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Мечеть Биби-Ханым

Bibi Hanym's mosque — the huge cathedral mosque, once the biggest mosque in the Islamic world and the biggest building of old Samarkand. It is constructed by order of Temur in honor of a successful campaign to India in 1399. Construction continued 5 years, but in view of the huge sizes, soon the mosque began to collapse. Later, the mosque turned into the colourful symbol of Samarkand surrounded with numerous legends.

The mosque Bibi-Hanym ("the senior princess") (the early name — Maszhidi of a dzhama) (Bibi-Xonim masjidi) — an architectural monument of 1399 — 1404 in Samarkand, the grandiose cathedral mosque of Tamerlan ornated by tiles, carved marble and paintings. It is restored from ruins at the end of the 20th century. The monument is on Tashkentskaya Street.
Foundation of the mosque
The mosque was erected by order of Tamerlan after his victorious campaign to India. Construction was begun in May, 1399. Timur chose the location of future mosque. Masters from various countries were involved in construction: India, Iran, Khwarezm, and Golden Horde. By September 1404 the main part of a complex was already constructed. In the yard of the mosque, 10 thousand people could pray at the same time.
According to a legend, the mosque received the name in honor of the beloved wife of Tamerlan. Having returned from a victorious Indian campaign, Timur in 1399 undertook construction of the cathedral mosque for fulfillment of a Friday Mohammedan prayer to which the rumor appropriated a name of Bibi-hanym.
According to sources: "On Sunday – 4 dates of Ramadan of 801 g (1399 of our chronology), skillful engineers and skilled masters in the hour happy and predicted on stars, put the basis to construction. Two hundred people of masons from Azerbaijan, Fars, Hindustan and other countries worked in the mosque and 500 people in mountains worked on an obtyosyvaniye of a stone and sending it to the city hard. Artels of masters and handicraftsmen, having gathered from all over the world to the bottom of a throne, applied everyone as far as in the area careful diligence. For concentration of materials 95 Goro of similar elephants were brought the countries of India to Samarkand and put on use". For acceleration of works, Timur charged supervision over certain sites of construction to the different tsarevitches and emirs trying to show quickness the diligence. The portal arch, the main building of the mosque, wall and arcade were built by artels of masters who were directed by the chief builder who had volume model of a construction. Tell old miniatures about it.
Only several months Timur monitored construction of the mosque, but soon he for the whole years was distracted by a new military campaign – this time to the Ottoman Empire. Construction continued without it. About this period the national imagination also created several legends.

Told that the emir's wife the beauty Bibi-hanym conceived to build to return of the husband to it as a gift the mosque which did not see before light. Minarets were constructed, around the spacious yard the wood of white marble columns grew, and the blue dome competed to the heavenly arch. It was necessary only to close a high arch of the portal. But the young architect hesitated because he loved Bibi-hanym, and the end of construction inevitably meant eternal separation from it. And the tsar meanwhile already approached Samarkand and in the impatience sent messengers. Bibi-hanym begged the builder to advance works, but that demanded an award, unprecedented on impudence, – the rights to kiss the queen. Judicious Bibi-hanym, resisting, convinced him that women everything are identical as the painted eggs. As proof of what the observant queen sent to the pighead in love the whole dish of multi-colored eggs, advising to peel them and to compare, and having convinced, to calm down and kiss any court beauty. Nothing helped! And the queen had to concede, having held up a charming cheek. During a resolute instant she managed to be covered, however, with a hand (according to other data – a pillow), but the heat of a kiss was so strong that burned all barriers and left a speck on a pink face of Bibi-hanym. It, having much admired the new mosque, immediately the comeback master also noticed. Rushed to catch the tempter, and that, it appeared, made wings and long ago departed. So – in the legend, and in life all was differently. Having returned from a distant campaign, Timur was enraged by the fact that the portal of its mosque was not so velichestven as he wanted, and, in any case, below the madrasah standing opposite constructed by his main wife Saray-mulk hany, that which the legend calls Bibi-hanym. To the respectable wife of Timur at that time was for sixty, and hardly her delights could discompose someone.

Last stage of construction
Timur who went to mosque in September 1404 was angered and ordered to execute the grandee supervising behind construction. The master ordered to destroy the entrance portal and to build new. Near the base dugout holes, sorted a laying that foundations lost a support and failed. Timur was sick, but he enjoined to carry himself there where there were works. "Then he ordered, – writes de Clavikho in the diary, – to bring there boiled meat and to throw it to those which worked in a hole, precisely, as to dogs; sometimes he the hands threw meat and so excited workers that surprisingly; sometimes ordered to throw money into holes. Also worked on this construction day and night; it stopped, as well as works on carrying out the street, because, that snow began to fall". The powerful arch was thrown over the central aperture. The huge double dome stretched at forty-meter height. The yard with a well surrounded the whole wood of the columns, which were under construction in four and nine rows. In their shadow spread the rugs during a midday Friday Mohammedan prayer tens of thousands of devout.
In wide and now grandiose portal trimmed with carved marble were strengthened cast of seven metals where there was a gold and silver, panels of gate. When they were opened, thin metal vibrated, and its ring echoed the appeals flying from minarets.
From under the main dome where light of uncountable lamps and chandeliers could not disseminate eternal twilight, from a step minbar the measured voice of the imam reading sacred suras of the Koran rushed. Not without reason told Sherif-ad-din-al-Yazdi: "If you look for comparisons for an arch of its maksura, nothing can be told, except as – the Milky Way and the heavenly arch. The dome would be the only thing if the sky was not its repetition, and the arch would be only if the Milky Way was not its couple. The sound of its huge gate made of alloy of seven metals calls the praying seven climates to the house of Islam. Gloss from shine of letters and words of the sura "Cave" and other wonderful verses of the Koran on its walls"
From Saray-mulk complementing with Bibi-Hany madrasah hany the angular octahedral mausoleum with a tile and painted decor remained.
The mosque has domestic composition (78х64 m). On the main axis of the rectangular yard are located the ceremonial portal of an entrance and in the depth of the main dome volume — the room of the mosque. On a cross axis of the yard there are two identical portal and dome buildings. All these 4 main volumes are united by multidome gallery on 400 stone columns.
Buildings of the mosque were substantially restored in days of independence of Uzbekistan.