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The mosque Bibi-Khanym Mosque (Bibi Hanim) is one of the most important monuments of Samarkand. In the 15th century it was one of the largest and most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world. By the mid-20th century only a grandiose ruin of it still survived, but now major parts of the mosque have been restored.

According to the manuscripts, the mosque was erected by the order of Timur in 1399-1405. It possesses the traits typical for many Muslim medieval constructions. The mosque follows the basic plan of the courtyard mosque. Its outer walls enclose a rectangular area which measures 167 metres (182.63 yards) in length and 109 metres (119.20 yards).

Formerly, there were open galleries measuring 7.2 m high inside the courtyard. Their cover was formed from the juxtaposition of many small, flat brick vaults and domes supported by a forest of more than 400 marble columns and buttresses. Today, only hints of the galleries can be seen.

Four minarets at the outer corners of the site have been restored. Four other, more majestic minarets that flanked the Portal arch of the entrance and the Pischtak of the main domed building are not completed yet.

The interiors of the mosque contain gilding, imitating local brocade embroideries. Bibi-Khanym mosque was one of the most ambitious architectural projects of the Timurid period and influenced the architecture of Central Asia as well as of Iran and Afghanistan.

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Additional Photos by Zbigniew Kalinowski (fotka) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 653 W: 10 N: 1946] (8218)
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