Here are some phtos taken in Samarkand in July 1999. Eventually they will be worked into other Samarkand pages and some will be added to the Cities/Buildings Archive. I thought it would be worthwhile posting them now in part because some show important changes that have taken place in recent years in connection with the Tamerlane celebrations in 1996 (when a great push was made in restoration projects). Since this year I went to Samarkand equipped with a wider angle lens than before, several of the photos give a much better sense of the interiors of certain historic buildings than do the shots already posted.
The new statue of Tamerlane as wise ruler, situated to the west of the Gur-i Amir near the Hotel Samarkand.
The Hasret Hisr mosque (mainly nineteenth century), recently restored.
A detail of the same.
View from the Hotel Afrasiab toward the Gur-i Amir, with the Rukhabad mausoleum on the right. This shows the way in which the area around the Rukhabad and Gur-i Amir has been opened up, with the widening of the streets, the removal of other old buildings, and with a lot of new landscaping. The Gur-i Amir's restoration continues although now mainly in the interior.
A closer view of the Gur-i Amir. The minarets were re-built from the level of the roof.
This model of the building, which can be seen in the Museum of the History of the Timurids in Tashkent, gives an idea of what the complex presumably looked like before the buildings on either side of the central mausoleum disappeared.
One of the workmen restoring the inlay. The decisions made regarding the restoration have sparked a lot of controversy. The lower part of the walls have been extensively re-done, and the whole floor area under the dome where the cenotaphs are located has been repaved with polished marble whose color may not be that of the original. Apparently the locations of the cenotaphs have been shifted somewhat. As the pictures below show, an electric chandelier has been suspended from the dome.
The restoration continues on the Bibi Khanum mosque. Compare this picture with the seqence on the bottom of my page concerning the building. Here one can see how the construction on the main eywan (arched entrance) of the building is complete. Work on rebuilding the entrance eywan is now well along.
This model, located in the exhibits of the Museum of the History of Samarkand just across the street from the Registan, gives an idea of the mosque's original appearance.
A couple of closer views of the restored central part of the mosque.
Restoration work in the Shah-i Zinda mausoleum complex also continues. When I was there in 1996, it seemed as though a lot of the exerior structure of the oldest and holiest of the shrines, that of Qutum Ibn Abbas (Kusam Ibn Abbas), was being torn apart. The building has now been restored, and the inscription on the ancient wooden beams inside, which was largely exposed in 1996, again largely covered up. [For photographs, see the Cities/Buildings Archive.] The pictures shown here were taken in the Ziarethana, the room adjoining and just outside the chamber that contains the cenotaph of the saint.
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© 1999 Daniel C. Waugh