) the building of the observatory was ready. Installation and reconciliation of instruments began. This, at the request of Ulugbek, was occupied by an astronomer and a brilliant mathematician from Kashan, Jemshid al-Kashi (1373-1430).

The scientific program of the observatory was calculated for at least 30 years (the period of Saturn's conversion). State affairs did not allow Ulugbek to constantly enter into all the subtleties of the work of the observatory. But the fact that astronomy was not for Ulugbek a fleeting whim is proved by his whole life. He constantly patronized his offspring, was the inspiration and scientific leader of all major works.

The first ten years of the observatory's existence was led by Jemshid al-Kashi. After his death, this post was taken by seventy-year-old Kazi-zade Rumi. But six years later, in 1436, Rumi also died. For the observatory came a critical time. Ulugbek even thought about stopping the observations and publishing the tables in an unfinished form, but the young astronomer Samarkandan Ali Kushchi (1402-1474) managed to establish work and persuaded Ulugbek to continue his observations.

Sometimes it is written that after the murder of Ulugbek in 1449, the observatory ceased to exist, and its building was destroyed by religious fanatics. Studies in recent years have shown that this is not so. After Ulugbek, the observatory continued to work for 20 years. Only in 1469, after the assassination of the ruler of Samarkand Abu Said by his son Mirza Sultan Ahmad, the situation of scholars had deteriorated so much that Ali Kushchi with his disciples was forced to leave the observatory and move to Herat, where the first state minister was the outstanding poet of the East and the statesman of Timurid Khorasan Alisher Navoi, which provided patronage and supported materially scientists, thinkers, artists, musicians and poets. Soon the Samarkand astronomer was invited to Istanbul. There he graduated and published the works of the observatory The astronomical tables compiled in the Ulugbek observatory enjoyed deserved fame in the East and for a long time remained unsurpassed in accuracy. In Europe, they were first published in 1650.

The empty building of the observatory stood for many more years and only at the beginning of the 16th century it was dismantled into bricks.

Guri Amir

 "The Tomb of the Emir" is the mausoleum of Tamerlane (Amir Timur) and his family (Timurids) in Samarkand. The family tomb of Timur and the heirs of the empire was erected in the south-western part of the city in 1403. The mosaic, assembled from light and dark blue glazed bricks, decorates the walls and the drum, the geometric mosaic ornament brightly shines in the sun.

This masterpiece of Central Asian architecture occupies an important place in the history of world Islamic architecture. The tomb of the Timurids (it was so since 2009) served as a prototype for the famous monuments of the Mughal era architecture: the Humayun mausoleum in Delhi and the Taj Mahal mausoleum in Agra, built by the descendants of Timur, who at one time were the ruling dynasty of Northern India.

The monument was restored in the 1950s (outer domes and icing), more extensive works on its restoration were started in 1967.

In 2014, by the decision of the Inter parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member States, the list of attractions of the "Pearls of the Commonwealth". The construction of the mausoleum, begun in 1403, was associated with the sudden death of Muhammad Sultan, the direct heir of the Emir Timur (Tamerlane) and his beloved grandson. Completed the construction of Ulugbek, another grandson of Tamerlane.

During the reign of Timur, the mausoleum became the family crypt of the Timurids. In this architectural ensemble are the graves of Timur himself, his sons Shahrukh and Miran Shah, as well as grandsons - Ulugbek and Muhammad Sultan and Timurids Abdullo Mirzo, Abdurahmon Mirzo, teacher and mentor of Timur Mir Said Baraka. On an elevation of a tomb behind a marble fence there is an unknown tombstone of a certain Sufi Sayid Umar. According to T. Saidkulov, this could be sheikh Kulal. In the mausoleum, the son of Abu Said Timurid was also buried and the grandson of the head of the Uzbek ulus of Abulkhayrkhan from the daughter of Khan-hade begim - Sultan Muhammad.

