Day 41: Ulugbek Observatory

Affairs of the state often kept Ulugbek from his passion for the stars, but being Sultan comes with its perks.  In addition to founding three madrassas to advance the world's understanding of astronomy and mathematics, the Timurid ruler also built one of the most important observatories of the Middle Ages in his capital city of … Continue reading Day 41: Ulugbek Observatory

Day 51: Kalon Minaret

Landmarks are by their very definition supposed to leave you with the impression of greatness, but the Kalon Minaret is a special case.  Not only was it built with that purpose in mind from the very beginning, but it was supposedly spared destruction by Genghis Khan because he was so impressed by how great it … Continue reading Day 51: Kalon Minaret

Day 92: Monument of Courage

On the 26th of April 1966, Tashkent, 4th largest city of the USSR, and capital of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, was hit by a major earthquake, reducing large portions of the city to rubble.  Hardest hit were traditional mud-brick style single story dwellings which at the time made up the majority of the city's … Continue reading Day 92: Monument of Courage

Legend of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque

For a bit of a romantic twist in the history of Samarkand, we visited the massive 14th century Bibi-Khanym Mosque. The monument is best known today for an illicit affair that supposedly took place between Timur's Queen, and the mosque's architect. Legend says that while Timur was away during his military campaign to India, his favorite wife, Queen Saray Mulk Khanum, ordered … Continue reading Legend of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque