Bibi-Khanym Mosque (مسجد بی بی خانم) and Mausoleum, , Samarkand (Samarqand, Самарқанд, سمرقند), Uzbekistan (O‘zbekiston, Ўзбекистон)
Originally uploaded by Loïc BROHARD
Bibi-Khanym Mosque is a famous historical mosque in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, whose name comes from the wife of 14th-century ruler, Amir Timur. After his Indian campaign in 1399 Timur decided to undertake the construction of a gigantic mosque in his new capital, Samarkand. 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. There is a large marble Qur'an stand in the centre of the courtyard.
The mosque was built immediately after Timur's return in 1399 from his campaign in India using precious stones captured during his conquest of India. According to Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo, 90 captured elephants were employed merely to carry precious stones, so as to erect a mosque at Samarkand — Bibi-Khanym Mosque. Construction was completed between 1399 and 1404. However, the mosque slowly fell into disuse, and crumbled to ruins over the centuries. Its demise was hastened due to the fact it pushed the construction techniques of the time to the very limit, and the fact that it was built too quickly. It eventually partially collapsed in 1897 when an earthquake occurred. However, in 1974 it began to undergo reconstruction by the Government of Uzbekistan, although the current mosque is effectively a brand-new building, as no original work remains.The bazaar at the foot of the Bibi-Khanym has changed little since 600 years ago.