Shah-i-Zinda

Tel: (998) 712-335-382

Address: M-37, Samarqand, Uzbekistan

Shah-i-Zinda is a necropolis in the northeast of Samarkand, housing 13 mausoleums, one blue-domed mosque and other architecture. The architecture, ornamented with coloured ceramics, have an aura of solemnity and elegance. The name Shah-i-Zinda, meaning the “living king” in Persian, refers to Kusam ibn Abbas who was the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad.


Legend has it that in the early 8th century, Kusam ibn Abbas was killed while preaching Islam in Samarkand. Later, Qutayba ibn Muslim, who was a strong Muslim serving as the governor of Khorasan in Umayyad Caliphate, conquered Samarkand. He ordered that the Buddhist temples in the city be burnt and forced the locals to convert to Islam. In addition, a huge group of Arab Muslims moved there. All these contributed to the popularisation of Islam in Samarkand.


The local Muslims considered Kusam ibn Abbas as the martyr of Islam and the place he died as the holy land. Shah-i-Zinda is believed to be the tomb of Kusam ibn Abbas. Rulers of Samarkand and their family membersalso placed their tombs there later. These tombs together form a necropolis.