Historic Centre of
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The historic centre of Shakhrisyabz contains a collection of exceptional monuments and ancient quarters which bear witness to the city's secular development, and particularly to the period of its apogee, under the rule of Amir Temur and the Temurids, in the 15th-16th century.
Tamerlane (1336-1405), also known as Ahmed ibn Arabshah, was a Turkic ruler and conqueror, one of the greatest military campaigners in history, whose far-flung expeditions carried him from southern Russia to India, and from Central Asia to Turkey.
|Shakhrisabz, the birthplace of Tamerlane, 160 km from
Samarkand, is located in a small valley, surrounded by the foothills of
the Pamir mountains. It was only a small town at the time of Tamerlane,
but at his behest, his descendants continued the development of
Shakhrisabz long after his death.
He was named Timur at birth; to this was later added Lang, meaning "lame" in Persian. The name Timur Lang became, in European usage, Tamerlane (or Tamburlaine). Tamerlane was a member of the tribe of Barlas, Mongols who had accompanied 13th-century Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan and his sons on conquests of Central Asia.
The tribe of Barlas settled in Transoxiana (roughly corresponding to present-day Uzbekistan) after these conquests and adopted the local Turkic tongue, as well as the religion of Islam.
After reportedly preparing a massive invasion of China, Tamerlane died in 1405 near Otrar, in present-day Kazakhstan. Tamerlane’s empire began to break apart immediately after his death. He was buried in Samarqand, and his mausoleum, the Gur-e Amir, is one of Samarqand's great architectural monuments. Tamerlane built many spectacular palaces and mosques, the most celebrated of which are in Samarqand.
Although he was notorious for his cruelty in war and for the many atrocities committed by his armies, Tamerlane was also a lover of scholarship and the arts. His dynasty, the Timurids, which ruled Transoxiana and Iran until the early 16th century, was noted for its patronage of Turkish and Persian literature. One of his descendants, Babur, founded the Mughal Empire of India in 1526. Tamerlane’s scribes detailed his campaigns in an account known as the Zafar Nama, or Book of Victory. His lasting fame is reflected in English playwright Christopher Marlowe's powerful poetic drama Tamburlaine the Great (1587). Tamerlane is a national hero in Uzbekistan.
Sources and links:
World Cultural Heritage Properties in Uzbekistan (on this web site). For more information about the individual properties, please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Uzbekistan-section.
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Revised 21 jul 2006