SHAKHI-ZINDA – TWENTY-FIVE CENTURIES OF SAMARKAND HISTORY

“…Outside Samarkand there is a grave of Kusama ibn Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib – let Allah be glad with Abbas and his son! – who fell during conquest of this town. Every Monday and Friday townspeople visit this grave,” — wrote Ibn Battuta, a great traveller. When he came to Samarkand, he saw the ruins neatly covered with blossoming gardens of this great town. 1с Even damaged view of mysterious Shakhi-Zinda – streets of the mausoleums made considerable impression on the traveller. Should there be mentioned about us, ordinary people, who cross the gates and walk along medieval path, a time machine that brings us two and a half thousand years back. 5с

11 burial-vaults of honored people of town of Samarkand are still there today, they had been built one next to another at 14-15 centuries. However, remains of more ancient mausoleums aged back to 11-12 century were found during archeological digs on the eastern part of ancient settlement of Afrosiab. This indicated that overall length of complex formation is 9 centuries. Long history, elegant ornament of sky-blue and aquamarine colors – the complex got its significance by right and in 2001 was included in UNESCO Heritage. 2с Harmony is a word invented for Shaki-Zinda. All the constructions are located in ideal composition from any point of view. This amazing geometry is astonishing. Despite being located near «rabat» and modern highway, the necropolis exists separately from the town, isolated. In ancient times, pilgrimage to Shaki-Zinda was equal to pilgrimage to the Mekka. This complex has been forming for almost one thousand years as a mosaic, history of architecture, local art directions and schools of almost whole Maveranakhr and craft of oversees masters can be studied here. Initially, it was a grave of associate of the Prophet – Mukhammed Kusam ibn Abbas, one of the first Muslim preachers in Middle Asia. During the battle for Samarkand with the unfaithful, all people who sicked for shelter and safe in a mosque were killed and for Kusama ibn Abbas a portal to another dimension opened, a «mikhrab», a niche for prayers. According to the legend, «Alive King» is still alive and will come back to the earth in the end of times. 3с When walking along necropolis paths, you can hardly not to admire variety of shapes and ornaments on the walls – masters in art were very creative in decoration. Relief terracotta facing covered with blue glaze that lines side pillars and decorative panels with fine plan ornament is striking. Each element of mosaic was carved in advance from plates of kashin, special white and yellow clay mass. Symbols here can be examined all days long. And try to guess the messages left for us by the masters of ancient times. Then, go down a high ladder leading back to the modern world. Don’t forget to count the steps! If the amount is the same as the one counted when you were getting up, it means that catharsis is successful and ablution happened. Shakhi-Zinda blessed you… 4с