The Mausoleum was built to become a tomb for Timur’s favorite grandson. But became the Timurid grave after the conqueror’s death on the warpath to China in 1405.
Gur Emir is Tamerlan’s and his famous scientist grandson Ulugbek’s final resting place.

Who was Timur Amir ?

Timur Amir (Tamerlan) was one of the most brutal rulers in world history.
After becoming a khan in the early thirteen hundreds, he set the goal to make the Mongol empire as vast and powerful as during the Chengis khan reign.
Amir Timur – the name that is still uttered with fear and hatred in India and other empires conquered by him. More than 17 million people fell victim to his rule. This is approximately 5% of the world’s population in the 13 century.

Tamerlane is technically a very offensive nickname for a great conqueror. It translates as Timur the lame. Since his early years, Timur had a hip injury and was limping. Amir Timur is the official name of the ruler.
Building a pyramid of 70 thousand human skulls after conquering India was just one of his ruthless actions.

This is how big Timur’s empire was: it spread from Eastern Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, India, Russia to Turkmenistan.

Timur Amir is buried under one of the world’s most gigantic slabs of jade. It makes an ideological and political point and an architectural one.

The Architecture of Gur Emir Mausoleum

There are patterned stalactites, or muqarnas, in the Mausoleum’s entrance.

Nothing in the world could represent Central Asia with more precision than extravagant floral designs and the ancient Kufic script snaking its way to the tiled blue dome and minarets.

Gur Emir Mausoleum Samarkand architecture

The color that would challenge the sky in its beauty

The turquoise tile came from Persia, one of the conquered lands. Timur and his artisans modified the art, cutting it and carving it. They covered thin columns in it and colossal domes; they pushed it in cupolas and let it unfold over the spandrels of arcs. The gilded dome over the majestic Mausoleum is probably most photogenic at night.

The Interior of Gur Emir Mausoleum

The Mausoleum is 23 meters high and 10 meters wide.
9 meter high niches almost reach the top of the walls, visually dividing them.


The stalactits and other opulent ornaments are made of… paper.

Gur Emir Mausoleum Samarkand interior


The technique known as papier mache was widely used in Tamerlan’s empire.
Papier-mâché — also spelled paper-mâché — trnslated as “chewed paper” from French.

A papier-mâché piece is made up of pieces of paper or dough that are frequently strengthened with tissue or other elements and tied together with glue or any adhesive paste.

The paper used to decorate Gur Emir was regular and inexpensive. This technique was quite common at that time, especially in Samarkand area with its famous cotton paper factory.

The curse of Gur Emir Mausoleum

The Mausoleum and the khan’s Tomb are covered with legends and mystery.
Here are some facts, though.
Timur’s Tomb is engraved with two inscriptions :
“When I Rise From the Dead, The World Shall Tremble”.
“Whosoever Disturbs My Tomb Will Unleash an Invader More Terrible than I’.

The curse of Tamerlan tomb

Stalin ordered the Tomb to be opened on June 20, 1942. Gerasimov’s Uzbeki colleagues warned the expedition that the curse is real and comes to power within 3 days.
Not a week has passed since the Soviets disturbed Timur, Hitler, and Nazis invaded Russia. On June 22, without warning, the war started, and it cost USSR some 7 – 46 million lives.

Stalin ordered Timur’s remains to be returned to the Tomb and be reburied according to Islamic rituals. Less than a month later, USSR defeated the Nazis in one of the bloodiest battles in the history of mankind – the Stalingrad battle.
Gur Emir is incredibly picturesque at night. The gates are closed so you can’t walk in, but you can marvel at this architectural masterpiece in its full glory, with a sky-blue dome decorated by calligraphy.

Nostradamus also might have predicted the incident.

He who will open the Tomb found,
And will come to close it promptly,
Evil will come to him, and one will be unable to prove,
If it would be better to be a Breton or Norman King.

The entrance fee to Gur-Emir is 20,000 soums ($ 2.5).