Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures

Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures

The historic town of Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world's cultures. Founded in the 7th century B.C. as ancient Afrasiab, Samarkand had its most significant development in the Timurid period from the 14th to the 15th centuries. The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, as well as Ulugh-Beg's Observatory.

Samarkand – carrefour de cultures

La ville historique de Samarkand représente un carrefour et un lieu de synthèse des cultures du monde entier. Fondée au VIIe siècle avant l'ère chrétienne sous le nom d'Afrasyab, Samarkand connut son apogée à l'époque timouride, du XIVe au XVe siècle. Les principaux monuments comprennent la mosquée et les médersas du Registan, la mosquée de Bibi-Khanum, l'ensemble de Shah i-Zinda et celui de Gur i-Emir, ainsi que l'observatoire d'Ulugh-Beg.

سمرقند – ملتقى الثقافات

تُعتبر مدينة سمرقند ملتقى ومكانًا يجمع ثقافات العالم بأسره. فهي تأسّست في القرن السابع قبل الميلاد تحت اسم افراسياب وعرفت ذروة ازدهارها في العصر التيموريين الذي امتد من القرن الرابع عشر حتى القرن الخامس عشر وتضم آثاراها الاساسية مسجد رجستان ومدارسها ومسجد بيبي خانوم ومجموعة شاه الزندا ومجموعة غوري الامير، بالاضافة الى مرصد ألُق بك.

source: UNESCO/ERI

处在文化十字路口的撒马尔罕城

撒马尔罕历史名城是世界多元文化交汇的大熔炉,建于公元前7世纪,在公元14世纪至15世纪的贴木尔王朝时期得到了重要发展。撒马尔罕拥有众多著名的古代建筑,如列吉斯坦伊斯兰教神学院、比比·哈内姆大清真寺、贴木尔家族陵墓和兀鲁伯天文台等。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Самарканд – перекресток культур

Древний Самарканд можно определить как «перекресток» и «плавильный котел» многих мировых культур. Основанный в VII в. до н.э. под названием Афрасиаб, наивысший подъем в своем развитии город пережил в XIV–XV вв., во времена правления Тимуридов. Главные достопримечательности Самарканда – три медресе на площади Регистан, соборная мечеть Биби-Ханым, комплекс мавзолеев Шахи-Зинда, мавзолей Гур-Эмир и Обсерватория Улугбека.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Samarcanda - Encrucijada de culturas

La ciudad histórica de Samarcanda fue una encrucijada y un crisol de culturas del mundo entero. Fundada en el siglo VII a.C. con el nombre de Afrasyab, alcanzó su apogeo en los siglos XIV y XV bajo los timúridas. Entre sus principales monumentos destacan la mezquita y las madrazas del Registán, la mezquita Bibi-Khanum, los conjuntos arquitectónicos de Shah i-Zinda y Gur i-Emir, y el observatorio de Ulugh-Beg.

source: UNESCO/ERI

サマルカンド-文化交差路
ウズベキスタン中東部、サマルカンド州の州都。紀元前6世紀から知られる中央アジア最古の都市。12~13世紀には商業都市、14~15世紀にはチムール帝国の首都として繁栄した。"サマル"は人々が出会う、"カンド"は町の意。文字通りサマルカンドは世界の交差点、諸文化の融合する地である。14~15世紀のレギスタン・モスク、ビビ‐ハヌイム・モスク、シャーヒ‐ジンダ、グール‐エミール、ウル‐ベグ天文台など著名なイスラム建造物が現存する。

source: NFUAJ

Samarkand – kruispunt van culturen

De historische stad Samarkand is een kruispunt en smeltkroes van culturen uit de hele wereld. De stad werd gesticht in de 7e eeuw voor Christus als het oude Afrasiab. De meest belangrijke ontwikkelingen maakte Samarkand door van de 14e tot de 15e eeuw tijdens de Timurid-periode. De belangrijkste monumenten in de stad zijn de Registan-moskee en madrassas, de Bibi-Khanu-moskee, de complexen Shakhi-Zinda en Gur-Emir en het Ulugh-Beg’s-observatorium. Hoewel de belangrijkste monumenten goed zijn onderhouden, is een deel van de middeleeuwse kenmerken toch verloren gegaan. Niettemin is er nog steeds een aanzienlijk deel van de stad bewaard gebleven, waaronder een aantal prachtige traditionele huizen.

