Shahrizabz is the city known as a birthplace of Timur (Tamerlane), an Asian conqueror, spreading fear and terror in Asia and Europe in the 14th century.
Timur wanted Shahrizabz to be also the place of his last rest, but his body was buried in Samarkand instead. What's left of his burial wish, is the empty underground tomb, discovered in 1943. It contained a casket, on which inscriptions indicated that it was indeed prepared for Timur. But what's interesting, his presumably empty tomb in Shahrisabz contained two unidentified corpses. This mystery has never been solved. Now the visitors also have the opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of the enigma, as the tomb has been recently open to the public.
But, however fascinating the story is, people don't come to Shahrizabz because of the Timur's would-be tomb.
They come here because of his Summer Palace (White Palace), or rather what's left of it.
The White Palace was meant to be the most splendid of Timur's constructions. Even today, the inscription above the entry says: "If you challenge our power – look at our buildings." Unfortunately, besides the letters and two gate-towers, the palace didn't survive. But the towers are so massive that it's easy to imagine how impressive this place surely was.
The effect is even stronger thanks to the grandiose statue of Timor and huge stairs leading to the towers.
It is possible to climb to the top of one of the towers, but the best view is from below.
Except for the photos taken from the Ferris wheel located near the ruins. We liked it, although the wheel squeaked and creaked, giving us the uncomfortable feeling of the last ride in our lives.
The rest of the city is not interesting according to standard tourist criteria. But we had fun watching people and their everyday activities.
The city is located about 90 kilometers from Samarkand and can be reached in 90-120 minutes, depending on the mode of transportation. We took a shared taxi from Suzangaran (about 100 meters south of the Registan marshrutka stop).
Our comment: Shahrizabz is not for everyone. Some people don't like to make the trip only to see the ruins. Even if Shakhrisabz was founded almost 3 000 years ago which makes it one of the most ancient cities in Uzbekistan. And even if these ruins are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Remember that the road from Samarkand to Shahrizabz is far from perfect, although very picturesque. We stopped several times for photos, the other passengers in our marshrutka didn't mind.
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