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Friday, 6 October, 2000, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Uzbekistan restores Timurid legacy
Wintry warrior
Tamerlane the Great now dominates the square where Karl Marx's statue once stood
By BBC Monitoring's Lewis Macleod

Since independence in 1991 Uzbekistan has been restoring the legacy of its great 14th Century conqueror Tamerlane the Great - Amir Timur.

The current Uzbek leadership has eradicated most of the traces of the former Soviet Union's domination.

Invoking the Timurid spirit in a televised address to the nation earlier this year, President Islam Karimov said: "You are descendants of a great people - you have in your hands the might of Tamerlane".

Tamerlane the Great was born in 1336 near Samarkand to a minor aristocratic family. By 1370 he was master of Transoxiana and Samarkand.

For the next 35 years he led his mounted archers as far afield as Moscow and Delhi. Persia and Turkey also fell to the great conqueror. On his way to a showdown with the Ming Chinese Empire, Tamerlane was taken ill and he died in 1405.


On his death his son Shahrukh ruled the eastern part of Persia from Herat while his grandson Ulug Beg ruled the rest of the empire from Samarkand.

The final resting place of the Timurid dynasty is also in Samarkand. The interior of the mausoleum has been superbly restored and work is continuing on the exterior surroundings.

Ulug Beg was a scientist and an astronomer who upset the Sufi clergy and died a violent death. He built an observatory that was a marvel of the age and which was restored a few years ago.

Dynastic burial place
Tamerlane's tomb in Samarkand has seen extensive restoration work

Lavish interior work reflects ancient splendour
The richly restored interior of Tamerlane's mausoleum is a new source of pride for Uzbeks

Detail of tomb interior wall
Superb craftsmanship and materials have been used to glorify Timurid legacy

Islamic architectural landmark
The Registan in Samarkand; world class heritage site of Timurid dynasty

Observatory was wonder of the age
Ulug beg, 14th century astronomer king

Star gazers's vantage point
Observatory where Ulug Beg plotted the positions of around 1,000 stars has been restored

Samarkand was centre of Islamic civilization
Techniques for producing the characteristic blue colour of the ceramic tiling have now been lost

Tamerlane photo reproduced with the kind permission of Vickie Abel.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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