1977 and 1989


For additional information see the historical notes on Timur Tamerlane and Samarkand collected from the Internet.

Click on the pictures, many will enlarge


I spent one incredibly hot July day in Samarkand in 1977 — on my lonely Academy-sponsored tour of the Soviet Union and two days in the politically stormy May of 1989 with Cornelius. On this second visit we were also driven to Shahr-i-Zabz Timur's birth place, almost-2 hours south of Samarkand.


The Registran

The Registran, the center of Timur's Samarkand (see Historical Notes) is a slightly assymmetrical square sourrounded on three sides by Medrese — Islamic schools of higher learning. The oldest one (not shown, because it is on the southern side of the square, against the sun!) was build by Timur's grandson Ulugh Beg (mif 15th-cent., the other two are from the 17th -cent).

Medresa Syr-Dor

 Medresa Syr-Dor (also Shir-Dor) (1619)








 Tile mosaic above the entrance to Syr-Dor. The faces, depicting Ali "the Lion", Mohammed's grandson, are unusual




 Inner courtyard of Syr-Dor with "class rooms"




 Recently restored tiles above the door of one room.






Tilla-Kari Medresa

Frontal view of Tilla-Kari Medresa (Late 17th century)


 Entrance Ivan of the Tilla-Kari Medresa




 The renovated walls of the Tilla-Kari mosque (1989)...


 and the ceiling.


1989, Cornelius at Tilla-Kari  wiped out by sight-seeing




 1989 Sunset-Son-et-Lumiere at the Registran - the Moon-rise was an extra bonus


Bibi Hanum Medresa (1399-1405)

 Bibi-Hanum Mosque in 1977, before extensive reconstruction was begun.


 The drum of Bibi Hanum in 1989.


1989, Samarkand market and Bibi-Hanum under reconstruction.


The Timurid Necropolis of Shah-i-Zinda (1977)

For building dates and a plan of Shah-i-Zinda see the historical notes by Donald Waugh, et al.





 Entrance to the tomb of a Sufi


 Sufic calligraphy inscription above the door of another tomb









Gur-Emir, Timur Tamerlane's Tomb (originall built as tomb of Timur's grandson ~1400)




People of Samarkand, 1977 and...






 ... in 1989


A sleeping drommedary, photographed in Samarkand by Torgny Hinnemo, a Swedish friend in 2003 


Shahr-i-Zabz 1989

(also known as Shakhr-i-syabz or Kesh)

 See the historical notes for detailed information

Timur's Ak-Serai

 These ruins of the huge entrance gate of Timur's Ak Serai (White Palace ~1400) are all that is left of this once fabled place.


 Our Party: (left to right) Zoya and Victor Apollonov from Moscow, Alexander Popov from Sibiria, Sagdulla Bakhramov our Tashkent host, a local guide, a Russian archeologist from Tashkent, and Cornelius


 The last spendor of the sophisticated, original tile facing of Timur's palace






 A "bustrophedron" which, written right to left to right in spiral-fashion produces the name of Allah in all directions


 Two old Uzbeg Hadji in the market








 Cornelius and Rolf photographed by Sasha Popov



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