The mausoleum was built in the south-eastern part of medieval Samarkand, erected at the end of the XIV century by the order of Muhammad Sultan. From the composition of the buildings of the ensemble of Muhammad Sultan it follows that he planned the construction of the center of Islamic education, and not the funeral complex. However, later the will of his powerful grandfather gave another meaning to the ensemble, whose center was precisely the mausoleum. By the beginning of the 20th century, only the foundations of the madrassah and khanaka, the portal of the main entrance and part of one of the four minarets have been preserved.

During the reign of Ulugbek a doorway was made to provide access to the mausoleum. Near the grave of Timur were placed marble tombstones of his sons Miran Shah and Shahrukh and his grandsons Muhammad Sultan and Ulugbek. At the same time, a legendary jade plate containing an epitaph appeared on the grave of Tamerlane. In 1871, the military engineer ZE Zizhemsky led the road to the mausoleum of Gur-Emir, which connected this monument with the fortress and began to be built at that time a new city.

In 1941, graves in the crypt were uncovered by the anthropologist Gerasimov, and historical information about the appearance of Timur, about the violent death of Ulugbek, about the authenticity of burial places of other Timurids was confirmed.

In 1916, the vault over the crypt was rebuilt and the stone floors were redone.

In the 1950s, the outer domes and icing were restored.

In 1967, large-scale works were begun to restore the complex.

In 1996, by the 660th anniversary of Tamerlane, two minarets were reconstructed from photographs and dimensional drawings made in the 19th century.

Outwardly Gur-Amir is a single-domed building with a crypt. It stands out for its simplicity and solemn monumental architecture.

The huge ribbed dome dominates (the diameter of the dome is 15 meters, height 12.5 meters), slightly overhanging the cylindrical drum. The lower part of the building represents an octahedron, which is almost hidden by many later additions. To the north is a small portal. The dome and the drum account for more than half of the total height of the building. The dome is covered with a pattern of blue and blue tiles, which also distinguishes its ribbed form. On the drum there are inscriptions containing praises to Allah. The walls of the octahedron are also decorated with white and turquoise tiles on the background of unglazed brick.

Inside at the bottom, the walls are decorated with a marble panel with inserts of green serpentine and friezes of carved inscriptions, and above are painted with blue paint and gold. Relief rosettes on the plafond of the dome imitate the starry sky. Decorative decoration complements openwork grilles on the windows and a marble fence around the tombstones, but they are only a decoration, the real ones are in the basement. In the first years after the death of Amir Timur, the mausoleum was richly decorated with weapons and utensils.

Khoja Daniyar mausoleum, Samarkand

There is hardly a place in the world where a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew would come to pray. But such a place is in Samarkand - this is the grave of Saint Doniyar (Daniel, Daniel).

It is located on the outskirts of Afrasiab, that is in the north-east of Samarkand. A long 5-dome building of the mausoleum stretched on the high cliff of the hill, and the Siab River flows at the foot of the hill. The stretch of the building is directly connected with the tombstone, whose length is 18 meters.

Many legends and hypotheses are associated with this grave. Some claim that the remains were brought here by early Christians, others tend to think that they were ordered to be delivered to Samarkand by the famous medieval ruler Amir Timur (Tamerlane).

There are also disagreements between what is in the grave: some sources say that the hand of Saint Daniel is buried here, others contradict, and argue that only a handful of earth was brought here from the grave of the saint. The third contradiction is related to the identity of the remains, where two persons appear: the first is the prophet Daniel, the second is Khoja Doniyar, an associate of Kusama ibn Abbas (Shahi-Zinda).

There are also stories about the size of the grave. According to one interpretation, the holy relics grow from year to year. Another argues that the grave is made large so that no one can accurately locate the remains of the remains, and steal them.

Be that as it may, this mausoleum, being away from other sights of Samarkand, attracts a huge number of pilgrims from many nations and religions. But it's not necessary to be a believer to feel calm and pacify this place.


Ruhabod mausoleum

Ruhabad- Abode of Spirit is a memorial and cult building of the 14th century in Samarkand, the burial place of the Islamic preacher, theologian and scientist Sheikh Burkhaneddin Klych Sagardji.

