"The Living King" Top 5 Page for this destination Uzbekistan Things to Do Tip by TheWanderingCamel

Uzbekistan Things to Do: 141 reviews and 358 photos

by TheWanderingCamel
  • The Living King - Uzbekistan
  • Pilgrims - Uzbekistan
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • The Living King - Uzbekistan
  • The Living King - Uzbekistan
  • The Living King - Uzbekistan

Far older than the tomb of Temur, and much more a place of pilgrimage still for Uzbek people, is the Shah -i-Zinda - the tomb of the Living King - the centrepiece of the mausoleum complex in Samarkand that also houses the tombs and mausolea of several members of Temur's family - mostly women.

The "Living King" is Qasim ibn-Abbas - a cousin of the Prophet, who came to Samarkand in 676 to convert the people to Islam. He was killed here, and his tomb has been a place of pilgrimage ever since.

The whole complex has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sadly, the rather over-enthusiastic restoration work that has taken place over recent years is putting that status in jeopardy. Certainly some of the work being done is somewhat heavy-handed, but you can't help thinking that, like so much in Uzbekistan, it won't be long before the new rapidly begins to meld in with the old and the spirit of the place, with its ancient aura of devotion and holiness will prevail.

2009 update The scaffolding that clad much of the Shah-i-Zindar on our first visit is gone and the restoration work is done for the time being at least. There no doubt some of it is less than satisfactorywith crude brickwork the result of untrained workers being used to get things done to a deadline and a budget we were told. There is still much that is very beautiful though, especially on the interior walls and domes, and visiting, as we did, at the every end of the day when all was still and silent, no-one else around, you cannot help but be struck by the extraordinary genius of the master ceramicists who created these beautiful houses of the dead.

Directions: Shah-i-Zindar is in the north-east of the city on the Tashkent Road, near the bazaar. It is surrounded by a cemetery which itself is worth a wander for lovers of tombstones and memorials.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 21, 2010
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