Bibi Khonym
Location Samarkand

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Bibi Khanym
Bibi Khonum
Bibi Honum
Bibi Khonym
Bibi Khonym Mausoleum
Bibi Khonym


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After his Indian campaign, Tamerlane in 1399 decided to undertake the construction of a gigantic cathedral mosque in his new capital, Samarkand. To this day the mosque known as the Bibi-Khanym still overawes in its size and magnificence.

The cupola of the main chamber is raised up to 40 m. The length of the outer walls (see picture 1) is to 167 m. (182.63 yds.) longways and 109 m (119.20 yds.) in width. The cupola of the main chamber (see picture 2) is raised up to 40 m. (131.23 ft.).

When construction was completed in 1404 it gripped minds of many poets. The Bibi-Khanym was compared to the beauty and brilliance of the Milky Way. However, contemporaries of Tamerlane soon noticed that not long after the mosque became a place of worship, the building began to collapse and fall into ruin

The original impulse of its creator was perhaps too impertinent, as he attempted to realise what was at the time an almost unreal architectural idea. But perhaps there was a more deep reason of its collapse. It is commonly known that rulers often build temples in an attempt to please God.

The Bibi-Khanym might have been intended as a huge thank-offering by the Emperor Timur after his successful Indian campaign. Or was it perhaps built in atonement for his many sins? The capture of Delhi was remarkable for its excessive cruelty. When Tamerlane over-ran India, he left a trail of carnage all the way to Delhi, where he reduced the city to rubble and massacred 100,000 inhabitants. The truth will always remain a mystery. At least it looks as if God rejected the bloody offering, whatever kind it was. More plausibly the mosque almost certainly began to collapse because it was built of mud-brick in the middle of an earthquake zone, and its dome was too high to remain stable.

Until the end of 20 c. the ruins of the Bibi-Khanym (see picture 3) was remained as a very good illustration of what the Prophet said: "Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to downfall". It has recently been rebuilt (see picture 4), but there is no reason to be proud in any way, because History will never tire of repeating its lessons. The reconstruction by the Government of Uzbekistan has also obliterated what little original work was left, and the Bibi Khanym you see today is effectively a brand-new building.

As time has gone by, the reality of the mosque's construction has become embroiled with a legend of the Architect's love for Timur's Chinese queen , Bibi-Khanym. Alas, romantic hopes are doomed to disappointment. There is no trustworthy source for the tale that Tamerlane had a wife that was known by the name Bibi-Khanym (which just means 'woman-woman' in Persian). Tamerlane's senior wife, the powerful old woman Saray mulk Khanym, in honour of whom the mosque was named, does not bring to mind the beautiful heroine of this charming fairy tale. It is said that Saray mulk Khanym managed the construction of another building opposite the Bibi-Khanym, which by tradition is identified as the Mausoleum of Bibi-Khanym (see picture 5).

The bazaar at the foot of the Bibi-Khanym (see picture 6) has changed little since 600 years ago.

Nearest Hotels:
 - Bonu-Sh
 - Bahodir
 - Furkat

Samarkand tourist attractions:

- The museum of formation of Samarkand on Afrosiab
- Ensemble of Registan
- Gur-Emir Mausoleum
- Shakh-i-Zinda Ensemble
- Bibi-Khonym Mosque
- Khazrat-Khizr Mosque
- The Mausoleum of Khodja Doniyor (Prophet Daniel)
- The observatory and memorial museum of Ulugbek
- Khodja Zuemurod Mosque
- The Mausoleum of Bibi-Khonym
- Kok Mosque
- Chorsu ancient trading dome
- The Mausoleum of Abu Mansur Matridiy
- Rukhobod Mausoleum
- Aksaray Mausoleum
- Khodja-Nisbatdor Mosque
- The Mausoleum of Khodja Abdu Darun
- Ishrat-Khana (Ishrathona)
- Namazgokh Mosque
- Ruins of Kok Saray, former Palace Of Timur.

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