Samarkand can be hardly mentioned without remembering one the most outstanding figures of the Middle Ages – Amir Temur. During his rule Samarkand reached its greatness and became the capital of Temurids Empire. Despite the will to bury him in his town of origin – Shakhrisabz, the Providence had another plans and defined Samarkand as final shelter for the great emir.
His mausoleum of Gur Emir (from Persian “Tomb of Emir”) is astonishing with its massive form, unusual decoration style and inexpressible atmosphere. All the talks get silent inside it.
Pretentious complex was built under Temur order in the beginning of 15th century. According to the traditions of those times, there is centralized khonako with a hall, khudjras (cells) and a typical small madrasah with an inner yard in front of it named after favorite grandchild of Amir Temur – Muhammad Sultan. It was supposed that it will function as educational institution and children of local aristocracy would be studying there. The mausoleum itself soon became family burial place of the whole Tamerlan clan.
The occasion for the mausoleum building is quite sad – unexpected death of Amir Temur’s favorite Muhammad Sultan during military campaign. This event changed the flow of the history of Temur’s empire as the honorable role of successor to the throne used to be Muhammad’s. At those times, no one could suppose that in some three year Tamerlan the Great would find piece inside this famous complex as well. Another memorable person for world civilization – Mirzo Ulugbek — is buried here too.
History of Gur Emir is not only symbol of love and loss memory of which passes through times but there is an ominous legend connected with it. It is opening of the grave of the Great Amir in 1941. This year in human history is remembered as the beginning of the Great Patriotic War in the USSR when the country entered the World War II in which almost all countries took part. This event affected each family. According to the legend, the opening of the grave became the reason for this war as the “spirit of the war” was bothered.
Autopsy results proved that indeed remains Temur himself, his sons – Mironshokh and Shokhrukh, grand children – Muhammad Sultan and Ulugbek were buried in the burial-vault. Using this data M.Gerasimov, an anthropologist, could even reproduce portraits of the members of the family.
Inner decoration of Gur Emir fascinates – domed ceiling and walls are laid with glazed mosaic of different shades of blue – from dark as the night to light as day sky. As the result, a unique ornament of geometrical form is shaped, shining beauty of which is especially vivid under sun rays.
This creation of Middle Ages architects of the East is a part of outstanding buildings in Islamic architectural style, being a model for further buildings of Temurid epoch of Mogols including Tadj-Mahal of Agra.