Shakhrisabz is one of the most beautiful and colorful cities in Uzbekistan and is located about 80 km south of Samarkand. The 2,700 year old city played a significant role in the history of the Central Asian region.
Shakhrisabz used to be the capital of ancient Sogd and was known as the famous city of Kesh in the Middle Ages. In 329 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the city and shaped the arrival of Hellenistic culture. The city of Shakhrisabz was built according to a typical High Middle Ages model, with a central structure similar to that of Samarkand and Bukhara. The city continued to develop in the 9th and 10th centuries, despite the constant conflicts between the Samanid dynasty and Turkish tribes. In the middle of the 14th century, a great empire was founded by Amir Timur, who showered the city with great attention when he was born. Until his death in 1405 he ordered the construction of the curtain wall, the grandiose Ak-Saray palace, mosques, baths and caravanserais. He had brought to Shakhrisabz the best architects and craftsmen whom he found during his campaigns in the conquered areas. Shakhrisabz contains many beautiful monuments, especially those from the Timurid period, which are of great cultural and political importance in medieval Central Asia. The buildings of Shakhrisabz, particularly the Ak-Saray Palace and the Tomb of Timur, are outstanding examples of a design that had a profound influence on the architecture of this region.