Memorial ensemble Shahi Zind is located near Afrasiab ancient city. The complex welcomes its visitors with the words: “This magnificent building was created by Abdulazizhan - son of Ulugbek-Kuragon, son of Shahrukh, son of Amir Timur-Kuragon in 838” (1434/35 CE).
About 36 broad steps lead people to up. If their numbers coincide during the ascent and descent, then your wish will certainly come true. Next you will see narrow medieval streets and eleven elegant mausoleums. They were built in sequence in the XIV - XV centuries. Members of Tamirlan family were buried in the necropolis. Military and religious leaders also received such high honor.
The ensemble received its name in honour of cousin of Prophet Muhammad – Kusama ibn Abbas. He was named as Shahi Zinda, which means Alive King in Persian. In the Middle Ages, the pilgrimage to his grave was equal to Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. From 640, he preached Islam to people of Samarkand Islam. About 13 years later he was killed by Zoroastrians. Subsequently, healing spring started to run near the tomb of the saint.
Burial-vaults of Shahi Zinda are mainly square one room buildings with domes, decorated with turquoise or blue tiles. The entrances to them are highlighted with portico. The walls of the mausoleums decorated with variety of majolica, carved mosaic and colored glazed bricks. Doors, neatly carved from wood, also pay special attention.
All buildings of necropolis are divided into three groups: lower, middle and upper. They connected by four-arched domed passages locally called chartak.
The main architectural monument of Shahi Zinda is the complex Kusam ibn Abbas. It consists of several buildings. Its entry door, dated to 1404-1405, is masterpiece work, inlaid with ivory.
In 2001, the memorial complex Shahi Zinda was included to UNESCO World Heritage List.