The mausoleum of Ruhabad was built by the order of Amir Timur in 1380 over the grave of the Islamic religious figure Sheikh Burkhaneddin Sagardzhi, who became famous for spreading Islam among the nomads of Eastern Turkestan. The time of the burial itself is not known. The Islamic theologian Abu Hafsa Najmeddin Umar in the "Candia" refers to the burial of Sheikh Burkhaneddin Sagardji to the 10th century. According to other sources, the sheikh's grave appeared in Samarkand in 1287 [1]. However, most historians date the burial of the second half of the fourteenth century, based on the testimony of the Arab historian and traveler Ibn Batutta, who visited India and China in the 40s of the 14th century and called Sagardji the head of the Muslim mission in Beijing. Burhaneddin Sagardji enjoyed great influence at the court of the ruling Mongolian Yuan dynasty in China and even was married to the "Chinese princess". He died in China, bequeathing his son Abu Sayid to bury him in Samarkand.

Soon after the construction of the mausoleum, Ruhabad became one of the most revered places of worship in Samarkand. Timur himself, driving past the mausoleum, always dismounted with a horse. Later, south of Rukhabad, he is building a spiritual center on behalf of his grandson Muhammad-Sultan [2], which included the madrassah and the Sufi khanaka, which was connected to the burial vault of Burkhaneddin Sagardji by the "Royal Alley" (Shah-roh). According to legend, Sheikh Burhaneddin owned a copper box in which seven hairs from the beard of the prophet Muhammad were kept and which was immured during construction in the dome of the mausoleum [3]. In addition to Burkhaneddin Sagardzhi, his wife, sons and relatives were later buried in the mausoleum of Rukhabad.

In the following years, the territory around the mausoleum was repeatedly built up. In 1880-1882, near the mausoleum, a quarterly mosque decorated in Chinese style appeared. In the middle of the XIX century on the place of dilapidated buildings, a one-story madrassah, a minaret, and a pool (house) were built. The mosque and the minaret have survived to this day. From the madrassah there is a portal entrance with a pointed arch, flanked by guldasta towers, and gate structures.

Works on strengthening the mausoleum were carried out in the 1950s and in January 2016.

Mausoleum Rukhabad is atypical for the time of Timur's reign construction. The building lacks an entrance portal characteristic of this period, which makes all its facades equivalent. The mausoleum is a single-dome construction of a centric composition with an area of ​​14x12 meters and a height of 24 meters. Its base is a cube, on which there is a transitional arched octahedron with light windows on the main axes. The structure is crowned by a spherical cone. The mausoleum is led by three entrances - from the north, west and south. The decoration of the mausoleum is very ascetic. In its exterior decor the texture of burnt bricks predominates. Only in the framing of arched entrances there are tiles of irrigated carved terracotta. In the interior at the base of the walls there is a two-meter ceramic panel, above which there are insets of glazed tiles in the form of a narrow intermittent ribbon. The rest of the walls, arched sails and dome are covered with alabaster.


Abdi-Darun ensemble

 (Abdu-Darun) is a complex of memorial, cult and spiritual-enlightenment facilities in the Old Cemetery of Samarkand (Republic of Uzbekistan), established in the 12th-20th centuries near the tomb of the famous Islamic jurist of the 9th century Abd-al-Mazeddin. The ancient core of the ensemble is a mausoleum of the XII century, near which at different times were built khanaka, mosque and madrassah. The radical reorganization of the ensemble, which significantly changed its appearance, was carried out in the 15th, 19th and 20th centuries. The Abdi-Darun Ensemble is one of the most revered shrines of Islam in Central Asia.

