Bibi-Khanym Mosque in Samarkand

One of the memorable constructions built in Central Asia is known as "Bibi-Khanum Mosque".

Bibi-Khanym Mosque (Uzbek: Bibi-Xonum machiti) is a famous historical Friday mosque in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

This distinguished structure was dreamt up by Amir Taimur (Tamerlane) as a memorial of dedication to his beloved wife “Sarai Mulk “Bibi” Khanum ” who was a Mongolian princess and daughter of Kaankhan , the Khan of Chughtai province. ” Bibi Khanum” connotes to ” The great lady ” as she enjoyed the supreme status in all of the queens of the emperor Taimur.

  • History

    After his Indian campaign in 1399 Timur decided to undertake the construction of a gigantic mosque in his new capital, Samarkand.

    From his campaign the ruler returned with ninety-seven teams of elephants employed merely to carry precious stones.The mosque was built using precious stones captured during his conquest of India.

     

    The construction of Bibi Khanum mosque was begun May 11, 1399, and it took five years to complete. Two hundred architects, artists, master craftsmen, and mason assembled from all over the Timurid Empire, aided by five hundred labourers used to drag the materials into place. This immense edifice is the largest structure ever built of unfired, un-reinforced mud brick.

    Construction was completed in 1404.

  • Architecture

    The outer walls are 167 metres (182.63 yards) in length and 109 metres (119.20 yards) in width. The cupola of the main chamber reaches a height of 40 metres, and the entranceway is 35 metres high.

    Its courtyard is 432 feet long, 338 feet wide, paved with marble slabs, and surrounded by a roofed gallery. The entrance, the high-walled courtyard, is through the great gates with archways, and they have a marble base and tiled facade. The gates are flanked by twin 168-foot high ceramic columns. Each of the corners is four tall minarets. At the far end towers the enormous star spangled portal of Bibi Khanum, crowned by a colossal bright blue dome. A lot of damage was done by Russian cannon shells when they pierced its blue dome during the battle of Samarkand in 1868.

    Taimur’s grandson and successor in Samarkand, Ulugh Beg, was a major builder in his own right; obviously he made his contribution to the main mosque in the form of the oversized Quran stand which was placed first in the domed sanctuary and then moved to the center of the courtyard.

  • Nowadays

    Nowadays Bibi Khanum Mosque is only a monumental ruin for the visitors as the most of its parts have been deteriorated. The factors for reckoning of Bibi-Khanum Mosque were the earthquakes and nowadays its structure is containing only one third of its original construction. Although Soviets restored Bibi-Khanum Mosque in 1974 but curtailed its size smaller.