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language: English
Title Meet the Samarkand State Reserve-Museum of History, Architecture and Arts  
Subtitle The Samarkand State Reserve-Museum of History, Architecture and Arts, its branches and other major historical sights in the town  
Date 15. Dezember 2009  
oraganization The Samarkand State Museum of Cultural History of Uzbekistan  
Author Mr. Rahim Qayumov  
Museum Samarkand State Museum of Cultural History of Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan, Samarkand  
Short version 147 Words  
Long version 2112 Words  

 Short version

The Samarkand State Reserve-Museum of History, Architecture and Arts incorporates the majority of most important museums and monuments in the area

The Samarkand State Museum of Cultural History of Uzbekistan

This main museum in the area contains a most extensive collection of artistic treasures, and archaeological and ethnographical exhibits encompassing the history of not only Samarkand, but of the entire region. The history of the museum dates back to the late 19th century. The museum is rich in exhibits: archaeological, ethnographical, and manuscripts, and it includes a unique collection of coins from different countries and different ages, articles of jewelry, ancient objects made from Samarkand glass, and still astonishing in spite of their often fragmented state by their delicacy and elegance. There are specimens of skilful alabaster and marble carvings, as well as unique silver bowls decorated with inscriptions in Sogdian language.

 Long version

The Samarkand State Reserve-Museum of History, Architecture and Arts incorporates the majority of most important museums and monuments in the area

The Samarkand State Museum of Cultural History of Uzbekistan

This main museum in the area contains a most extensive collection of artistic treasures, and archaeological and ethnographical exhibits encompassing the history of not only Samarkand, but of the entire region. The history of the museum dates back to the late 19th century. The museum is rich in exhibits: archaeological, ethnographical, and manuscripts, and it includes a unique collection of coins from different countries and different ages, articles of jewelry, ancient objects made from Samarkand glass, and still astonishing in spite of their often fragmented state by their delicacy and elegance. There are specimens of skilful alabaster and marble carvings, as well as unique silver bowls decorated with inscriptions in Sogdian language.

The Samarkand State Reserve-Museum of History, Architecture and Arts has the following branches:

Afrasiab Archeological Museum

Afrasiab is the site of the ancient ruins of Samarkand, and today is a state
archaeological reservation. Here under the multicentury layers of the earth
rests its first town - "abode of the Sogdians" that is mentioned in the
Avesta. At the foot of the hill of Afrasiab stands Museum of the History of
the Founding of Samarkand that was opened in 1970. Everything here is
precise, carefully thought out and sparingly presented. The exhibits are not
cluttered together as often is the case in the museums. Each object that is
exhibited is expressive in itself and is presented in such a way that one
immediately sees the people, the time and the events connected with it. The
Museum exhibition is presented chronologically and consists of genuine
objects that were found here at Afrasiab during archaeological excavations.
The wall paintings that date back to late 7th - early 8th A.D. are
represented here. They were discovered in 1965 and are believed to be to
have decorated one of the rooms in the palace of the ruler of the country of
Sogdiana, of which Samarkand was the capital.
Address: Tashkent Street 7. Tel: +998 (66) 2355336.

Gur-Emir Mausoleum

The Gur-Emir Mausoleum is located in the central part of Samarkand, not far
from University Boulevard. This is where Timur the Great and his descendents
are buried, while Gur-Emir means "the tomb of Emir". Timur built the
mausoleum at the beginning of the 15th century,
not for himself but for his favourite grandson, Muhammad-Sultan. He built it
next to the madrasah and khanaka (the house for the wandering dervishes),
which had been founded by Muhammad-Sultan. Of these buildings only the
remains of the foundation, excavated by archaeologists and reinforced by
restorers, have come down to our times. The mausoleum survived and to this
day it astonishes the visitors with its monumental size in comparison with
the other tombs of this type in Samarkand.
Address: Ok Saroy Square. Tel: +998 (66) 2352582.

