Nadezhda Dukhovny
Nadezhda Dukhovny

Ancient and Unique Uzbekistan: Samarkand Region IV

The new building of the Ulugh Beg Mirza Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.
This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Samarkand is rightfully proud of its ancient history, which it inherited from its famous ancestors. The architectural monuments of the city and the entire region serve as a living reminder of how the city has changed over the centuries. In addition to valuable architectural monuments, various museums operate on the territory of the region, where collections of antiquities are kept.

One of these museums is the Uzbekistan State History and Culture Museum, which occupies a special place in the list of the largest museums in the country.

The Uzbekistan State History and Culture Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The main composition of handicrafts and artworks belongs to the antiquity and the Middle Ages of the country and covers the culture of almost all regions of Uzbekistan.

Among them are a bone flute of the 2nd millennium BC, found at the Muminabad cemetery, silver bowls found in the Kuktepa settlement near Chelak, coins found in the Buddhist temple Karatepa, minted in the Kushan period, a Saka soldier helmet of the 6th century BC, and also a sample of Sogdian writing of the 6th century BC.
The Order of Amir Timur, awarded to the city of Samarkand in 1996, was also transferred to the museum for life storage.

nside the Uzbekistan State History and Culture Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

In the State Museum of the History of Culture of Uzbekistan, along with expositions that reveal the history of the peoples of the country and the peculiarities of their development, there are also collections added during the years of Independence, which show how the state itself has changed from an economic, social and political point of view.

Ulugh Beg Mirza memorial complex was founded in 1964 for the 570th anniversary of Ulugh Beg Mirza next to the observatory of the scientist, built in the 15th century.

The museum began its work as the 1st branch of the Uzbekistan History, Culture, and Art  Museum in 1966.

In the years of independence, the study and recognition of the heritage of Ulugh Beg Mirza have risen to a new level. In 1994, the 600th anniversary of the birth of Ulugh Beg was solemnly celebrated in Uzbekistan and at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Ulugh Beg Mirza statue. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

In connection with the UN announcement of 2009 as the Year of Astronomy, the 615th anniversary of the birth of Ulugh Beg Mirza was widely celebrated in Samarkand and Paris.

1994 was declared the Year of Ulugh Beg Mirza in Uzbekistan. Ulugh Beg Mirza’s Museum complex was restored in 2010.

The new building of the Ulugh Beg Mirza Museum was solemnly opened on September 9, 2010, in accordance with the new thematic plan. Under Ulugh Beg Mirza Samarkand was the scientific and cultural center of Maverannahr. During his reign, he gathered the most famous scientists in the field of mathematics and astronomy in Samarkand, devoting most of his time to science, and also issued a decree on the construction of an observatory in the north-east of the city.

The Ulugh Beg Mirza Observatory is one of the rare examples of 15th-century architecture. Due to the fact that it has become a leading scientific and educational center of the world, thousands of talented students from different countries of the East rushed to Samarkand.

The new building of the Ulugh Beg Mirza Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

They were trained by such scholars as Qadi Zada al-Rumi, Giyasiddin Koshi, and Ali Qushji, who were also close associates of Ulugh Beg Mirza. The observatory team consisted of more than 100 people.

Ulugh Beg Mirza and his school made a huge contribution to the development of world science and culture. His work is still being studied in the world’s leading scientific centers. The period during which Ulugbek lived and worked is really considered the golden age in the development of Eastern science.

Samarkand Regional Museum of Local Lore was founded in 1981. The museum is located in the city of Samarkand, on A. Jami street, 51, in one of the historical buildings belonging to Abram Kalantarov, the head of Bukharian Jews, one of the richest merchants of tsarist Russia. The museum was built in the period from 1902 to 1916 by the famous Russian architect E. Nelle. On the ground floor of a two-storey building in the eclectic style characteristic of 20th-century architecture, there are objects found in different regions of our country, telling a story from ancient times to the beginning of the 20th century. The museum displays stone tools, bone remains of animals and humans from Kramanyon (25-30 thousand years ago), found in Omonkutan, Zirabulak, and Kutirbulak, belonging to the period of primitive society 100-40 thousand years ago, as well as the dwelling of people belonging to the Upper Paleolithic.

