There are a lot of places in Central Asia that are intended to be visited by saints many ages ago. There are two famous mausoleums: the Mausoleum of Ismail Samani and the Mausoleum of Chashma Aub that have been built during the reign of Amir Temur. Other relics are the Ensemble Gaukushon at the Khodja-Kalon mosque, the Lyab-i Hauz ensemble and Baha-ud-Din Naqshband complex.
One of the most impressive examples of solicitous attitude to landmarks in Uzbekistan is the Ensemble Hazret Imam that was built in XVI century. Due to frequent earthquakes, wars and in the course of time most of the ensemble buildings lost their decoration. In 2007, after restoration of some ancient buildings and construction new ones, it has got a new look keeping its charm and majesty.
There is a big ancient cemetery with the group of mausoleums Shah-i-Zinda and the well-known grave of Kussam-ibn-Abbas, the cousin of the prophet Muhammad located on the northern outskirts of Samarkand, on the hill of Afrosiyab. The Ensemble Shah-i-Zinda has been forming for 9 centuries and comprises more than 20 buildings of XI-XIV and XIX centuries. At present, there are only preserved foundations and tombstones of the ancient buildings referred to the XI-XII centuries. Mausoleums have a turquoise and dark-blue decorations with a floral pattern.
The title Shah-i-Zinda (“alive king”) refers to a legend, which tells that the cousin of prophet Muhammad, Kusam Ibn Abbas, came to Samarkand with a small army to spread Islam. As a result of heathens’ attack he was wounded by an arrow but could survive and hide from non-believers in a split in a rock (according to another version, in a well) where he still lives.Therefore, the grave of Kusam ibn Abbas has the greatest popularity among the other buildings of the ensemble. The room for pilgrims was decorated later in a neo-Russian and modern style. This is due to the fact that the Arab graves were not decorated with colored tiles and murals in ancient times.
Shah-i-Zinda is the only one archeological landmark in Uzbekistan with almost 25-century history.
Moreover, in the south-western part of Samarkand in 1404 was built a family tomb of Amir Temur and heirs of his empire. Its walls were decorated with a mosaic ornament of light and blue glazed bricks, that amazingly shine under the lights of the sun.This masterpiece of Central Asian architecture plays a major role in the history of the world Islamic architecture. The Burial vault of the Timurids has become a prototype for such popular architecture monuments of the Great Moguls era as the Mausoleum of Khumoun in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Both of them are built by descendants of Timur, who once ruled in Northern India.
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