Bibi-Khanim Mosque

The Bibi- Khanim Mosque is located very close to Siyob bazaar,
the largest in the town. This cathedral mosque was built
on Timur's order. The construction of the mosque began in 1399 and was completed in
1404. The huge building originally had the rectangular courtyard surrounded
by arched dome gallery on the marble columns and brick poles;
on the main axes there were four monumental structures, at the corners -
there were four minarets. The building was severely destroyed by
earthquakes. The facades of the mosque were richly decorated by carved marble, brick sets, majolica, mosaic and different kinds of architectural ornamentation of XV century. The interior walls were
decorated with ornamental paintings. In the courtyard there is a marble support stand for the huge
Koran (the first half of XV century).
Address: Tashkent Street 37. Tel: +998 (66) 2351384.

Ulugbek Observatory

Ulugbek (1394-1449) has entered history not only as a descendent of Timur the
Great or even as a ruler of Samarkand, but as one of the great scientists
of his times. The observatory became a center of scientific knowledge. It was founded in 1428-1429, on a hill beside Obi-Rakhmat (which
means "Blessed Waters") irrigation canals. According to testimony of
contemporaries, the observatory was a three-storied round building,
decorated inside with celestial themes and faced with tiles on the outside.
A gigantic astronomical instrument was placed inside the building - a
sextant that served for the visual observation of the stars. The arc of the
sextant was divided into minutes and seconds. With the aid of this
instrument, which was unique for its time, the famous Star Atlas "Ziddji-
Guragoni" was complied by Ulugbek in 1437.
On the territory of the memorial complex of Ulugbek's observatory, there is
a small museum (1970) devoted to the life of Ulugbek and his activities.
Here one can see a model of the observatory building and fragments of its
decorative ornamentation. The museum exhibits show the development of
scientific thought in Central Asia, whose apogee is connected with the names
of the mathematician and astronomer Khorezmi (758-850), the
scientist-encyclopedist Al - Beruni (973- 1039) etc. The scientific activities
of Ulugbek are a logical development of this fruitful tradition.
Address: Tashkent Street 1. Tel: +998 (66) 2350345.

Khodja Doniyor Mausoleum

Khodja Doniyor Mausoleum is one of the most-well known cult places in
Samarkand. With identical respect the Christians, the Jews and the Muslims
are responsible for it. Doniyor, Daniil, Daniel are the names of one the
same Saint in Muslim, Christian and Judaism literature. The six-domed
mausoleum was constructed above Khodja Doniyor's grave in Samarkand (at the
present moment only five domes have been preserved) in the beginning of XX
century by the Samarkand artisans - soap boilers on the head of which was
Makmud-aksakal. However, due to the engravings of the middle of XIX century
and photos of the late XIX century it is known, that originally tomb was
covered with the river stone, and on the part of the head there stood
several sacred poles - called tug. Inside the mausoleum one can see 18
meters long tomb. There are some versions concerning its length. According
to one of the versions, the transported remains were sacred, the people with
bad intentions could find and dig out them and carry away. That's why the
long tomb was made, and the remains of the Prophet are buried somewhere in
that length.
Address: Tashkent Street 5.

Khazret Khizr Mosque

It was built on the basis of the Middle Aged mosque in 1854. The work of
decoration and reconstruction was carried on in 1884-1899 and finished in
1919 by the Samarkand architect Abduqodir bini Baky. The composition of the
building is asymmetrical and includes: the entrance portal that picks out
the south darvazakhona - entrance hall, which is covered with the ribbed
dome, the winter domed khanaka (the house for the wandering dervishes), the
secondary rooms and the ayvan of columns. The carved alabaster and ceiling
paintings are applied in the decoration of the mosque. There is also small
minaret (1919) close to the mosque. The mosque is a good sample of Samarkand
architectural school.
Address: Tashkent Street 9.

