Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara are the first cities that come to mind as main sightseeing places in Uzbekistan. It is true, tourism in Uzbekistan is based on people visiting these cities. However, there is hidden gem called Shakhirsbaz. This city is as old as Samarkand; its age is 2700 years. This highly underappreciated city is located 80 km to the south from Samarkand. It used to play a significant role in life of Central Asia. It used to be main crossing point of roads on the Great Silk Road.
Shakhrisabz, which name is translated as “green city”used to be called Kesh and was a part of Achaeminid Empire. Later it was conquered by Alexander the Great. In 329 BC the city fell into the influence of ancient Greek culture. Unfortunately, there are no historical monuments of that time left. In 8th century, Kesh or Shakhrisabz started losing its importance, because it was the center of Arab and Islamic opposition against conquerors. This significantly weakened infrastructure of the city.
Shakhrisbaz city is also hometown to Tamerlan. There is a big palace Ak-Sarai that was built by Tamerlan’s order; Great conqueror’s father and two sons are buried in Shakhrisabz. Tamerlan himself built a very simple crypt to be buried there, but instead, he now lies in Gur-Emir Mausoleum in Samarkand.
The city is included in UNESCO World Heritage list and has some outstanding historical monuments. For example, Ak-Sarai is a palace that was built by the order of Amir-Temir. It used to be an enormously big building, the main portal was 70 meters. Unfortunately, the only remnants are the main gates.
There is also a memorial complex Dorut Tilyavat. Tamerlan built it to commemorate memory of his spiritual mentor Shamsiddin Kulol. Sakhirsabz city is known for its crafts: carpet weaving and fine embroidery. Crafts in Sakhirsabz were influenced by thousands years of history and many cultures.