AQ-Sarai Plalace

The whole grandiose construction of the palace was remarkable for its decoration. According to Claviho, masters continued working on the decoration of Aq-Sarai during his stay in the palace. The name of the master of facing Yusuf Tebrizi remained on the mosaic plait of the portal. According to the words of Claviho, the reception halls “were painted in gold and azure blue, covered with tiles and ceilings were all gilded”. He accepted that the job was worthy of “… surprise, even in Paris, the town of skilled craftsmen. (Even they) would have considered this work beautiful”. The portal of the reception hall was covered with mosaic heraldic pictures of a lion and the sun, “Samarkand Seigneur’s Blazon”, and also Amir Temur’s Sign in the form of three rings. The ambitious nature of Aq-Sarai was expressed in the perished inscription at the top of the portal, which proudly said: “If you doubt our greatness – look at our constructions”.

Aq-Sarai palace was destroyed in the second half of the 16th century by the Sheybanids who tried to erase any sign of the Temurids. According to a legend the main reason of the destruction was the blind fury of Abdulla-khan II. When the khan was coming to the city he saw Aq-Sarai. He thought he was close to it and galloped. The khan drove too hard, but did not reach Shahrisabz. The palace never revived, and was gradually taken apart by people who used its bricks for their houses. With Aq-Sarai’s bricks half of the old city was built. Today there are only ruins of the grandiose portal. Its lateral tower foundations stood the test of time. The broad arch between the side towers collapsed long ago. Now the towers are 38 m. high. Inside them there were spiral stairways leading to the top part of the portal which was trimmed with a toothed parapet.

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© Marakanda Expedition, 2017 .