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WHC List #0885 – Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz

WHC List #0885 – Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz

This is the birthplace of the Great Tamerlane, the king and conquerer of a vast empire in Central Asia in the 14th century.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes several hundred properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Country: Uzbekistan

Date of Inscription: 2000

Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 0885:

The historic centre of Shakhrisyabz contains a collection of exceptional monuments and ancient quarters which bear witness to the city’s secular development, and particularly to the period of its apogee, under the rule of Amir Temur and the Temurids, in the 15th-16th century. (…) The Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz, located on the Silk Roads in southern Uzbekistan, is over 2000 years old and was the cultural and political centre of the Kesh region in the 14th and 15th century.

My visit:

In 2014 I was on a road trip to several of the ancient Silk Road cities. Shakhrisyabz was not one of the cities which had caught my attention before actually arriving here. And indeed, this dusty town on the road between the more magnificent cities of Samarkand and Bukhara is easily seen in a few hours. There is a mosque and the remains of the mighty palace of Amir Timur (Tamerlane), as well as a sleepy town with an interesting market. What distinguishes this town from the others is the fact that Timur was born here.

Contemporary Uzbekistan has over the centuries been invaded by foreigners, ranging from Macedonians, to Persians, Arabs and Mongols. Timur was their homebred conquerer and ended up with a huge empire. This does not go unnoticed in a country working hard to build a sense of national pride.

Read more about my visit.

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