Successful trips to India, prompted by Timur thought to build a mosque to surpass all the parameters of the mosques of the world, praising his empire forever. Hundreds of architects, artists and builders were brought to Samarkand. The construction lasted five years (1399-1404) and at the return of the military campaign of Timur the mosque was found finished. Bibi Khanum was referred to as the eldest wife of Tamerlane although the historical records mention it as Sarai Mulk Khanum. The most grandiose building, rebuilt in the reign of Amir Temur is the Friday Mosque, known as "Bibi Khanum". Its construction began in 1399, after a victorious campaign in India of Timur, and continued until 1404. The work was carried out at that time extremely fast. To participate at the construction and at the decoration of the mosque were attracted the best architects, craftsmen, masons and painters not only from Samarkand, but also from the conquered countries. Ninety Indian elephants had been used for the heavy work of the mosque. Amir Temur personally supervised the construction. In his absence the progress of the mosque was watched by his wife Saray Mulk Khanum, bearing the title Bibi Khanum - "older woman". Historical sources say that while the construction of the Bibi Khanum Mosque the madrassa erected her own behalf. When Timur returned from another military expedition, he saw that the portal of the mosque and was furious. He commanded a ready portal broken and erected a new one , even higher. Bibi-Khanum mosque provides the visitors a lasting impression. All construction consists of four buildings - the main mosque, two small mosques and the entrance arch. Between them is a large rectangular courtyard covering about 5000 square meters, surrounded by an arched gallery. In the corners of the courtyard rise four minarets. The majestic eastern portal in marble and bronze originally had a goal. The entrance to the main mosque is decorated with huge octagonal minarets on each side, and a massive drum, decorated with Kufic inscriptions, completing an enormous blue dome. The poet and the historian campaigns Temur Sharofiddin wrote: "The dome would have been her only if the sky was not a repetition of it, and only if there were an arch, if the Milky Way was not a pair of her." After the death of Timur's grandson, the governor and Movarounnahr , the great scientist Ulugbek installed in the courtyard of the mosque of Bibi Khanum an enormous marble lectern-laukh, which revealed during Friday worship the famous Koran. This is a real masterpiece of the Islamic architecture . Over several centuries Samarkand’s impressive ruins of the legendary structure stand there. In the nineties of last century large-scale restoration work was carried out , which resulted in the restoration dome portals of the mosques, minarets and the reconstitution layout of the entire structure. The mausoleum of Bibi Khanum stands in front of the mosque. A madrassa, built by Bibi-Khanum, lasted only until the XVI century.
By Romanelli Ana
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“Everything I have heard about the beauty of Samarkand is true – except that it is even more beautiful than I could have imagined.” Alexander the Great, 329 BC
Among the cities of the world, one of the most ancient is Samarkand, which is more than 2750 years old. There are many legends surrounding its history. Its praises have been sung by the writers and poets of old. It has been the home of great scholars and architects, whose works still stand in all their glory to delight and amaze us. Like other great centers of the ancient world, such as Babylon, Thebes and Rome, Samarkand has a rich and turbulent past. In the 4th century BC it was conquered by Alexander the Great and his Greek troops. At the beginning of the 13th century the city experienced the invasion of the barbaric hordes of Genghis Khan whose savage hordes annihilated its population, pillaged its treasure and reduced the city to the heap of ruins. It looked as though the city was about to enter a long period of decline, but by the latter or the 13th century it had recovered to such an extent, that the Venetian explorer Marco Polo described it as “a very large and impressive city”. In the late 14th century the Central Asian conqueror Timur (Tamerlan) designed to make Samarkand the capital of his great empire adorned with buildings of unsurpassed splendor, elegance and luxury. Skillful architects and masons, artists and artisans were brought here from the conquered lands and the construction was launched on a scale that had never been known before. It was then that the most famous buildings of the city were erected. Very considerable construction work was also carried on under Ulugbek, Timur’s grandson, who was both an eminent ruler and scholar, the author of astronomic tables known throughout the world. Under Ulugbek more magnificent buildings were erected. There are a lot of historical monuments in Samarkand, well known all over the world: the Shah-i-Zinda Ensemble, Gur-Emir Mausoleum, the Registan Square, Bibi Khanym Mosque, the Ulug Bek Observatory. A lot of tourists from different countries visit Samarkand and its famous monuments, which are dazzled. Samarkand , the fabled city on the Silk Road, the capital of the conquerors and the Romantic poets to the monastery, still shines as the brightest star among the historical and the cultural centers of the modern world. Today Samarkand is a place where is carefully preserved the unique spirit of antiquity. A special combination of its rich monumental and amazing diversity of its cultural traditions make an impression on visitors.
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Bibi Khanum Mosque - Legendary Structure
Bibi Khanum Mosque - Real Masterpiece
Bibi Khanum Mosque - Wonderful Architectural Monument
Bibi Khanum Mosque - Impressive decoration