Islamic jurist Abd-al Mazeddin, better known in Maverannahr as Khodja Abdi, was known as an expert in Sharia and was one of the most respected Kazi in Samarkand. He died about 861 and was buried in the Muslim tradition in the garden of his vast estate, located in the south-eastern part of Samarkand near the fortress wall of the outer city. Regarding the origin of Abd-al-Mazeddin, the sources vary. Abu Tahir-Khoja in his book "Samaria" calls him the son of a certain Khodja Muhammad Yakub and grandson of Khoja Abu ibn Usman. At the same time, the Islamic theologian Abu Hafsa Najmeddin Umar in the "Candia" leads his bloodline to the caliph Usman and, accordingly, to the Prophet Muhammad himself. Probably talking about the relationship of Khoja Abdi with the prophet caused the emergence of his cult.


Abdu-Berun ensemble

This plan, the facade and the section of the Khoja Abdu-Berun memorial complex in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) is contained in the archaeological part of the Turkistan album. A six-photographic photographic study was conducted in 1871-1872. under the leadership of General Konstantin P. von Kaufman, the first governor-general (1867-1882) of Turkestan, as they called the territory of Central Asia, which belonged to the Russian Empire. The album pays special attention to the Islamic architectural heritage of Samarkand. The memorial complex of Khoja Abdu-Berun (khanaka) is dedicated to the Arab judge of the Abdi tribe, revered in the 9th century. The word "Berun" (external) is added to the name to indicate the location of the complex near the cemetery on the outskirts of Samarkand, and also to distinguish it from another complex dedicated to the sage that was located within the city limits. Khanaka was built in the first half of the 17th century by Nadir Diwan-Begi, the vizier of the Bukharian ruler Iman-Kuli Khan. The layout of the ensemble includes a domed mausoleum (mazar), a summer mosque (on the right), a pool with a stream and a separate entrance to the main courtyard. The incision shows that the dome of the mausoleum has a double construction with an internal frame and an outer dome, raised on the cylinder. Also here is the arch of aivan (a vaulted hall with one open end, surrounded on three sides by walls) with a niche and an entrance. In the lower part is a section of the summer mosque. The sections of the stone walls are indicated in red.


Imam al-Bukhari mausoleum

In the village of Hortang  for  (25 km from Samarkand) is one of the most revered places of pilgrimage in Islam - the mausoleum of Imam al-Bukhari.

Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari is a famous theologian, scholar of the hadith (hadithology - the science of hadiths, reports about the statements and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad) and the author of the second most important book after the Qur'an, Al-Jomii al-Saheeh (" collection ").

Imam Al-Bukhari was born in 810 in Bukhara. It is known that his great-grandfather was one of the first who accepted Islam. His father was one of the storytellers of the sacred traditions. When Al-Bukhari was still a child, his father died. Al-Bukhari remained in the care of his mother, who brought him up. She was an educated woman who organized the boy's training in various sciences. Muhammad was perceptive, intelligent, possessed an extraordinary memory for his age. At the age of 7 he studied the entire Koran, at the age of 10 he knew several thousand hadith by heart. In 825 when he was 16 years old, al-Bukhari with his mother and elder brother Ahmed went to Hajj to Mecca and Medina. After the pilgrimage, the mother and her brother returned to Bukhara, and for many years he traveled to various Muslim countries, where he studied with well-known theologians of that time.

According to legend, he collected hundreds of thousands of hadith, 300 thousand of which he knew by heart. In these studies, he spent 42 years of his life. He started writing his book in Basra and continued to write it for many years, which, according to him, included the hadiths from 1080 experts. His book includes 7275 authentic hadiths. The reliability indicator of the hadeeth is the reliability of the transmission channel and each of its links, implying the moral appearance of the transmitter, allowing it to rely on. Al-Bukhari attached particular importance to identifying the persons who served as the source of the transfer. In the "trustworthy" he referred only those hadiths that were told by people who were directly witnesses to the deed of the prophet. Imam al-Bukhari worked on his book for sixteen years.

According to sources it is known that he wrote many more books, among them "Tarihi Kabir" ("The Great History"). After writing "Al-Sahih" he returns to Bukhara, and begins to teach all those who wanted to study, because he believed that collective education of people to literacy will be of great benefit to society. His authority was so high that the hadeeth, unfamiliar to him, became popular among the people as unreliable.