Samarkand Regional Museum of Local Lore. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

One of the rare exhibits of the museum is a copy of Sir De Sanction’s book “The History of the Great Tamerlane”, published in Amsterdam in 1678. Also, the museum presents a view of the outer and inner courtyard of a rich peasant house of the 19th century, which is very interesting for tourists.

The second floor houses the department of nature, the Independence Hall, and the exhibitions are all about the history and modern life of Bukharian Jews. And also, both small and large hotels of A. Kalantarov continue to attract domestic and foreign visitors with their beautiful decoration and a variety of colors. The living room and some of the rooms have been preserved in their original form. The patterns on the walls of the living room are beautiful and have a special meaning due to the variety of colors. The ceiling is decorated with woodcarving, painted with oil paints, the walls are carved in ganch, and stained-glass windows in combination with ganch-lattices made in the “decorative” style give the room a special charm. To heat the building in winter, 7 glazed ceramic decorative heaters were installed, the decoration of which gave the premises a special comfort and chic. Currently, this building is taken under the protection of the state administration for the protection of architectural monuments.

Samarkand Regional Museum of Local Lore. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Afrosiyob museum is the museum of the history of the creation of the historical city of Samarkand. The area is 219 hectares of ruins.

Archaeologists have discovered 11 cultural layers here, one above the other. Afrosiab reflects culture over a historical period that lasted 2,100 years. In the modern relief of the city, one can easily distinguish the ruins of a mighty fortress, its powerful defensive walls, as well as traces of Dargom, through which water once entered the city.

Since 1989, an Uzbek-French expedition has been working over the ruins of the city of Afrosiyob.

Since 2010, the expedition of the Samarkand State Museum-Reserve has begun its work.

Afrosiyob Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Samarkand History Museum was opened in 1970 on October 24. The first hall of the museum presents materials on the history of the archaeological study of the ruins of Afrosiyob until the middle of the 19th century, a relief map of the city indicating archaeological sites and administrative monuments. The second room displays items related to the history of the first centuries of the city’s life. Items related to the Hellenistic era found their place in the third room.

Items covering the spiritual life and everyday life of Samarkand I-IV centuries took their place in the fourth hall. On the ground floor of the hall for the reception of ambassadors, on four walls, there are depicted the plots of four compositions: the reception of ambassadors by the ruler of Samarkand, reverence for the tomb of Father Varhuman, hunting a leopard, and other paintings. At the bottom of the western wall is the ceremony of the visit of ambassadors carrying gifts to King Varhuman, which corresponds to the inscriptions indicated in the lines. The content of the plots on the wall tells about the friendship of Tsar Varhuman with foreign states and the high position of the state. The exposition of the second floor covers the period of the Arab invasion of Central Asia and the subsequent period. After the visit of President Islam Karimov to the museum in 2009, a historical turn began in the museum’s activities, large-scale construction and landscaping works were carried out on its territory.

The Samarkand History Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The memorial house-museum of the writer Sadriddin Ayni who made a significant contribution to the Tajik literature of the new period was created on May 19, 1967.

Sadriddin Ayni was born on April 15, 1878, in the village of Saktar, Bukhara region, into a peasant family. He was educated in Muslim schools in Bukhara – in a madrasah, which is traditionally considered both a secondary and a higher religious school. S. Aini actively participates in the organization of the first schools of a new style in Bukhara, writes textbooks, poems, stories for them, and also promotes specific disciplines.

