SHAKHRISABZ is Temur’s home town, where everything somehow or other is connected with his name. Here the lord was born and grew up, here many members of his dynasty were buried.
Long before the birth of Central Asia’s foremost conqueror the city known under the name of Kesh had his own historical destiny and like many other prosperous cities of Transoxiana it witnessed the invasion of the Arabs and Mongols. By 1336, the year of Temur’s birth, Kesh and its dependencies were ruled by the Barlas clan. At the age of 25, using his Barlas lineage, Temur managed to become the lord of Kesh and the whole Kashkadarya river valley. A decade later he already ruled Transoxiana itself. While Samarkand was better suited to become the jewel of his empire, Temur paid great attention to strengthen and beautify Kesh. He made a fantastic job to make the city “a pedestal of throne“. By his orders the best architects, builders, masters of architectural decor were brought here and together with the local masters they erected majestic buildings thus embodying the experience and traditions of various countries and laying down fundamentals of monumental style, the style that defined the distinctive features of Central Asia’s architecture of the 14th-15th centuries. It was at this period that Kesh took a new appellation, Shakhrisabz, Green town, after the spring verdure of its many gardens.
Abdulla Khan of Bukhara destroyed much of the Timurid legacy in the late 16th century. One of the local legends says that on the approach to the city he saw a bright glittering of the city’s domes covered with gold. It seemed to him that the city was just in a stone’s throw. So he galloped his favourite horse towards the city. Soon the horse fell dead from exhaustion and still the glittering silhouettes of Shakhrisabz were looming far ahead at the horizon. The furious ruler from Bukhara ordered to destroy the city. In spite of this fact the city has preserved a rich store of history in legend and architecture.
The city can boast of Ak-Saray Palace, which is notable for its magnificence and monumentality of its forms, the ensembles like Dorus-Tilyavat and Dorus-Saodat — vivid illustrations of architectural style of Temur’s epoch.