In addition to his will, he came into conflict with the ruler of Bukhara, Tahirid Kholid ibn Ahmad, and was forced to move to the village of Khartang near Samarkand, where he died in 870. The cemetery in the village of Hartang Paiarik fog of Samarkand province has become the most venerated and sacred place for pilgrimage. In the 16th century, near the mausoleum of Imam al-Bukhari, a small mosque was built and plant trees were planted.

In the Soviet period, this sacred place for Muslims was consigned to oblivion, and services were not carried out here. Gradually the mosque was decrepit, but in 1954 it was destined to return to life thanks to the visit of the Indonesian President Sukarno. After a visit to Moscow, President Sukarno arrived in Tashkent and asked him to be allowed to bow to the remains of the holy Imam al-Bukhari. Republican authorities, hearing this, at first were even bewildered, because they had already forgotten who Imam al-Bukhari is and where his grave is. In a hurry, a command was given: immediately send a commission to Samarkand. The authorities could not refuse President Sukarno, because at that time, on the initiative of N.S. Khrushchev, the Soviet Union began to establish international relations with many countries, including the countries of the Islamic East, and therefore the refusal threatened an international scandal. But when the officials came to the scene, they saw an extremely unsightly picture: the mosque was abandoned and on the grave of al-Bukhari there is not even a tombstone. And now, at the command of the high authorities, during the day, the mosque and the adjoining plot, as they could, were put in order, even the asphalt track was hastily put to the mosque. In short, the mosque of Al-Bukhari took President Sukarno. And he, bowing to the grave of the great scientist and honoring his memory, left. Following President Sukarno, the President of Somalia, Madib Keith, arrived in the Soviet Union and also visited Tashkent and asked him to visit the grave of Saint Ismail al-Bukhari. After this, apparently by command from the center, the mosque of Ismail al-Bukhari was transferred to the administration of the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. And since that time the mosque was visited again by the worshipers.

In his opinion, religion and sacred books were created for the moral perfection of man. "No man was created for religion, but religion for man" - this statement was bold for that time. It called for being responsible for peace and order in the world, actively participating in ensuring the prosperity of the country.

The scientist had a large number of followers, disciples. Among them, many statesmen, poets such as Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur, the founder of the Great Mogul state, Dzhanibek Sultan (who subsequently gave him the picturesque Miankal island), representatives of the royal dynasty of the Sheybanids.

It should be noted that visiting these holy places among Muslims is equated with a small Hajj. It's not for nothing that people say: "If Mecca is the heart of the Muslim world, then Samarkand is his head!".

Al-Maturidi mausoleum 

Abu Mansur Muhammad ibn Muhammad (870, near Samarkand - 944, [1] Samarkand) is an Islamic thinker, founder and eponym of one of the schools of kalam-maturidism. Abu Mansour al-Maturidi was born in the city of Maturide near Samarkand. Hanafi fiqh and other religious disciplines were trained in Samarkand.

His teachers are Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Ishaq, Abu Nasr Ahmad ibn al-Abbas (known as al-Faqih al-Samarkandi), Nasr ben Yahya al-Balhi and Muhammad ibn Mukatil al-Razi. Subsequently, al-Maturidi himself taught fiqh and kalam.

He was buried in the cemetery of Chokarduz in Samarkand.

On a number of questions of the Kalam, Maturidi and his followers answered in the same spirit as the Ash'arites: they considered the Qur'an eternal in terms of its meaning and arising in time with respect to the verbal expression of this meaning, believed that the righteous can contemplate Allah in the other world, not clarifying the nature of this vision that all human actions are created by God, and man only appropriates (kybb) them to himself through will and ability, that the essential attributes of Allah (knowledge, power, etc.) are real and eternal. But unlike the Asharites, Maturidi recognized the eternity not only of the essential attributes of God, but also the eternity of the attributes of action; as well as the Mu'tazilites believed that a person has freedom of choice, including a choice between two opposites, that faith consists in the verbal recognition of Allah, and not in religious rites.