The memorial house-museum of the writer Sadriddin Ayni. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

On June 3, 1917, he moved to Samarkand and lived with friends for some time. Later, that is, in 1923, he rents the house of Khushkomilboy Obidov, and later buys this house, which has now become a museum and lived here until 1954. The House-Museum of Sadriddin Ayni is located in the house of the writer, where he conducted effective creative, scientific, and pedagogical activities for many years (1923-1954). Desiring sensible advice and friendly cooperation, colleagues of Sadriddin Ayni, colleagues, scientists, foreign guests, and young people from abroad came here. Sadriddin Ayni is known as the author of many short stories, novellas, novels, collections. He is the author of a wonderful epic novel “Slaves”, a five-part story “Souvenirs”, “Death of a Usurer” and a number of other works. The government of Tajikistan highly appreciated the writer’s merits and awarded him the honorary title of laureate of the State Prize. Sadriddin Ayni is not only a writer and poet but also a famous scientist, professor, first president of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, author of unique research on the history of Tajik and Uzbek literature. The writer was a member of the Supreme Soviet of the former USSR and the Republic of Tajikistan, holder of a number of orders and medals. During the period of independence of Tajikistan, Sadriddin Ayni was awarded the honorary title “Hero of Tajikistan”. On the eve of the 10th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan, by the decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Sadriddin Ayni was awarded the Order of Great Merit.

The memorial house-museum of the writer Sadriddin Ayni. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Historical Museum of the Pakhtachi District was founded in 1970. The museum consists of expositions functioning in 7 halls:

The archeology hall of the museum displays exhibits dating back to the 16th-17th centuries. The exhibits were found during archaeological excavations of the ancient fortress of Dobusia, and were also brought from Oktepa and Karatepa.

In the hall showing the everyday life and economic life of the population, kitchen and cutlery, a loom with handicraft products, the interior decoration of peasant houses, a blacksmith’s workshop and tools, as well as agricultural tools are exhibited.

The exposition of Amir Timur and Timurids includes exhibits reflecting the rich heritage of this dynasty in the field of state affairs, science, culture, creativity, as well as the scientific, literary, cultural and spiritual heritage of such great scientists as Alisher Navoi and Avicenna. Items of folk art, including men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, burqas and suzane of the 17th-18th centuries are on display.

The Historical Museum of the Pahtachi District. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Exhibits, paintings, and information about the 20th-century enlighteners Chulpan, Fitrat, and others attract the attention of visitors. This section contains photographs of famous singers of our people J. Sultanov, Y. Rajabov, M. Uzokov, K. Otaniyozov.

 

The Historical Museum of the Pahtachi District. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

This section contains photos of typical houses, professional colleges, the holiday of Sumalak and Navruz, as well as photos of handmade masters. The exposition entitled “Samarkand Yesterday and Today” presents photographs of the city of Samarkand before and after gaining independence.

Ishtykhan Region History Museum the museum opens a very interesting page in the history of the region. The first information about Ishtykhan can be read from Chinese sources dating back to the 6th-8th centuries. Ishtyhan is said to be referred to as “Cao” in Chinese. We can see a lot of information about Ishtykhan in the works of Arab sages and historians, as well as in Chinese sources.

Ishtykhan was the center of the khanate, in which Sogdian tribes called Ikhshids lived several centuries before the Arab conquest and after it. The word “Ishtykhan”, in fact, came from the name of this khanate “Ikhshidkhan”, which was later changed in pronunciation to “Ishtykhan”.

Museum of History of the Ishtykhan Region. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Judging by the records of Arab historians, the border of this khanate was “one-day” from north to south and “five-day” from east to west. The center of the khanate Ishtykhan was founded as a trading city in the Middle Ages due to its location on the caravan route. Here, along with other types of crafts, compact bricks faced with patterns on the edges were especially popular. In the 9th-11th centuries, the khans who ruled here issued copper coins with their names. In those days, Ishtykhan consisted of a hexagonal city and the environs of rabat. However, after the Mongol invasion and as a result of internecine feudal wars, the position of the city fell every day, and at the end of the 17th century, the city was finally destroyed, in its place a small village remained.

During the years of independence, the appearance of the Ishtykhan district has completely changed, and its place and authority among the districts are increasing.

