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Formerly known as Kesh (i.e., "heart-pleasing") and tentatively identified with the ancient Nautaca Shahrisabz should be counted among Central Asia’s most ancient cities. It was founded more than 2700 years ago.From the 6th to 4th centuries BC it was a part of Akhemenid empire.Alexander the Great's general Ptolemy captured the satrap of Bactria and pretender to the Persian throne, Bessus, at Nautaca thus ending the once great Achaemenid Empire. Alexander the Great chose to spend his winters and met his wife Roxanna in the area in 328-327 BC.From 4th to 8th century Kesh was one of urban centers of Sogdiana.Between 567 and 658 rulers of Kesh paid taxes to caghans of Turkic and Western Turkic caghanates.In 710 city was conqured by Arabs.

Shahrisabz was the birthplace of Timur on April 9, 1336, to the family of a minor local chief, and during the early years of the Timurid Dynasty, enjoyed its considerable patronage. Timur regarded Shahrisabz as his “home town” and planned it eventually to be the location of his tomb. However, during the Timurid period, the center of activity shifted to Samarkand instead.According to legend, The Khan of Bukhara, Abdullah Khan II had the city destroyed in a fit of rage over the death of his favorite horse from exhaustion on a steep approach the city, but was later overcome with remorse for the damage he had done.The city struggled for autonomy under Bukharan rule. The Russians helped Bukharan emir to conquere the city in 1870.

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Having created the vast state of Movarounnahr and having become an absolute emir, Temur had made Samarkand as his capital. But he always remembered and paid all his possible attention to his small hometown. In essence, Shakhrisabz was the second capital of his empire. The descendant of Temur, the founder of the Great Moguls dynasty Bobur wrote: "Since Kesh was Temur's bithplace, he made a fantastic job to make a city "pedestal of throne". 

The best architects, builders, masters of architectural decor together with the local masters erected majestic buildings embodying thus the experience and traditions of various countries. Their creativity had given magnificent results due to unification of knowledge, experience of traditions and creative efforts put in pawn fundamentals of monumental style which determined architectural features of Central Asia of the end ХIV-ХV centuries.
Ak-Saray Palace is an example of the main governmental building - residence. Construction of the palace started in 1380, but even in 1404 were not completed yet. The lancet arch of this magnificent building had a span of more than 22 meters - the biggest among all Timur's construction.
In epoch of Temur and Timurids the ensemble construction of the cities was widely spread. Shakhrisabz can be considered as an example of such a construction. The city boasts the ensembles like Dorus-Tilyavat and Dorus-Saodat.
Dorus-Tilyavat consists of the three preserved buildings on the former necropolis of local nobles. These are two mausoleums of Shamseddin Kulyal and Gumbazi Seidon and congregational mosque Kok-Gumbaz.

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The earliest construction is the Shamseddin Kulyol mausoleum. Sheikh died in 1370 and his grave was hightly thought of. Next to it, there was built a mausoleum of Ulugbek's descendants called Gumbazi Seidon-Dome of Seids. This small building captivates by elegance of proportions and perfectly made entrace door covered with deep carving.
The ensemble Dorus-Saodat also consists of the three parts: a crypt of Jakhongir, Khazrat Imam mosque and Temur crypt. Since in 1376, the favourite son of the lord Jakhongir died, Amir Temur fell into such a sorrow that "the heart of lord was closed for compassion for 30 years time". The body of "fair prince, brave warrior who flashed on the earth as the rose", was transported to the hometown of ancestors, where the mausoleum was built specificaly for him. Later on, the mausoleum baceme a part of the family crypt. The premise was tiled with slabs of limestone, along the arch there was a carving with sayings from Koran about earth life caducity and celebration of eternity.
But Shakhrisabz was not only "the bottom of throne" of great emir. Long before Temur's birth, it already had its own historical destiny. First of all it is one of the oldest cities in the world. According to the scientists, Shakhrisabz is 2700 years old, , and it is age of "Eternal city" Rome. In accordance with UNESCO decisions exactly this date in 2002 was celebrated throughout all the civilized world.

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Here in IV century B.C. the troops of Alexander the Great rested for a while, these places witnessed how Bactrian satrap Bess was captured, who killed Darius III and who proclaimed hismelf as "the king of Asia". In VII century the city was besieged by the Arabs, and one century later Kesh became the centre of the strong anti-Arabian uprising led by Mukana. When there was no war, the city safely grew up and developed, since its location on the Great Silk Road was perfect.
The medieval author Makhmud ibn Vali wrote: "Kesh - of all the cities of Movarounnahr … is Consider as one of the most beautiful places of the world with an attractive climate. Fileds and open spaces are very beautiful and desired". We have to agree with the estemeed author. Especially because, at present Shakhrisabz quite justifies its name - "Green city".



Ak-Saray Palace 

Dorus Saodat memorial complex. Jahangir's mausoleum. 

Dorut-Tillavat complex with Shamsiddin Kulol Mausoleum 

Kok-Gumbaz Mosque 

Khazrat-Imam Mausoleum 

Gumbazi-Seyeedon Mausoleum 

Chorsu covered market