Source: unesco.nl

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Sherdar Medressa, Lions gate, Registan, Samarkand, Usbekistan, UNESCO World Heritage Site Médersa Sher-Dor, La Porte des Lions, Régistan, Samarkand (Samarcande), Ouzbékistan, Site du Patrimoine Mondial de l’UNESCO Shir dar Medrese, Tigerhaus, Rigestan, Samarkand, Usbekistan, Welterbe der UNESCO © M & G Therin-Weise
Outstanding Universal Value
Brief synthesis

The historic town of Samarkand, located in a large oasis in the valley of the Zerafshan River, in the north-eastern region of Uzbekistan, is considered the crossroads of world cultures with a history of over two and a half millennia. Evidence of settlements in the region goes back to 1500 BC, with Samarkand having its most significant development in the Temurid period, from the 14th to the 15th centuries, when it was capital of the powerful Temurid realm.

The historical part of Samarkand consists of three main sections. In the north-east there is the site of the ancient city of Afrosiab, founded in the 7th century BC and destroyed by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, which is preserved as an archaeological reserve. Archaeological excavations have revealed the ancient citadel and fortifications, the palace of the ruler (built in the 7th century displays important wall paintings), and residential and craft quarters. There are also remains of a large ancient mosque built from the 8th to 12th centuries.

To the south, there are architectural ensembles and the medieval city of the Temurid epoch of the 14th and 15th centuries, which played a seminal role in the development of town planning, architecture, and arts in the region. The old town still contains substantial areas of historic fabric with typical narrow lanes, articulated into districts with social centres, mosques, madrassahs, and residential housing. The traditional Uzbek houses have one or two floors and the spaces are grouped around central courtyards with gardens; built in mud brick, the houses have painted wooden ceilings and wall decorations.  The contribution of the Temurid masters to the design and construction of the Islamic ensembles were crucial for the development of Islamic architecture and arts and exercised an important influence in the entire region, leading to the achievements of the Safavids in Persia, the Moghuls in India, and even the Ottomans in Turkey.

To the west there is the area that corresponds to the 19th and 20th centuries expansions, built by the Russians, in European style. The modern city extends around this historical zone. This area represents traditional continuity and qualities that are reflected in the neighbourhood structure, the small centres, mosques, and houses. Many houses retain painted and decorated interiors, grouped around courtyards and gardens.

The major monuments include the Registan mosque and madrasahs, originally built in mud brick and covered with decorated ceramic tiles, the Bibi-Khanum Mosque and Mausoleum, the Shakhi-Zinda compound, which contains a series of mosques, madrasahs and mausoleum, and the ensembles of Gur-Emir and Rukhabad, as well as the remains of Ulugh-Bek’s Observatory.

Criterion (i): The architecture and townscape of Samarkand, situated at the crossroads of ancient cultures, are masterpieces of Islamic cultural creativity.

Criterion (ii): Ensembles in Samarkand such as the Bibi Khanum Mosque and Registan Square played a seminal role in the development of Islamic architecture over the entire region, from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent.

Criterion (iv): The historic town of Samarkand illustrates in its art, architecture, and urban structure the most important stages of Central Asian cultural and political history from the 13th century to the present day.

Integrity

The different historic phases of Samarkand’s development from Afrosiab to the Temurid city and then to the 19th century development have taken place alongside rather than on top of each other. These various elements which reflect the phases of city expansion have been included within the boundaries of the property. The inscribed property is surrounded by more recent developments, of which parts are in the buffer zone. Afrosiab has been partly excavated and the Temurid and European parts of the city are being conserved as living historic urban areas.

The main listed monuments are well maintained. Some of the medieval features have been lost, such as the city walls and the citadel, as well as parts of the traditional residential structures especially in areas surrounding major monuments. Nevertheless, it still contains a substantial urban fabric of traditional Islamic quarters, with some fine examples of traditional houses.

Notwithstanding, there are several factors that can render the integrity of the property vulnerable that require sustained management and conservation actions.

Authenticity

The architectural ensembles of Samarkand as well as archaeological remains of Afrosiab have preserved all characteristic features related to the style and techniques and have maintained the traditional spatial plans of the urban quarter. However, inadequate restoration interventions as well as the challenges faced in controlling changes, particularly the construction of modern buildings, and the modernization on private properties have affected the authenticity of the property and make the property vulnerable to further changes.

