The ancient city of Shahrisabz which is near to Samarkand was built almost three thousand years ago. This place is famous for the birth of the great commander Amir Temur, better known to the world under the name of Tamerlan. The historic center of Shahrisabz is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is carefully preserved to keep its original form.
The most significant construction in the city is Ak-Saray, the ruins of once beautiful Amir Timur’s palace. In memory of his birthplace, Tamerlan laid a huge palace, of which only ruins remained, but even they impress with their dimensions and remind of the construction’s former greatness.
There are many legends about the palace’s construction, and it’s impossible to either confirm or deny them. They glorify the justice of Tamerlan and the wisdom of the architects. One legend says that the chief architect, knowing about Tamerlan’s order to speed up the work, was afraid to go against his wishes and therefore ran away, chaining the main archways of the palace. The ruler’s anger was intense, but there was no other craftsman whose level was equal to that of the chief architect. After a while, the chief architect returned and explained to the ruler that he had gone into hiding for a while until the foundation of the grand structure settled. This is what the chain was for – it sagged enough, so now it became possible to resume work. Instead of punishing the chief architect, Tamerlan thanked him.
Abdulla, the Khan of Bukhara, destroyed many architectural structures of the great commander’s legacy in the late XVI century. As legend has it, Abdullah Khan, on his way to Shahrisabz, saw the walls of Ak-Saray and, trying to reach them, drove his horse to death, as the palace was so majestic and tall that it seemed to be very close. It hurt Khan’s ego so much that he ordered to destroy everything built during Temur’s rule in Shahrisabz.
The construction of the summer palace lasted more than two decades. The palace itself consisted of several yards paved with white slabs; the walls were decorated with golden and azure patterns.
A huge swimming pool was arranged on the roof of the palace, which still stirs up architects’ minds with its scale. And the dimensions of the entire residence can be judged by the calculations of the building’s residual structures. For comparison, the central courtyard alone was about 122 meters wide and 245-250 meters long, and the height of the main portal could reach 65-70 meters.
Today, the restoration of the attraction is carried out with particular intensity. Massive 40-meter high gates with separate fragments of stunning mosaics and unique masonry have been preserved.
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