Karshi was founded as a populated area in the VII century BC, so today it is over 2700 years old. Up to now the city came over good and bad days, in the IV centuryBC Alexander the Great invaded the city and wondered by the patriotic movements of citizens.
The city till the XIV century called Nakshab or Nasaf was renamed as Karshi which means ‘fortification’ in Turkish after Amir Temur ordered to build a fortified palace in 1364. From this era the city started to develop culturally, economically, agriculturally and faced a noticeable increase during the reign of the Sheibanids. The majority of the historical monuments were built in these centuries: the Madrassah Odina was the only madrassah for women, built in the 16th cent. near to the Khan’s palace. Here are several 300 years-old mosques, such as Magzon, Kilichboy, Kok-Gumbaz. And the antique bath-houses – hammoms, heated by one candle, are most visited places by many tourists.
One more amazing place in Karshi is the brick bridge constructed in the XVI century upon the river Kashkadarya. With 8 meters width and 5 meters height over the river the bridge is 120 meters long. In and around the city there are a lot of sardobas – a special construction for keeping water in the dry areas – mainly they were domed, due to water shortage people used to dig deep wells as well, and sometimes they were in depth of 90-100 meters (villaga Kamuk).
SHAKHRISABZ – TAMERLANE’S HOMETOWN
The Green City – Great Temur’s hometown
Althoug it is difficult to believe looking at its picturesque modern appearance Shahrisabz is one of the ancient cities of Uzbekistan whose age is about 2700 years. It was named as Kesh before and used to be the capital of ancient Sogd, center of culture, trade and handicrafts. According to the archeological findings, it was also the core of Hellinistic culture brought by conquer Alexander the Great. In the VIII century it was the center of anti-Arab movement and rebellion.
The city is more famous for being hometown of Great Temurlane. He ordered to build a marvelous palace – Ak-Saray (White Palace), which has been preserved till now. At this time the name Kesh was changed into Shahrisabz, which means “green city” in Persian
AK-SARAY PALACE, SHAKHRISABZ
Constructed in a quarter of century, Ak-Saray monument was built by order of Great Amir Temur. He wanted to erect very grandiose and magnificent palace on the north-eastern part of his hometown.
Centuries ago the castle used to be unequal in beauty about which the Spanish historian Ruy Gonzalez Clavijo passing through Shahrisabz, noted the charm and architectural magnificence of the palace in detail. Although in 1404 the palace was unfinished yet the ambassador was astonished by artistic view of the monument.
In the construction of Ak-Saray a number of masters from Khorezm worked for years. On the inscriptions of the arch Iranian master’s name Muhammad Yusuf Tabriziy was twice repeated.
According to several historical sources, the palace was extremely impressive: the main courtyard was 120-125 meters wide and 250 meters long; the entrance portal used to be 50 m wide while the arch was 22.5 m, as the largest one in Central Asia. Another thing to note, there was a pool on the roof, from where an artificial fall was created. However, today we may see only the remnants of the building without the arch.
At night in the lunar beams the palace shines brightly, therefore it was named as Ak-Saray – White Palace.
DOR-UT TILOVAT ENSEMBLE, SHAKHRISABZ
In honour of the Sheikh Shamsiddin Kulol, who was one of the prominent religious leaders of that time, spiritual mentor of Amir Taragay and Amir Temur, tutor of Bahouddin Nakshbandi, during 1370-1371 Dor ut-Tilovat memorial complex was constructed by Amir Temur. Sooner it became popular reverencing place for his disciples and followers.
After the tomb of the founder of Sufism the Do rut-Tilovat Madrasah is situated, in one of the rooms of it the grave of Amir Taragay was transferred. With the order of Amir Temur sheikh’s tomb was faced with onyx marble. Later during the reign of Mirzo Ulugbek a domed mausoleum was constructed over the tomb. In 1435 opposite the mausoleum the Ko’k Gumbaz (Blue Dome) mosque was erected creating a beautiful ensemble.
Two years later in 1437-1438 Ulugbek ordered to build a family burial vault for Timurid descendants next to the southern wall of Shamsiddin Kulal’s mausoleum.
The Dor ut-Tilovat complex was formed during XIV-XV centuries including the mausoleum, a madrasah and makbarat or burial vault of Ulugbek.
AMIR TIMUR’S CRYPT, SHAKHRISABZ
In 1943 an unexpected discovery of a crypt built for Amir Temur happened. A child playing football came across a bunker.
The wooden door brings into the room where quotations from Koran were written on the arches that means “The Supremacy belongs to Allah alone”. He is Eternal”, “All Good is Allah’s hands, He is Almighty”.
There is a marble sarcophagus in the center of the room which is covered with monolithic marble gravestone. It is 11 centimeters thick and 5 iron rings were attached in the center and each corner of the stone. Encryptions about Amir Temur’s life were inscribed on the stone, therefore scientists presumes that it was constructed for him.
DOR-US SIYODAT, SHAKHRISABZ
Jahongir and Omar Sheikh Mausoleum in Shakhrisabz
One more pilgrimage destination in Shahrisabz is Dor us-Saodat memorial complex. The monument, at first, was founded for the whole Timurid dynasty. Untimely death of Temur’s eldest son – Jahongir Mirzo caused to build dynasty burial vaults.
His body was moved from Samarkand to Shakhrisabz, homeland of forefathers. Aafter some years erection of the mausoleum for prince was begun with the order of Temur, he called the best architects, craftsmen and masters from Khorezm. On the both sides of the façade burial vaults and new khazira were built for Jahongir and other descendants.
In 1393-1394 Temur’s second son Omar Sheikh Mirzo was killed in siege of the fortress of Kurd in Iran, he was also buried in Dor us-Siyodat Mausoleum.
The grave built for Amir Temur remained empty, because he was buried in Gur Emir in Samarkand.
In XVI century the buildings of Dor us-Siyodat were destroyed by the military forces of Sheibanid Abdullakhan II. Only Jahongir’s mausoleum was preserved. In the middle of XIX century Khazrati Imam mosque was erected with a painted aiwan and domed hall.
KOK GUMBAZ, SHAKHRISABZ
Kok Gumbaz Mosque
In the Dor ut-Tilovat Memorial Ensemble, particularly opposite the mausoleum of Sheikh Shamsiddin Kulal the largest mosque of Shakhrisabz – Ko’k Gumbaz was built. According to the inscriptions of the portal it was erected by the order of Mirzo Ulugbek in honor of his father Shohruh Mirzo.
As an enormous blue dome was put over the mosque building it was called as “Ko’k Gumbaz” which means “Blue Dome”. Around the dome the following words were inscribed: “Sovereignty belongs to Allah, wealth belongs to Allah”
The inner part of the mosque is almost square and there are four deep niches marked the each side of the earth. The wall showed the examples of ganch stucco ornaments which were painted in dark and light blue.