To the northeast of Samarkand, you will see yellow, waste, abandoned, and dried-up monticules of Afrosiab, a vast dead surface covered with tombs. And among them, scattered far and wide over the solitary slopes, the pointed projectile shape of the domes of a dozen mausoleums, on the walls of which still glitter vestiges of enamel. This, one of the most visited sights of Samarkand, is the impressive burial vault. As a whole, Shahi Zinda, also knowns as “Street of Tombs”, is a compound of mausoleums adorned with blue cupolas, high portals of beautiful majolica and ornamental stone arches. One can also find here buildings made of carved terracotta and mosaics glazed bricks. The name Shahi Zinda is connected with the legend that Qusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of the prophet Muhammad who was buried there. According to legend, Qusam was mortally wounded on the walls of Samarkand and escaped underground, where he continues to live, hence the name of the necropolis, Shahi-Zinda – “Living f truly exquisite tiny mausoleums of tessellated turquoise, studded with gold, blue, green, violet.
They say, if you count the same number of stairs both on the way up and back, you have no sins… Good luck
When you reach the white arch at the head of the stairs, you will stops in astonishment, for five facades of mosques in miniature stand in line along each side of a paved alley-way. The riot of colors, arabesques, carvings, and inlay; the exquisite workmanship of the mosaics, the exquisite taste of the contrasting motifs is indescribable. These structures are concerned with the names of Timur’s relatives, military and clergy aristocracy.
At the end of the passage there is a pilgrimage site – the tomb of Qusam Ibn Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet who was instrumental in bringing Islam to Central Asia. The legend says Ibn Abbas never died, but was engulfed inside a cliff until the Last Days.