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Destination: Uzbekistan
Last updated: 08 Jan 2017

Ak Saray Palace, Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan

In Amir Temur's time in the northwest part of Shahrisabz there was built the huge Ak-Sarai palace surpassing in sizes even the governmental residence Kuk-Sarai in Samarkand ('Ak' means 'white', 'majestic' or 'noble'; 'Sarai' - 'palace'). The basic construction works were carried out between 1380 and 1396. Local masters worked with builders from Khorezm and other subdued countries. The palace was destroyed in the second half of the 16th century by the Sheibanids who tried to erase any signs of the Temurids. According to a legend the main reason of the destruction was a blind fury of Abdulla-khan II. When the khan was coming to the city he saw Ak-Sarai. He thought he was close to it and galloped. The khan drove too hard, but did not reach Shahrisabz...

Towers of Ak Saray Palace
Towers of Ak Saray Palace

Today there are only ruins of a grandiose portal. Its lateral tower foundations stood the test of time. 22-meter arch between the lateral towers fell. Now the towers are 38 meters high, and in the past their height reached 50 meters. Inside them there were spiral stairs leading to the top part of the portal which was trimmed with a toothed parapet. Descriptions of Ak-Sarai were left by the Spanish ambassador Claviho visited it in 1404, and in 'Babur-name' (16th century). The whole grandiose construction of the palace was remarkable for its decoration. Its portal was covered with mosaic heraldic pictures of a lion and the sun, and also Amir Temur's Sign in the form of three rings. One of the palace inscriptions proudly said:' If you doubt our greatness - look at our constructions'. The name of the Iranian master of facing Muhammad Jusuf Tebrizi remained on a mosaic plait of the portal.

Finely decorated ruins
Finely decorated ruins

The palace through its south part bordered with a garden in which there was a pavilion for receptions and feasts with vaulted portal on the main axis opposite to the entrance. Claviho wrote: 'reception halls have been covered with tiles, painted with gold and asure, and the ceiling is gilt' On two sides of the cross axis there were small portals. Rooms behind them were used by 'Divan' during sessions. The yard was occupied by two-storey building.
Once there was a dome on top
Once there was a dome on top

Monument to Amir Temur in Shakhrisabz
Monument to Amir Temur in Shakhrisabz
Chubin Madrasah
City Walls
Crypt of Amir Temur
Dorus Siadat
Green City
Gumbazi Seidon
Hazret Imam Mosque
Katta Lyangar
Koba Madrasah
Malik-Azhdar Mosque
Mausoleum of Shams Ad-Din Kulyal
Mirhamid Khanaka