Protection and management requirements

There are adequate legal provisions for the safeguarding of the heritage property. The State Samarkand Historical Architectural Reserve was established under the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan (26 May 1982). Within the Reserve all construction and development work is done according to the recommendations of the Samarkand Regional Inspection on Preservation and Restoration of Objects of Cultural Heritage.

The overall responsibility of the management of protected areas is with the Ministry of Cultural and Sport Affairs and the Samarkand provincial government. The operating bodies that influence the conservation and management of the property include the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Principal Scientific Board for Preservation and Utilization of Cultural Monuments, the Municipalities of the Samarkand Region and Samarkand city, the Samarkand Regional State Inspection on Protection and Utilization of Cultural Heritage Objects. Decisions on construction/reconstruction within the protective Reserve of Samarkand are taken in consultation with the Samarkand Regional State Inspection on Protection and Utilization of Monuments, or by the Scientific Board on Protection and Utilization of Monuments in Samarkand. Major projects receive approval at the national level.

The Regional State Inspection on Protection and Utilization of Cultural Heritage is in charge of day-to-day activities related to the monuments such as registration, monitoring, technical supervision of conservation and restoration, or technical expertise of new projects, these are implemented by the Scientific Board on Protection and Utilization of Monuments in Samarkand, which is obtaining the function of a Coordinating Committee and should have the main role to bring together all parties with interest in the conservation and development of Samarkand. Taking into account a scope and a complexity of issues facing the property, site management system could be strengthened through an operational unit.

The sustained implementation of the Management Plan is needed to ensure to further improve the cooperation between the various national and local authorities and set international standards for conservation. Several factors that can pose a threat to the conditions of integrity and authenticity of the property need to be systematically addressed through the implementation of an integrated conservation strategy, that follows internationally accepted conservation standards, as well as through the enforcement of regulatory measures.  The management system will need to be integrated into other planning tools so that the existing urban matrix and morphology of the world heritage property are protected.

Funding is provided by the State budget, extra-budgetary sources and sponsorship. Resources needed for all aspects of conservation and development of the property should be secured to ensure the continuous operation of the management system.

Long Description

The historic town of Samarkand illustrates in its art, architecture and urban structure the most important stages of Central Asian cultural and political history from the 13th century to the present day. Ensembles such as the Bibi Khanum Mosque and Registan Square played a seminal role in the development of Islamic architecture over the entire region, from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent.

Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world's cultures. Founded in the 7th century BC as ancient Afrosiab, Samarkand had its most significant development in the Timurid period from the 14th to 15th centuries. Located on the crossroads of the great trade routes that traversed Central Asia, Samarkand has a multi-millennial history. Archaeological excavations have brought to light the remains of settlements from the first half of the 1st millennium BCE. Afrosiab had a strategic location at the time of the formation of the first large states in Central Asia, such as Khorezm, Bactria and Sogd, and it was the capital of Sogdiana. It was part of the Achaemenid Empire (6th-4th centuries BC) and that of Alexander the Great (4th century BC). The city became prosperous and an important centre of silk trade in the 2nd century AD.

The city was part of a Turkish kingdom in the 6th century, and was conquered by Kuteiba-ibn-Muslim in 712 CE, starting the penetration of Islamic culture into the region. The Arabs rulers turned the ancient temples into mosques, administrative centres, places of learning, courts, and treasuries. The Samanids of Iran occupied the place from the 9th to 10th centuries and Turkic peoples from the 11th to 13th centuries; it was part of the Kingdom of Khwarezm in the 13th century, until it was devastated by the Mongol invasion of Genghis Khan in 1220. The city emerged as a major centre through the efforts of Timur the Lame (Tamerlane, c . 1336-1405). It was rebuilt on its present site, south-west of Afrosiab, and became the capital of Timur's powerful state and the repository of the material riches from conquered territories that extended from Central Asia to Persia, Afghanistan, and India. It remained a cultural capital of the Timurids until the reign of Ulugh Bek (1409-49) and his successors. Timur built a citadel, the Blue Palace (Kuk-Saray), and other important buildings. The period was characterized by a new synthesis of arts; local traditions were influenced from other regions of the empire (Persian Khorasan, Khorezm). The eastern gates of the town linked with the city centre, known as Registan Square, where Ulugh Bek started building a major complex in 1447.

