The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Chatagai history

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When the ambassadors arrived, they were conducted to this mosque, and provided with much meat and fruit; and, when they had dined, they were taken to their lodging, in a great palace. On Friday they were taken to see some great palaces, which the lord has ordered to be built, and they say that they have been working at them every day, for twenty years, and many workmen are still employed on them. These palaces had a long entrance, and a very high gateway. On each side there were arches of brick, covered with glazed tiles, and many patterns in various colours. These arches formed small recesses, without doors, and the ground was paved with glazed tiles. They are made for the attendants to sit in, when the lord is here. In front of the first entrance there was another gateway, leading to a great court yard paved with white stones, and surrounded by doorways of very rich workmanship. In the centre of the court there was a great pool of water, and this court was three hundred paces wide. The court led to the body of the building, by a very broad and lofty doorway, ornamented with gold and blue patterns on glazed tiles, richly and beautifully worked. On the top of this doorway there was the figure of a lion and a sun, which are the arms of the lord of Samarkand; and, though they say that Timur Beg ordered these palaces to be built, I believe that the former lord of Samarkand gave the order; because the sun and lion, which are here represented, are the arms of the lords of Samarkand; and those which Timur Beg bears, are three circles like O's, drawn in this manner ï¾°ï¾° and this is to signify that he is lord of the three parts of the world. He ordered this device to be stamped on the coins, and on everything he had; and for this reason I think that some other lord must have commenced this palace, before the time of Timur Beg. The lord has these three O's on his seals, and he has ordered that those who are tributary to him shall have it stamped on the coins of their countries. This doorway led to a reception room, the walls of which were covered with polished glazed tiles, in gold and blue patterns, and the ceiling was gilded all over. Thence the ambassadors were taken to so many chambers, that it would take a long time to describe them all, in which there were ornamental works in gold and blue, and many other colours, executed with wonderful skill. They were also shown the apartments which the lord has caused to be made for his women, which were covered with strange and rich ornaments, both on the walls, ceilings, and floors;. and many skilled workmen were employed in this palace. Afterwards the ambassadors went to see a chamber, which the lord had set apart for feasting, and for the company of his women, in front of it there was a great garden, in which there were many shady trees, and all kinds of fruit trees, with channels of water flowing amongst them. The garden was so large, that great numbers of people might enjoy themselves there in summer with great delight, near the fountains, and under the shade of the trees. The workmanship of this palace was so rich that it would be impossible to describe it, without gazing and walking over everything, with slow steps. The mosque and palace are amongst the magnificent edifices which the lord has ordered to be built, in honour of his father, who lies interred there, and was a native of this city. But though he was a native of this city; he did not belong to the races of this land, but was of a lineage called Chatagai, which came from the land of Tartary when this country was conquered, as will presently be related to you.