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  • Day10

    Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis, Entrance

    April 22, 2019 in Uzbekistan ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    After the surprising visit of the Ulugbek's observatory (and sending back our keys to the hotel with a taxi 🤦‍♀️) , we walk down the hill to get back to our van. We still have one place to visit in Samarkand before we head back to Tashkent: the Necropolis.

    Before starting our cultural visit, we do a quick stop at a minimarket, where we can have a look at souvenirs and we can also get a coffee. ☕Thanks to my travel mates, I have the great idea of buying a simple cotton bag for all the extras I bought during the trip. Definitely more convenient than getting a new trolley!

    I must say I am not too excited at the idea, as I have seen some ancient necropoles before and they were basically a bunch of old tombs in ruins. However, I couldn't be more wrong...
    From the very moment when we approach the entrance gate, we understand we are about to see something truly spectacular.

    The name of this place is Shah-i-Zinda, which means "Tomb of the Living King". This refers to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed who is said to have brought Islam to this area in the 7th century. Also, allegedly he was beheaded by the Zoroastrians and he not survived, but even picked up his head and walked away with it! 🙄🤔😕

    Back to the Necropolis. The first constructions were built in the 9th century, but most of the buildings date back to the 11th-15th centuries. Despite being built across different centuries, the Necropolis has a stunning artistic continuity both in terms of architectural style and of decorative motives. And, no need to say, the dominant colour is a bright blue!

    The ensemble comprises three groups of structures: lower, middle and upper, each connected by four-arched domed passages (called chartak). The main arch that stunned me at our arrival was erected in 1434 by Ulugbek (yep, the same guy of the observatory) and has the same fine tile-work motif on blue majolica that we have seen in the main buildings of Samarkand.
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