 The teachings of al-Maturidi spread among the Hanafites of Maverannahr. Imam Maturidi succeeded in disputes, which led with representatives of various madhhabs both from Samarkand and from its environs. Maturidi entered into discussions with the Karamites, Shiites and Mutazilites, devoting one of his works to refuting their views.



Scientists attribute the beginning of Samarkand to the VIII - VII centuries BC. It was at this time on the northern outskirts of modern Samarkand, the ancient site Afrosiab. The area of ​​the ancient settlement is more than 200 hectares. From the north and east it was protected by cliffs of river channels, from the south and west by deep ravines. It is believed that Afrasiab was the ancient Sogdian capital - the famous Marakanda. The ancient city got its name - Afrosiab in honor of the legendary king of Turan and one of the heroes of the poem of the great Persian poet Firdausi "Shahname".

During the reign of the Persian Empire of the Achaemenids (VI century BC), the city was surrounded by a high massive wall with internal corridors and towers.

The Persian Empire in IV in BC. fell under the onslaught of the army of Alexander the Great. In 329 BC. the Greek phalanx entered Maracanda. The campaign of Macedon to the East was delayed for several years by the uprising of the Sogdians led by Spitamen, during the suppression of which, Alexander destroyed Marakanda. The revival of Sogdiana occurred under the Seleucids.

Now Afrosiab is a huge cluster of lifeless hills. But in the distant past life was boiling here, markets were rustling, craftsmen worked. It is this that explains the close interest of scientists to the site of Afrosiab.

Archaeological research in Afrasiab began in the late 19th century. Archaeological research confirmed that several centuries before the beginning of our era Samarkand was one of the largest shopping and cultural centers of Central Asia.

Samples of clay ornamented dishes, terracotta figurines, fragments of ossuaries, glassware, various tools, women's jewelry, coins were found at the site.

It was found that the city was intersected by straight paved streets and divided into blocks - Guzary, was surrounded by powerful defensive walls, inside of which there was a citadel - Shahristan, temples, apartment houses and craft workshops.

For example, in the opened buildings dating from the 6th and 7th centuries, the walls were decorated with a highly artistic painting executed by bright glue paints on clay plaster. In one of the premises were found original genre paintings, which are located on the walls in three tiers. They depicted the procession of men and women in festive elegant costumes, accompanied by real and fantastic animals, bearing rich gifts.

On the walls of the palace of the ruler of the city was found a large composition depicting a procession, led by a figure on a white elephant, which, apparently, portrayed a princess or a queen. Apparently, this is portrayed a wedding procession, and on the elephant to her groom, the princess is sent to the palace accompanied by her friends and important dignitaries.

Also on Afrosiab was found a large hall, decorated with wooden sculptures, charred from a fire that destroyed the city thirteen centuries ago. During the excavations, bas-reliefs of a landscape character were also found.

In the 9th-10th centuries, when Samarkand became one of the cultural centers of the Islamic East and the first capital of the Samanid dynasty, a magnificent royal palace was built in the western part of Afrasiab. By the 10th century, the inner part of the city had reached 220 hectares. To the south of it was located a suburb with bazaars, mosques, baths and caravanserais. A water pipe from lead pipes "Arsis" was built in the city and paper production was arranged.

In the 11th-13th centuries Samarkand became the capital of the Karakhanid state and was surrounded by new defensive walls. In the citadel the palace of the Karakhanids was erected.

At the beginning of the 13th century Khorezmshah Muhammad seized Samarkand and built a new palace on the site of the Karakhanid palace. In the 13th century, the state of Khorezmshah was conquered by Genghis Khan, Samarkand was captured by the Mongols. During the internecine wars of the second half of the 13th century, Samarkand suffered greatly, and this led to the complete desolation of the ancient settlement on Afrasiab.

Later, Samarkand already developed on the site of the former "rabad" - the urban suburb.

