Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum (Mausoleum of Timur)

Address: 1/4, Universitetskiy Boulevard Бўстонсарой кўчаси, Samarqand, Uzbekistan

It is said that in 1941, famous Soviet archaeologist and anthropologist Mikhail Gerasimov saw this curse when opening the tomb of Timur, “Whosoever Disturbs My Tomb Will Unleash an Invader More Terrible than I”. 

Mikhail Gerasimov was an expert in skull reconstruction which he applied to study many historical figures. He was sent to Samarkand by Stalin to open the tomb of Timur. Three days after the tomb was opened, the Nazis reportedly attacked the Soviet Union. It is said that the attack was a verification of the curse.

After struggling for a year, Stalin ordered the return of Timur’s body to the tomb following Islamic traditions. Several days later, surprisingly, the Soviet Union army succeeded in the encirclement of Stalingrad, which fell to the Nazis. The Soviet Union army then got a Pyrrhic victory in the battle of Stalingrad. This became a turning point in the European front of the Second World War.

Mikhail Gerasimov reconstructed the face of Timur with reference to his skull and remains. He deduced that Timur was 173cm in height, which was considered tall at the time. But Timur got a stiff right arm and a paralysed right leg because of an arrow wound.

The Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum is of utmost importance in the history of Persian-Mongolian architecture. It was the pioneer and model for later great Mughal architecture, including Humayun's Tomb and the Taj Mahal.