15 49.0138 8.38624 1 1 4000 1 https://livesinasia.com 300 true 0
shah-i-zinda-in-central-asia

Shah-i-Zinda in Central Asia. A jewel of Islamic Art from the medieval era

Samarkand in Uzbekistan, a city that’s famous for its elegantly designed mosques and mausolea and also possesses historical importance because of its location on the Silk Road (the ancient trade route that linked China to the Mediterranean), preserves a jewel of Islamic Art ‘Shah-i-Zinda’ from the medieval era.

Shah-i-Zinda, an avenue of mosques and mausolea, is a series of grand palatial tombs in the north-eastern part of Samarkand, which portrays the unparalleled beauty of Islamic Art and Architectural creation.

Shah-i-Zinda was formed over eight centuries. It was founded with a single tomb over 1000 years ago, and several mosques and mausoleums were added to it throughout the ensuing centuries between 11th to 19th Centuries. And therefore, it shows various captivating architectural styles, methods, and artistry from throughout a millennium of work.

Shah-i-ZindaTilework inside mausoleum 

With rows of well-crafted blue tombs and rich tilework in it, Shah-i-Zinda folds up a story from history for its creation.

History

According to legends, the first tomb that was built here was of Kusam ibn Abbas, cousin of Prophet Muhammad (the founder of Islam). Kusam ibn Abbas brought Islam in Uzbekistan in the 7th Century.

He reached here to preach Islam among people. Zoroastrian Sogdiana (an ancient Iranian civilization who had territory here) was unhappy with this. It is said that a group of Zoroastrian fire-worshippers beheaded Kusam ibn Abbas when he was at prayer.

It’s also said that he didn’t die. He took his head and went into a deep well where he’s still living. And that’s how the name ‘Shah-i-Zinda’ came (meaning ‘the living king’).

Like most legends, this story has also been preserved through time among believers.

Shah-i-zindaflickr

Over the centuries, many more mausolea of people from dynasties that reigned in central Asia (like the Timurid Empire from 1350-1507), and many religious houses (mosques) were built inside the premise of  the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis; no mausoleum copied another, yet they stood in harmony.

Adding continual artistic brilliance to the pre-existing structure had led to an engrossing multi-tiered design where layers of history, art, and architecture are interwoven between staircases, archways, and avenues.

One century intersects with another at mere footsteps at Shah-i-Zinda.

Artwork

Artwork-Shah-i-zinda

Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis is one of the wealthiest artworks of the Islamic artistic world. With exquisite majolica and terracotta works of fine quality, some of the world’s best tilework is found here. They were of such rare quality that it needed almost no restoration for more than seven centuries. Even after they endured centuries of war, weather, and expansion, they survived with very little touch-up work.

artworkflickr

The bright sapphire blue tombs, with intricately carved blue-grey tilework, make the streets of deads perhaps the most visually stunning sight in the city of  Samarkand.

But some parts of it were re-established recently in 2005 where you miss the original majolica and terracotta works.

ceiling workceiling work

More

When Mongols invaded central Asia and many grand cities were laid in ruins, Shah-i-Zinda remained untouched by them. They changed the surroundings but left Kusam’s grave alone.

Shah-i-Zinda remains one of the oldest and longest-running examples of a continually constructed site in the world’s history.

Featured Image: flickr

7-must-see-historical-places-in-asia
Previous Post
7 must-see historical places in Asia
Udaipur-Lantern-Festival
Next Post
Udaipur Lantern Festival. An eco-friendly way of celebrating Diwali night!

16 Comments

  • September 13, 2020 at 1:09 pm
    Jeremy

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Exceptionally well written! I will immediately take hold
    of your rss as I can’t to find your email subscription hyperlink
    or e-newsletter service. Do you have any?

    Kindly allow me realize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

    I will immediately take hold of your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly let me understand so
    that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    Reply
  • September 19, 2020 at 12:07 pm
    Kathryn

    I do not even know how I finished up here,
    but I believed this post was once great. I do not realize
    who you might be but certainly you are going
    to a well-known blogger in case you are not already 😉 Cheers!

    Reply
  • October 4, 2020 at 2:10 pm
    Karl

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but
    after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyways, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be bookmarking
    and checking back often!

    Reply
  • October 4, 2020 at 2:44 pm
    Frederick

    I love your writing style truly loving this internet site.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2020 at 5:47 pm
    Shane

    There is perceptibly a bunch to realize about this.

    I believe you made various nice points in features also.

    Reply
  • November 10, 2020 at 12:12 am
    Edythe

    I blog often and I really appreciate your information. The article
    has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your website
    and keep checking for new information about once a week.
    I opted in for your Feed too.

    Reply
  • November 11, 2020 at 3:59 pm
    Raymundo

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found
    that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  • January 10, 2021 at 8:01 am
    Philipp

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your website unintentionally, and I’m shocked why this twist of fate did not took place in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

    Reply
  • January 11, 2021 at 10:53 pm
    Bess

    Just wish to say your article is as astounding. The
    clarity to your post is simply nice and that i could
    assume you’re knowledgeable on this subject. Well with your
    permission let me to snatch your feed to stay up to
    date with approaching post. Thank you a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

    Reply
  • January 12, 2021 at 7:53 pm
    Carri

    Wow, amazing blog layout! Hߋw long have you been blogging for?

    yⲟu mɑde blogging look easy. The overaⅼl look of your site is ɡreat, as welⅼ as tһе contеnt!

    Reply
  • January 13, 2021 at 4:41 am
    Rocco

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to
    your webpage? My blog is in the exact same
    niche as yours and my users would definitely benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  • January 17, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    I am truly thankful to the owner of this site who has shared this great piece of writing at here. Reeba Corbett Clapp

    Reply
  • January 17, 2021 at 10:30 pm
    Ophelia

    This info is invaluable. How can I find out more?

    Reply
  • January 18, 2021 at 1:11 am

    Im thankful for the blog article. Much thanks again. Fantastic. Corrianne Jose Torrlow

    Reply
  • January 19, 2021 at 12:00 am
    Reina

    Greate article. Keep writing such kind of information on your
    site. Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You’ve performed a great job. I will certainly digg it and in my opinion recommend to my friends.
    I am sure they will be benefited from this site.

    Reply
  • January 19, 2021 at 12:20 am
    Ella

    I was pretty pleased to uncover this website.

    I wanted to thank you for ones time for this
    wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your website.

    Reply

Leave a Reply