The Museum of the history of the city, located on the site of the ancient settlement Afrosiab, contains exhibits from different periods of the ancient history of Samarkand - ossuaries, remains of ancient blades, knives, arrows, coins, ceramics, and unique frescos discovered during excavations on the site.

After visiting the Museum, you can also wander through Afrosiab, from the height of the hills admire the panorama of the old city, its blue domes and minarets. Here, to the sound of the winds and the rustle of the grass, your thoughts will pass unnoticed into the past ...


The Samarkand Regional Museum of Local History

Museum is located in a picturesque corner of the city, its exposition is in the building of an old mansion, built in the beginning of the 20th century by the project of the famous architect E.O. Nelle. The mansion once belonged to the merchant of the 1st guild Abram Kalantarov.

 The interior decoration of the building combines European and Central Asian styles. The construction and decoration of the mansion was carried out by famous masters: Usto Hafiz, Usto Kamol, Usto Sodik, Usto Shamsi and others. Particularly bright and picturesquely decorated mehmonhona - living room. There is a magnificent carved wooden ceiling, painted with oil, the walls are decorated with ganch carvings in the style of "Pardozos". The elegant lace of the ganche grilles of the Punjar is perfectly combined with the bright stained-glass windows ... Such eclecticism corresponded to the tastes of the owner of the house, one of the recognized leaders of the community of Bukharian Jews of Samarkand.

 Unique decoration and elegance are the ovens, decorated with ceramic tiles, in the decoration of some halls remained elegant wallpapers and suspended ceilings. In the interiors of the mansion it is interesting to combine oriental and European styles. All the rooms are arranged in a row, forming enfilade.

The exposition of the museum is represented by two departments: history and nature.


The State Museum of the History of Culture of Uzbekistan

Mseum is part of the structure of the Samarkand State Unified Historical, Architectural and Art Museum. It is one of the oldest museums in Uzbekistan, founded in 1896.

During the existence of the museum, its funds include tens of thousands of unique exhibits of special cultural and historical value. The structure of the Museum of History and Culture of Uzbekistan in Samarkand includes five thematic departments: history department, art department, permanent and traveling exhibitions department and department of archeology, ethnography, fine arts, numismatics and marketing department.

It stores the jewelry of the Bronze Age, Zoroastrian ossuary and cult items, VIII century chess, several thousand original paintings of outstanding Uzbek artists of the early XX century, and the tragically famous film of M. Kayumov "The autopsy of the tomb of Amir Timur", shot on the eve of World War II in 1941 year.

The museum has a good collection of ancient and medieval ceramics, metal and glass, and also a ganch decoration. About 30 thousand coins have been collected in the numismatics fund of the Museum of the History of Culture of Uzbekistan not only from the first states of the Central Asian region, but also from the Black Sea region, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Among the rare exhibits are three silver bowls of V-VI centuries, found in the Samarkand village of Chelek.

The ethnographic collection represents about 20 thousand items of national clothes, gold embroidery products, carpets, mostly XIX-XX centuries. Here you can see chased knives and metal utensils, mostly Samarkand folk masters. The Samarkand museum and the globe of Khojia Yusuf Mirfayazov's Khojent enlightener of the XIX century are proud.

From 1978 to 2010 The Museum of the History of Culture of Uzbekistan in Samarkand was located in a specially constructed building on the famous Registan Square. Since 2010, the government decided to move the museum to Ulugbek Street. For several years the museum was under repair and on September 1, 2014 the grand opening of the renovated museum building took place.


The Cathedral of St. Alexis of Moscow

On October 15, 2016, 100 years will pass from the day when a significant event took place in Samarkand, namely, the consecration of the military council in the name of St. Alexius the Moscow Miracle Worker took place.

Initially, this majestic temple was conceived as the main military council of the city, with the aim of holding in it all the major church holidays and Tsarist days with parades of troops of the entire Samarkand garrison. Even before the consecration, the Holy-Alexi Cathedral was received from the Highest Assignment under the high protection of the Heir to the Tsar's throne Nikolayevich Romanov.