Museum of History of the Ishtykhan Region. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Kattakurgan City Museum of History and Local Lore was founded in 1974 on a voluntary basis. The building of the madrasah, built in 1804 by Muhammad Aminhoja Nakibbek, was chosen for the city museum of local lore. 1976 May 23, the museum of the city of Kattakurgan was transformed into a city history and local history museum of the 4th category. Currently, the museum has 5 departments:

1. Archaeological exposition

2. Exposition of nature

3. Exposition of national crafts

4. General exhibition of crafts

  1. The exhibition entitled Kattakurgan yesterday and today is dedicated to the independence of the Republic.
The Kattakurgan City Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

At the end of the 18th century, there were four gates in Kattakurgan: the Bozor gate in the north, the Khaidarchaman gate in the east, the Samarkand gate in the south, and the Bukhara gate in the west. The museum displays photographs of the Kattakurgan Gate of 1868, made in black and white.

The Kattakurgan City Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The house-museum of Khoja Abdulaziz Abdurasulov was transferred to the disposal of the Samarkand State Museum-Reserve in 2020.

The House Museum of Khoja Abdulaziz Abdurasulov. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The exposition demonstrates selected and collected items of ethnographic, handicraft, applied and fine arts, manuscripts, books, audio and video documents, photographic documents, and other exhibits that personify the rich cultural environment of the Uzbek people.
Khoja Abdulaziz Abdurasulov was born in 1854 in one of the ancient mahallas of the city of Samarkand in the family of the craftsman Abdurasul.
His father, originally from the Karategin region of present-day Tajikistan, began to instill in Abdulaziz a love of music from a young age. In his free time from work, he took with him an old dombra, which he had brought from his homeland, and sang songs. So young Abdulaziz began to train slowly. His sonorous voice charmed everyone.
His father insisted that he would become a famous musician, and for this, he would have to practice and study music a lot. Abdulaziz, for his part, dreamed of becoming a real skillful master of his craft.
A number of songs performed by Haji Abdulaziz Abdurasulov were recorded on gramophone records and radio tape.
At the age of eighty, the master was lucky enough to sing at the first rally of artists of Uzbekistan, which took place in February 1933. On the same day, Khoja Abdulaziz Abdurasulov and master Halim Ibadov were awarded the honorary title “People’s Singer of Uzbekistan”.

The House Museum of Khoja Abdulaziz Abdurasulov. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

In 1935, Haji Abdulaziz was summoned to Tashkent again. This year the 83-year-old singer recorded the songs “Guluzorim”, “Bozurgoni”, “Bebokcha”, “Taronai Ushshok” on the gramophone record.
He died on January 9, 1936.

The Ergash Jumanbulbul Ugli Memorial Museum, created in memory of the great storyteller, was opened in a new building in March 2020.
Ergash Jumanbulbul ugli was one of the famous storytellers, according to the words of the national poet of Uzbekistan Abdulla Oripov “Navoi of oral folk art”.
His father Jumanbulbul paid great attention to the training of his son Ergash who was educated as a performer of dastans (epics) from his father.
In 1884-86, he studied at one of the Bukhara madrasahs, studied Persian and Arabic languages, as well as calligraphy.

The Ergash Jumanbulbul Ugli Memorial Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

He read the works of Navoi, Fuzuli, Hafiz, Bedil, Mashrab, Makhtumkuli. However, due to financial difficulties and the death of his father in 1886, he could not continue his studies.
In 1926-1928 Ergash Jumanbulbul Ugli, together with the poets Pulkan and Fazil Yuldash Ugli wrote and performed epics known by heart in the village of Kirkshodi, Bulungur region.
In 1936 Ergash Jumanbulbul Ugli arrived in Tashkent and until April 1937 he lived in the house of folklorist T. Zaripov, where dastans were recorded on the first recording devices.
The creativity of Ergash Jumanbulbul ugli is rich and varied. The poet knew by heart about 30 folk legends.

The Ergash Jumanbulbul Ugli Memorial Museum. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Samarkand Region Tourism and Sports Department.

His poems are considered outstanding works. The great poet died in April 1937 in the village of Kushtamgali, and his legacy is still widely studied.

About the Author
Nadezhda Dukhovny was born and raised in Uzbekistan and made aliya in 2005. She holds an MA in Linguistics from Tel Aviv University and works in translation. She has a true interest about her motherland and would like to tell more about that fascinating country to make Israeli readers familiar with another culture from other part of the globe.
Related Topics
Related Posts
Comments