Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 3 October 2018.
(Click on any image to see it in a larger size.)
This is Gur Emir, Timur’s (Tamerlane’s) mausoleum in Samarkand.
People are walking in through the massive entrance gate at left in the previous image.
Another view looking through the gateway, with massive perspective distortion and strange cropping from a “corrected” view through an ultrawide lens.
The old doors are always impressive.
We have walked through the entrance arch, then through the entrance of the building, and are now in the internal courtyard.
Looking up at an archway, maybe facing back the way we came.
This is Timur’s empire at the time of his death in 1405. He was also known as Timur the Lame (Tamerlane) because of a limp caused by fused leg bones due to an early arrow wound and he lost a couple of fingers of his right hand at the same time due to another arrow. He was undefeated in battle but his empire did not long outlast him. This is because his aim was conquest and the glorification of himself, Samarkand and Kesh, rather than establishing viable administrations in the conquered territories.
He was highly intelligent and cultured and devoted to the arts and science. Conversely, he ruthlessly wiped out cities and peoples who opposed him and is said to be responsible for the deaths of seventeen million people. Consequently, he is seen in retrospect as a hero in Central Asia, but in the further reaches of his empire and beyond as a tyrant. The devastation he wrought made it difficult for successor states to recover and it also compromised the operation of Silk Road.
The Ming Dynasty had overthrown the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in 1368. Timur saw himself as a successor of Genghis Khan. He died in 1405 at the age of sixty-nine, just north of Samarkand, heading towards China with an invasion army of 200,000, intending to also meet up with the remnants of Yuan forces.
We are inside the mausoleum now, looking up.
Many of the surfaces are covered in gold leaf.
These are details, picked out with a long telephoto lens.
The next series of images are looking up or across with ultrawide lenses, mostly a fisheye (and may be partly corrected).
They are all exposure bracketed, each combining four to six images at different exposures, with an extreme contrast range.
It was also very difficult getting a clear overall view, as the mausoleum was filled with people.
At last the crowd cleared a little. There are seven marble tombs encircling a jade one, once the largest piece of jade in the world. They are place holders for the actual tombs in a chamber below. As well as for Timur, they are for his grandson Mohammed Sultan, Timur’s heir who pre-deceased him, another distinguished successor and grandson, Ulugh Beg, and several of his sons.
One last detail of the interior….
Now outside, out the back.
You can see that there are parts of the mausoleum that have not been restored.
Looking up at the top of a tower.
This merchandise area was out the back somewhere.
A last view from the front, but the other side to the first image. At the left you can see the foundations of the madrassah and khanagha (dervish hostel) that were built here prior to the mausoleum.