There is a big number of beautiful historical monuments throughout Central Asia. Many of them have stood through centuries. Uzbekistan has some of the most outstanding historical monuments in Central Asia. Among these historical monuments of Uzbekistan one attracts more attention. Ensemble Shahi Zinda in Samarkand is one of the most enchanting and unique architectural complexes of Samarkand.
Shahi Zinda Necropolis is located near ancient settlement Afrasaib, not far from Bibi Khanum Mosque. It consists of rows of blue-domed mausoleums. There are 20 of them and each of mausoleums dates back to 14th and 15th centuries. Different buildings were added through centuries. This resulted in a mesmerizing mix of different architectural styles and craftsmanship techniques. It was the place for the nobility and the royals to find final resting place.
The main mausoleum is, presumably, the grave of Kusam ibn Abbas. All others are built around or near. No mausoleum is the same, yet they form a single complex. All of them are square buildings with blue-domes. Each of them has a portal with an entrance and a chamber with a crypt under. There are three groups of mausoleums: lower, middle and upper. All buildings are either Timurid’s dynasty or their relatives. Tamerlan’s female relatives are in the sapphire blue tombs: his sister and a niece.
There is also his nurse and a colleague and a friend of his grandson Ulughbeg. The Shahi Zinda Necropolis s also a place for pilgrimage. Visiting this necropolis is considered to be equal to visiting Meqqa. The name of the necropolis from Persian language means “The Living King”, locals call it “the street cemetery”. The name of the necropolis is connected to Kusam ibn Abbas.
According to a legend, Prophet Muhammad’s cousin came to Samarkand from Mecca to spread Islam. Pagans attacked Kusam ibn Abbas and his followers, while he was praying. He was saved my miracle – disappeared in slot in front of them. He still lives in underground world. The inscription on the tombstone of Kusam ibn Abbas says, "Those who are slain while following Allah’s way are never counted dead. No, they are alive."
The Shahi Zinda Necropolis, today, is a Holy site for the Muslims, a popular Samarkand historical monument, and a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site.