In the 16th century, during the Uzbek occupation (1500), Samarkand gradually lost its earlier importance, although some notable construction works were still undertaken in the 17th century. In 1868 the Russians conquered Samarkand, making it a provincial capital (1887) and thus reviving its economy. The Caspian Railway came to the town in 1888, linking European Russia and Central Asia and reinforcing the role of Samarkand as an important trade centre. Russia constructed schools, churches, and hospitals, and the western part of Samarkand was redeveloped according to current town planning ideas. The period, however, also led to the destruction of the city walls and gates, as well as of several monuments, such as Timur's citadel. At the beginning of the 20th century the city included three main sectors: the archaeological area of the ancient city (Afrosiab), the medieval Timurid city, and the modern city, which was the capital of the Uzbek SSR from 1924 to 1930 and later an administrative centre.

The World Heritage site consists of series of monuments, the most important of which are the Shakhi-Zinda ensemble, Hazrat-Hizr Mosque, and remains of the city walls in the Afrosiab archaeological area; the Bibi-Khanum ensemble; the Registan ensemble; the ensembles of Gur-Emir and Rukhabad; Ulugh-Bek's Observatory; the ensembles of Abdi-Darun and Ishrat-khona; and the City Garden ensemble in the 19th-century town.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Located on the crossroads of the great trade routes that traversed Central Asia, Samarkand has a multi-millennial history. Archaeological excavations in present-day Samarkand have brought to light the remains of settlements related to the first half of the 1st millennium BCE. The ancient Afrosiab (the predecessor of Samarkand) had a strategic location at the time of the formation of the first large states in Central Asia, such as Khorezm, Baktria, and Sogd, and it was the capital of Sogdiana. It was part of the Achaemenid Empire (6th-4th centuries BCE) and that of Alexander the Great (4th century BCE). Situated at the crossing of trade routes from China, Afghanistan, Iran, India, and the Caucasus, the city became prosperous and an important centre of silk trade in the 2nd century CE. The city was part of a Turkish kingdom in the 6th century, and was conquered by Kuteiba-ibn-Muslim in 712 CE, starting the penetration of Islamic culture into the region of the present-day Uzbekistan (Maverannahr or Transoxiana). The Arabs rulers turned the ancient temples into mosques, administrative centres, places of learning, courts, and treasuries.

The Samanids of Iran occupied the place from the 9th to 10th centuries and Turkic peoples from the 11th to 13th centuries; it was part of the Kingdom of Khwarezm in the 13th century, until it was devastated by the Mongol invasion of Genghis Khan in 1220. The city emerged as a major centre through the efforts of Timur the Lame (Tamerlane) (1369-1404). It was rebuilt on its present site, south-west of Afrosiab, and became the capital of Timur's powerful state and the repository of the material riches from conquered territories that extended from Central Asia to Persia, Afghanistan, and India. It remained a cultural capital of the Timurids until the end of the 15th century, during the reign of Ulugh Bek (1409-49) and his successors. Timur built a citadel, the Blue Palace (Kuk- Saray), and other important buildings. The period was characterized by a new synthesis of arts; local traditions were influenced from other regions of the empire (Persian Khorasan, Khorezm), resulting in the construction of major religious ensembles, such as Bibi-Khanum Mosque in front of the main city gates, the Gur Emir complex, and the Grave of Emir near the palace of Muhammad Sultan. The eastern gates of the town linked with the city centre, known as Registan Square, where Ulugh Bek started the construction of a major complex in 1447.

In the 16th century, during the Uzbek occupation (1500), Samarkand became the Khanate of Bukhara and gradually lost its earlier importance, though some notable construction works were still undertaken in the 17th century. These included the Madrassah of Shir-Dor built by Yalandtush Bahadur on Registan Square opposite the Ulugh Bek Madrassah, followed by the Tilla Kari Madrassah, a new Friday mosque, to complete the ensemble. In the 18th century, the city suffered a serious economic decline.

In 1868 the Russians conquered Samarkand, making it a provincial capital (1887) and thus reviving its economy. The Caspian Railway was brought to the town in 1888, linking the European part of Russia and Central Asia and again reinforcing the role of Samarkand as an important trade centre. The Russian administration constructed schools, churches, and hospitals, and the western part of Samarkand was redeveloped according to current townplanning ideas. The period, however, also led to the destruction of the city walls and gates, as well as of several monuments, such as Timur's citadel. At the beginning of the 20th century the city thus included three main sectors one next to the other: the archaeological area of the ancient city (Afrosiab), the medieval Timurid city, and the modern city, the construction of which started in the 1870s. The city was the capital of the Uzbek SSR from 1924 to 1930 and later an administrative centre.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation