Historical and architectural monuments of Samarkand
Abu Mansur al-Maturidy Mausoleum was established at the burial place of one of the first theoreticians of Islam – al-Maturidy. He immortalized his name as a founder of the studies of philosophic bases of Muslim religion. These studies, further named as “Maturidiya”, had become widely popular. Fundamental investigations of al-Maturidy in the sphere of theology and shariat named “Maahaz ash-Sharif”, “Kitab al-djadal”, “Tavilat al-Koran” didn’t lose its value till today and republishing of Maturidy’s works during the thousand years in Muslim countries testifies the same.
Abu Mansur Muhammad, who has a nickname Maturidy, was born in Maturid village (nowadays Motrit village) near Samarkand. At the end of 9th century he has been studying at al-Ayozi madrasah in Samarkand. Subsequently, al-Maturidy taught at the same madrasah during long period and learned suras from Koran, hadises and their meanings at the same time.
Due to the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan I.A. Karimov, the mausoleum was built above the tomb of al-Maturidy. The construction is built in eastern architectural style; traditional ways of Uzbek carving and paintings on ganch are used in decoration of the building.
Afrosiab Town appeared on the area more than 200 hectares, named after the legendary Turanian king – Afrosiab. River bluffs on the north and east and deep ravines in the south and west protected it. Many scientists identify Afrasiab with the ancient Sogdian capital of Marakanda.
The first monumental bricks of the fortress walls were put even on 7th-6th centuries BC. There were city quarters with citizens’ houses, temples, reservoirs and trade squares at the foot of the citadel.
In the first millennium AD Samarkand was one of the powerful principalities of Sogd and famous by the success of sogdians at organization of caravan trade through the Great Silk Road at 4th-8th centuries. In 30 years of 7th century Sogd submitted to Chinese dynasty Tan. From the middle of 7th century confederation of principalities of Sogd was headed by the governor of Samarkand having a title of ishkhid.
Worldwide famous wall paintings made by talented Samarkand masters were found at palace yard situated at one of the city quarters of 7-8th centuries AD. The walls of the main ceremonial hall are decorated with artistic paintings made by using size paints on clay plasters.
In 9-10th centuries Samarkand became one of the main cultural centers of the Islamic East and the first capital of the Samanids dynasty. Ruins of the Samanid palace with carved panels were found in the western part of Afrasiab town.
In 11-13th centuries Samarkand became the capital of the western Qarakhanid state and was newly walled. The palace of the Qarakhanids was built in the citadel. The tomb of Kusam bin Abbas became a holy place where a mausoleum was built.
At the beginning of the 13th century Khorezmshakh Mohammad conquered Samarkand and built a new palace decorated with paintings instead of the Qarakhanids’ main construction. However, the state of the Khorezmshakhs was soon conquered by the Mongols and Chingizkhan conquared Samarkand after a short siege. The city suffered much during the wars of the second half of 13th century and as a result Afrasiab was finally deserted.
Khodja Akhrar memorial complex nowadays includes madrasah, summer and winter mosques, ayvan with columns and a small minaret built in 1909. In 16th century Nadirdevanbegi ordered to build here madrasah and mosque.
Nadirdevanbegi Madrasah also called “a mirror of Sher-Dor”. The monument came to us nearly destroyed. For the reconstruction of the appearance of the madrasah the work “Samaria” of Samarkand scientist of 19th century – Abutakhirkhodja was carefully learned where Nadirdevanbegi madrasah was referred to as Sherdori-Berun (Berun means exterior, situating out of the city). Hence, natural conclusion comes that some elements of its decor were identical to its city “prototype”. However, Abutakhirkhodja did not reveal what the analogy in the names was based upon.
Some photos of Nadirdevanbegi madrasah made in 1870 were discovered in the Hermitage archive in Saint Petersburg. Among those photos was one showing the eastern portal, on the tympanum of which we can discern fragments of a hunting scene with lions and deer. Unlike the Sher-Dor, the image of the sun was absent here: instead there was a vegetable ornament.
Careful, painstaking study of a monochrome photo of last century, modeling the whole picture fragment by fragment enabled the restorers to reproduce the tympanum on the entrance portal of Nadirdeivanbegi madrasah in its original look.
Tashkent Street – street of masters is considered to be one of the ancient streets of Samarkand and starts from Registan Square. In ancient time it was one of the important caravan roads which connected Samarkand with Tashkent oasis, Fergana valley and China. Starting from Amir Temur’s time trade activities had being conducted on the same street.
Bibi-Khanim mosque and Siab bazaar are situated at this Tashkent Street. Government had closed transportation movement on this Street and made it pedestrian. On both sides of the Street there are shops of craftsmen where one can buy souvenirs as a memory about Samarkand such as: ceramic articles, lacquered decorative boxes with paintings, national robe – chapan embroidered with golden threads, or popular khan-atlas and crimson handmade velvet “bakhmal”, silk carpets of Samarkand weaved as in ancient times on hand loom.
University Boulevard stretches over kilometer length from “President Hotel” up to the Theatre of music drama named after Khamid Alimdjan. The width of the boulevard is 128 meters.
This boulevard was constructed in 70th of 19th century, soon after the conquest of Samarkand by tsar’s Russia. It had served as a so-called border between old and new – “European” parts. At that time the boulevard was planted by plane and oak trees which in our days had turned into ancient mighty trees.
Previous name of the boulevard – Abram’s – remembers of the first tsar’s governor of Samarkand region. Boulevard was built on administrative buildings from burnt bricks. At that period, in Turkestan special style of architecture had occurred which united European and local traditions together. Today a state khokimiyat – town hall is situated inside of the previous governor’s palace. In another ancient building there is a State university of Samarkand now.