Renaissance - Period of Amir Timur and the Timurids

As a result of the liberation struggles of the local peoples the supremacy of the Mongols in Central Asia was destroyed. The most powerful political figure of this period was Amir Timur (1336-1405 AD), who was born in the village of Khoja Ilgor near the city of Kish (modern-day Shakhrisabz) in Kashkadarya, southern Uzbekistan. He became famous throughout the world as a military commander and founder of a powerful centralized empire. He made a great contribution to the development of world culture and the arts and applied enormous effort to his country’s growth. Events of the period are reflected in a colourful wall panel, ‘Amir Timur in World History’, created by a team of artists headed by A. Alikulov. The image of Amir Timur, depicted on a white horse, represents the noble character attributed to the ruler with a distinctive and harmonious blending of the qualities of purposefulness, decisiveness, strong will and sincerity. Amongst the exhibits are a map (‘The State of Amir Timur’), miniatures, diagrams and various other materials. A remarkable archaeological discovery from the period are the substantial remains of a warrior’s armour found on the banks of the Syr Darya.


Manuscripts from the Timurid period including the ‘Wonders of Destiny in the History of Amir Timur’ by Akhmad ibn Arabshakh and the ‘Zafarnama’ (Book of Victory’) by Sharuf ud-Din Ali Yazdi, provide information which elucidate the life and exploits of the ruler and reveal his character. Amongst his many achievements Amir Timur accorded great significance to public building in his cities and created many new settlements as well as formal gardens. In 1392 by order of Amir Timur a mighty fortress was built at the site of a major ford across the Syr Darya River (now the Akkurgan district of Tashkent region). Earlier the city of Benaket existed in this place but in the 13th century AD it was destroyed by the Mongols. This is how it was described by Sharuf ud-Din Ali Yazdi: “They say that in the past Shakhrukhia was called Fanakant. The city was so destroyed by the troops of Genghis Khan that nothing remained of its previous form. In the year 794 of the Mouse, Amir Timur ordered a building programme for the city. Around the city they built fortified walls. The population living in the environs was resettled in the city. The city became famous under the name of Shakhrukhia, as by the command of the great ruler it was dedicated to the fortunate prince Shakhrukh.”

In his autobiography, the Baburnama, the Timurid Zahirud din Muhammad Babur (1483-1530 AD – founder of the Mughal dynasty in India) records Shakhrukhia as being an important military-strategic point. Later - in the 16th-17th centuries AD - it was the second city in size in the Tashkent region after the city of the Tashkent itself. The descendents of the khans of Tashkent lived there for many years. Amir Timur paid great attention to the construction of magnificent, luxurious buildings in Shakhrisabz, Samarkand, Tashkent and other places. Exhibited is a model of the Mosque of Bibi-Khanum in Samarkand, a photograph of Timur’s first palace of Aksaray in Shakhrisabz and the mausoleum of Gur-Emir in Samarkand, where he was buried. During his reign there were significant technical and artistic developments in the manufacture of glazed ceramic wares and ceramic architectural facings. A great many master weavers, glass makers, metal workers and jewelers and other craftsmen worked in the centres of Amir Timur’s power and commerce flourished. In the display cases of this section are exhibited many examples of the craftwork of the Timurid period as well as contemporary silver and copper coins.