Sadriddin Aini Memorial House-Museum

Not far from the Registan ensemble, on Registan Street, stands a
house-museum unremarkable from the outside but carefully preserved. This
house is connected with the name of a man who is widely known not only in
Uzbekistan, but also in the other countries of the East, Sadriddin Aini
(1878-1954). Aini, whose native tongue was Tajik, also wrote in Uzbek, and
thus made an invaluable contribution to the development of the culture of
two nation Uzbek and Tajik. With his life and creative work, Aini continued
the best traditions of the centuries - old culture of the Orient. The
house-museum of Aini speaks of a man of high culture, modest and hard
working. The abundance of books, the simplicity of the furnishings, even
certain sternness, which was somewhat, softened by the trimness of the
mekhmonkhona, that is, the living room. A grapevine has wound itself around
the awning in the inner courtyard. This grapevine, just as the personal
effects of the master, his writing desk and his books, may also be viewed as
being in the category of a memorial exhibits: it is more that seventy years
old. This means that Aini himself looked after it:
Address: Registan Street. Tel: +998 (66) 2355153.

Samarkand Museum of Regional Studies

The Samarkand Museum of Regional Studies was opened on the 21st of December
1981. The museum is an educational base for the students of the
universities, colleges and for schoolchildren of the city.
The exhibitions of the museum are arranged in one of the pictorial corners
of the city of Samarkand in the building of the old detached house that
belonged to Abram Kalontarov, a merchant of the first guild.
At a depth of the shady yard there is a two- story building, made of baked
bricks in the style of eclectic that is typical for the colonial
architecture of the early XX cent. The author of the house design is E.O.
Nelle. There are 5 house-buildings in the territory of the courtyard
altogether. The construction works carried out from 1902 till 1916 here.
Today the house is considered to be the architecture of the early XX century
and is under the protection of the state. As Abram Kalontarov reminisces, in
the time of construction of the house the well-known artisans took part,
among them there were usto Kamol, usto Sadi, usto Khafiz and others.
According to the memories of the former owner, for the construction of the
mekhmonkhona (living room) 1600 rubles in gold were spent. This living
room has preserved its earlier decoration, like some other halls of the
house. All the halls of the building are located in a row forming the suit.
Here is also a permanent exhibition about the life and culture of local jews.
Address: Jomi Street 51. Tel: +998 (66) 2330352

Other important historical sights of Samarkand

Registan

Registan Square is located in the center of both historic and modern
Samarkand. "Registan" means "sandy place". In spite of its prosaic
name, Registan leaves the best impressions at any time of the year and at
any hour. This is probably how it was first conceived: the principal square
of the city, a place for large gatherings of people should be vivid and festive.
Three buildings frame the square on three sides, leaving the fourth side
open, as if intentionally meant to provide a view for the spectators. These
three buildings are the Ulugbek Madrasah (1418-1422), the Tillya Kari
Madrasah ("Gilded") (1641-1660) and the Sher-Dor Madrasah (1619-1631).
Address: Registan Square. Tel: +998 (66) 2353826.

Shakhi- Zinda necropolis

The Shahi- Zinda is a complex of mausoleums that date back to XIV-XV centuries.
Some of the building here date back to XI century. The very name of this ensemble leads into the world of legend and to ancient traditional beliefs. "Shahi- Zinda" means the "living Tsar". Dim testimony has remained in historical a chronicle that during the Arabs' campaigns in Central Asia that were accompanied by the introduction of the Muslim faith, a cousin of Muhammad himself, Kussam ibn Abbas, was among the "preachers " and perished in one of the battles. It was asserted
that he was buried in Samarkand in one of the tombs that now make up the
Shahi- Zinda. These events took place at the end of the 7th century.
Address: Usto Umar Jurakulov Street. Tel: +998 (66) 2355162.

Nadir- Divan-Begi Madrasah

The Nadir- Divan-Begi Madrasah (1630/31) includes elements of more ancient
structure (probably, the mosque of Khadja Akhrar XV century.). It includes
double-ayvan courtyard , khujras, mosque and darskhona (auditorium).
The entrance portal is decorated by the sets of glazed brick and
mosaics that combines light-blue and yellow green gamma. The groups
of structures are located on the ancient bases close to madrasah. Near the
ensemble there is a cemetery, which dates back to the end of XV century. The
white marbled grave of Khadja Akhrar is standing out with Arabic epitaph.
Address: Samarkand district, Hodja Ahror Square.




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