But, much of what was planned and planned in those years did not come true. First the war of 1914, and then the revolution of 1917 completely changed the course of events. What was that time? Now we can only guess at this from the surviving historical information and memoirs. By that day, when the cathedral was consecrated, for two years now the Russian Empire was at war, and for this reason the entire military contingent of the troops of the Samarkand garrison was absent, in addition to that in 1916 a rebellion of local residents broke out in Turkestan. The Empire was on the verge of collapse. In the minds and souls of many people of that time there was confusion.

St. Alexis Cathedral was the last building in the series of Orthodox churches of the tsarist time erected in Turkestan.


The Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist in Samarkand

The Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist in Samarkand was built in 1915 at a time when a large number of prisoners of war, Poles, Hungarians and Austrians arrived in the city.

They sent a request to the mayor's office for permission to build, and soon a majestic church building appeared in Samarkand. However, after the Communist coup in 1917, the church was closed and the building was used for other purposes.

The government of independent Uzbekistan proclaimed freedom of religion, and Catholics were able to restore the church. In 1995, at the initiative of priest John Roloff, a Catholic parish was registered in Samarkand, which in 1997 was transferred to the church of St. John the Baptist.

 In March 1999, the consecration of the church took place, and since that time everyone has the opportunity to hear the Mass in Nanetzic, English and Russian languages.

The architecture of the Catholic Church evolved in the Romanesque style. The church resembles a fortress with massive, thick stone walls and fortifications. The Catholic Church was built in two architectural styles: Classicism and Baroque. Inside the building there is an altar, a huge icon from the floor to the ceiling, and a huge crucifix. There is a sculpture of Christ, the Mother of God.

Religion is the embodiment of tradition. The creation of the Church is the first great work of Christian architecture. The development of church architecture began almost immediately after the victory of Christianity over paganism.

The architecture of the churches of Western countries has become the canon of architecture in general. The latest tendencies of architecture initially tried to build a church, and then used in the designs of various institutions.

The architecture of Christian churches should consist of two main buildings: an extensive hall for the assembly of believers, and aside from the entrance there is the space of the altar where worship is performed.

Armenian church

In Samarkand, the Armenian cultural and national center was opened at the Armenian church of St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God. The Armenian church of Samarkand, opened in 1903, was nationalized in 1933. During almost the entire Soviet period, various secular institutions were stationed here. The Armenian community was not returned to the church until 1996. After this, a clergyman was sent to Samarkand from Etchmiadzin.

According to the news agency, the new cultural center will assist Samarkand Armenians in learning their native language. "The incentive for representatives of the diasporas to enrich the vocabulary will be the most rated programs of Armenian television, for which the satellite dishes of the center are tuned," Ferghana news agency reported. In Samarkand today there are about 12 thousand Armenians.

According to the information of the encyclopedia of the Ayazg Foundation, the Church of the Holy Mother of God was built in 1903 with the funds of Samarkand Armenians - the descendants of Armenian artisans, whom Tamerlan transported from the conquered Armenia in the 15th century. The first rector of the church was the priest Father Ruben Bekgulyants, who made the greatest contribution to the project of building a church. In 1905, the school opened a school.

The Church of the Holy Mother of God and the parish school continued to function in Soviet times: they baptized and crowned, sang the deceased and celebrated all church holidays, taught children of Armenian history and culture. However, in 1933 the church was closed to worship. In 1991, at the request of Samarkand Armenians, the apostle of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Vazgen I sent priests Ter-Artak and Ter-Avetis to Samarkand. Thanks to them, the Armenians baptized the children again, the ceremonies of weddings and funeral services were held in the church, religious holidays were celebrated, and the priests acquainted local Armenians with the canons of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which helped the Samarqandians to join the life and traditions of their historical homeland. On the bell tower of the church on May 23, 1995, the cross was again installed and the bells were suspended. The solemn ceremony of re-consecration and the opening of the only Armenian church in Central Asia took place on August 20 of the same year. Since then, Surb Astvatsatsin again fulfills its functions, becoming the spiritual home of Armenians in the whole region.




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