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Bibi Khanum Mosque| Samarkand Best Attractions & Sights

From lots of big constructions of Amir Temur only four are preserved nowadays. One of these big-four of Tamerlane is the mosque of Bibi Khanum decorating a good part of old Samarkand.  Besides Bibi Khanum is called “the Taj Mahal of Samarkand” because this mosque is a gift of Temur to his favorite wife – Bibi Khanum.

The construction of the mosque took over 5 years time. The construction works began in 1398 when Temur was planning his big military expedition to India and was finished in 1404, few months before the death of Samarkand’s most reputed ruler. In 1404 Rui Gonzales de Clavijo (Spanish ambassador) has visited the mosque and in his memories he writes that the workers were finishing some details of the decorations and every day the richest generals, traders of Samarkand used to come and distribute money to the workers in orders to encourage them to finish the works as fast as possible. Clavijo gives lots of interesting information about this mosque and other constructions of Samarkand but when he had written his memories he had made one mistake about Bibi Khanum:

  • When he had seen Bibi Khanum (at one of the parties organized in Samarkand in 1404) she was too white with o much makeup on her face and also she walked like Chinese women. According to this he thought that she was a Chinese princess. Most of the European historians copied this and in their books they have described Bibi Khanum as a Chinese woman. Actually she was a Mongol princess.

The mosque has always been among the top important places in Samarkand and it is more than worth paying a good visit.


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