The Historic Center of Shakhrisyabz was listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 2000. The monuments in the city were built during the Timurid Empire. The town was the birthplace of Amir Timur, who was a great leader of the Timurid Empire. He built the town in grandeur and elegant architecture and made it the second capital of his extensive empire. The town is home to the renowned Ak-Saray Palace, which was built as a massive and stylish complex of public and residential buildings. The decorations of the palace have been preserved although partly ruined over time.
The Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz, located on the Silk Roads in southern Uzbekistan, is over 2000 years old and was the cultural and political centre of the Kesh region in the 14th and 15th century.
A collection of exceptional monuments and ancient quarters can be found within the medieval walls, parts of which still remain. The Historic Centre of Shakhrisabz bears witness to the city’s secular development and to centuries of its history, and particularly to the period of its apogee, under the empire of Temur, in the 15th century. Construction of elements continued in Shakhrisyabz throughout different time periods, lending a unique character to the place by the succession of different architectural styles. Despite the inroads of time, the remaining vestiges are still impressive in the harmony and strength of styles, an enriching addition to the architectural heritage of Central Asia and the Islamic world.
The Ak-Sarai Palace construction began in 1380, the year following Temur's conquest of Khorezm, whose artisans were deported to work on the palace and provide its rich decoration. Although Samarkand may boast a great many Temurid monuments, not one can rival the Ak-Sarai Palace in Shakhrisyabz. The foundations of its immense gate have been preserved: this architectural masterpiece is outstanding in its dimensions and bold design.
The Dorus Saodat is a vast complex which was destined as a place of burial for the ruling family and contained, in addition to the tombs themselves, a prayer hall, a mosque, and accommodation for the religious community and pilgrims. The main façade was faced with white marble. The tomb of Temur, also of white marble, is a masterpiece of the architecture of this period and it is also one of the finest memorials to be found in Central Asia.
The covered Chor-su bazaar was built at the cross-roads of two main streets, in the form of an octagon with a central cupola, with no particular decoration but with an eye to the exterior effect of bold architecture. The baths, rebuilt on the site of the 15th century baths and still in use today, are heated by an elaborate network of underground conduits.
Shakhrisyabz contains not only outstanding monuments dating from the period of the Temurids, but also mosques, mausoleums, and entire quarters of ancient houses.
In addition to these monuments, the town also offers a variety of interesting constructions of a more modern period, including the Mirhamid, Chubin, Kunduzar, and Kunchibar mosques. Period houses reflect a more popular architectural style, with rooms typically laid out around a courtyard with veranda.
Must see places in Shakhrisabz
Dar Us-Sadat Complex
The complex arose after the death of the eldest son of Amir Temur, Jahangir (1376), whose mausoleum has dome ceiling in the shape of a cone. The complex is located to the east of the complex Dar – ut – tilavat. In the past, both complexes formed a single complex and were part of the main Shakhrisabz necropolis. In the mausoleum there is the tombstone (sagan) Jahangir.
According to other versions the mausoleum was erected in honor of the saint Hazrat- i- Imam. The complex is also famous for the tomb of Amir Temur. It is assumed that the tomb of Umar-Shaykhis in this area. The gravestones plate of the grandson of Tamerlane- Sa’id Ahmad-which is discovered near here suggests that the necropolis was the burial place of Temurids and the aristocracy of the Barlas genus, from which Amir Temur originated.
Mausoleum Gumbaz-i Sayyidan was built in 1437 by the order of the famous Mirzo Ulugbek (1394 - 1449), the grandson of Tamerlane. The tomb along with other buildings is a single and unique memorial and architectural complex of the Dar- ut – tilavat. It is adjacent to the mausoleum of Shams al – Din Kulala.(d.1368) from the south and on their appearance and the outer decoration recalls the architectural monuments of the Ulugbek built in the necropolis of Shah –I Zinda in Samarkand.
Gumbaz- I Sayyidan crypt was built for family members of Termez branch of Sayyids (descendants of the Prophet). The interior of the mausoleum is decorated with floral ornaments. Inside the Gumbaz-I Sayyidan shrine there are gravestone socle plates of large size with inscriptions.
Kusam – Ata Ensemble
It is located 15 km to north – west of Karshi, in the village Pudina and is considered as one of the centers of Sufi Yasaviya brotherhood in the Karshi oasis. According to the legend Kusam – ata was one of the spiritual teachers of Bahouddin Naqshband. The ensemble consists of several buildings – the mosque, mausoleum, rooms for pilgrims (ziarat - khana), three gates and the tomb. The buildings of the necropolis were built at different time – from 9th to 19th centuries.
The central place in the mausoleum of Kusam –ata, which was rebuilt several times. Epigraphic monuments of the complex are funeral inscriptions and fragments of architectural inscriptions. Carved tombs are out of gray marble, dating back to 15th -16th centuries and placed in the mausoleum of the medulla to the right at the entrance to the northern courtyard. On the wall of ziyrat – khana, next to the mausoleum of Iskhaq ata fragments of gravestones of brown color with the inscription on it are installed. The fragment presumably dates from the 14th century. It applied the formula of Monotheism (Kalima-i tawheed).
Outstanding monument of the epoch of Tamerlane and Temurids. Oksaray was built on the orders of Tamerlane after this campaign against Khorezm. The construction started approximately in 1379. Two separate pillars of the entrance portal, whose height is more than 40 m currently survived.
The arch portal collapsed about 200 years ago. The well is 22.5 m. The entire surface of the northern façade is decorated with mosaic ornaments. Splendid composition of geometric patterns of various colors imitates oriental rugs. Under the plan Oksaray was an elongated rectangular building with the size of the yard 120-125x240-250m. According to the Spanish ambassador Clavijo, it was a three-part building, which consisted of an administrative part, the reception room and garden courtyard of two-storey premises for habitation. Eloquent poetry and prose texts made with sulsi, naksh, kufic scripts and plotted on different parts of the portal Oksaray. They captured the maximums of imperial power and the blessings of the governor for his subjects and for the benefit of his possessions, state about the passing of power.