Shakhrisabz Travel Blog› entry 379 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)
Having had a pretty good look around Samarkand the previous day, we decided to take a day trip to the town of Shakhrisabz, located 90km to the South. The town holds great historical significance within Central Asia, as this is where Amir Timur was born on 9 April 1336. Timur would follow in the footsteps of Jenghiz Khan, unifying much of the region under his brutal rule.
The taxi journey took around 90 minutes and crossed the scenic Takhtakaracha Pass (1788m), before descending to the town of Kitab. Before setting off we had asked, confirmed and finally reconfirmed that the driver would take us all the way to Shakhrisabz, which was a further 10km down the road and he had promised us that he would.
The first place we stopped to look around at was Ak Saray Palace, which acted as Timur's Summer Palace. The grounds used to be massive, but all that is left today is a part of the 40 metre high crumbling gate. On what would have been the entry, there were still colourful mosaic tiles, which were in reasonably good condition. What used to be the centre of the Palace, now contains a huge statue, where wedding parties were gathering for photographs. Seeing the distance between the ruins and the statue and then doubling it to get the size that the Palace would have been, really put the place into perspective.
After eating a hot dog and watching the newly weds parade around, we walked South through the town, passing a small mosque and bazaar on the way. Ten minutes later we arrived at the impressive blue domed Kok Gumbaz Mosque, which had some pretty interior decorations. Just across from the Mosque was the Mausoleum of Sheikh Shamseddin Kulyal and Gumbazi Seyidan, another Mausoleum that was built by Ulugbek, Timur's grandson.
Located just a hundred metres to the back of this complex was the Khazrati-Imam Complex, which had been built by Timur in 1392. Taking centre stage of what remains is the Tomb of Jehangir, one of Timur's sons. Next to this is an underground crypt, which had been built to house Timur's remains. The corpse never made it this far though, as when his body was been transported back from the Chinese border, where he died, they encountered bad weather in the mountains where we had crossed earlier in the day and thus they had to lay him to rest in Samarkand.
It had made for an interesting day out, but i was pleased that we hadn't budgeted any more time, as we had only needed a couple of hours to have a decent look at the worthwhile attractions. We caught a van back to Kitab and just managed to get in a taxi to Samarkand, as the heavens opened.
In the evening we enjoyed sitting around with a bunch of other travellers at Bahodir, including Andrew from England, Joss from Scotland and Sam from Belgium. We drank some beers and chatted about all kinds of things, including our terrible experiences in the embassies, pursuing our visas for onward travel! The following day we packed up our gear and caught a marshrutka to the train station and from here we moved on to Bukhara.