Gur-Emir Mausoleum

In the 14th century Samarkand rose in its southern suburb (rabad). Amir Temur (1336-1405), the ruler of Western Chagatay Ulus, made it his capital. The Great Temur formed a huge empire from India to the Mediterranean. Samarkand became a symbol of his new empire, where he started unprecedented construction works. New architecture with huge portals, high blue domes and refined majolica must have competed against Eurasian capitals and meant the birth of the Central Asian imperial style. Amir Temur died before his grandiose Chinese campaign and was buried in Gur-Emir Mausoleum. The mausoleum was built for Temur’s grandson Muhammad-Sultan (1376–1403). The mother of the young prince came from Chingizid kin and was a granddaughter of Uzbek-khan. At an early age Muhammad-Sultan showed himself as a bright personality and was officially  appointed Amir Temur’s successor.

Due to the tragic events Temur’s successor died while his grandfather was the alive and the grieving ruler decided to bury him in the center of Samarkand. For a burial place he chose a complex with a madrasah and a khanaka, named after Muhammad-Sultan (only parts of the foundations are still there). At the southern wall an underground stone crypt was built where the young prince’s body was buried. Very soon Amir Temur himself was laid there to rest. Later the remains of Seyid Berke, Amir Temur’s spiritual teacher were also reburied there. The octahedral mausoleum with a ribbed dome was finished in the time of the rule of another of Temur’s grandsons, Mirzo Ulugbek. At that time there were built the eastern gallery and the southern funeral premises. It is still a mystery exactly when another  remarkable cleric – who is considered to be  Seyid Omar, son of Bukhara sheikh Amir Kulyal – was buried in Gur-Emir.


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© Marakanda Expedition, 2017 .