The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Palaces and gardens

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On Thursday, the 28th of August, at the hour of mass, they arrived at the great city of Kesh (Shakrisabz), which is situated in a plain, traversed in every direction by channels of water, which irrigate many gardens {The town of Kesh (Shakrisabz) is thirty-six miles south of Samarkand. Timur's famous descendant Babur, the first Great Mogul, tells us that in spring the walls and terraces of the houses at Kesh (Shakrisabz) are always green and cheerful. Timur and Babur both mention Kesh (Shakrisabz) as Sheher Subz (now known as Shakhrisabz), or the 'verdant city.'}. The surrounding country was flat, and they saw many villages, well watered pastures, and a very beautiful, bright, and well peopled country. In these plains there were many corn fields, vineyards, cotton plantations, melon grounds, and groves of fruit trees. The city was surrounded by a wall of earth, with a deep ditch, and drawbridges leading to the gates. The lord Timur Beg, and his father, were both natives of this city of Kesh (Shakrisabz). In this city there are great mosques, and other edifices, especially a grand mosque which the lord Timur Beg has ordered to be built, for as yet it is not finished; within which the body of his father is interred. There is also another great chapel, which Timur Beg has ordered to be built, for his own body, and it was not finished. They say that when he was here, a month ago, he did not like this chapel, saying that the door was low, and ordering it to be raised, and they are now working at it. The firstborn son of Timur Beg is also interred in this mosque, named Jehanghir {Timur's eldest son Jehanghir died in 1372, when his father was just commencing his career of conquest. Timur's grief was very great, for he loved his son. The body was taken to Kesh (Shakrisabz), and interred in a superb tomb. He was only twenty years old, and left two sons, Mohammed, and Peer Mohammed, the latter having been born forty days after the death of his father.- Ali of Yezd}. This mosque, with its chapels, was very rich, and beautifully ornamented in blue and gold, and within it there was a large court, with trees, and ponds of water. In this mosque the lord gives twenty boiled sheep every day, for the souls of his father and son, who lie buried there.