The World In Stamps

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The Islamic Archirecture Of Samarkand: Soviet Union, 1963

In 1963 the Soviet Union issued three stamps about the islamic architecture in Samarkand , a city located in Uzbekistan, in central-Asia.

Samarkand is one of the major cities in Central Asia. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the region. It is likely that it was founded between the eighth and seventh centuries BC.

Samarkand was one of the most important stations on the Silk Road, the ancient trade route, linking China with the Mediterranean, which was a major reason for its prosperity until it became one of the largest and richest cities in Central Asia.
The Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta described it by saying: “It is one of the largest, best and most beautiful cities, built on the shore of a valley known as Wadi Al-Qassarin.”

Main Cupola of the Mausoleum of Amir Temur (Gur-Emir mausoleum) – URSS-1963-YT-2738

Islam entered Samarkand at the hands of the Muslim leader “Qutayba bin Muslim Al-Bahili” in the year (92 AH – 710 AD). In the Abbasid era, the city (Samarkand) flourished greatly as the capital of the eastern part of the Abbasid Empire.

Registan square with its three madrasas – URSS-1963-YT-2740

The islamic architecture in Samarkand

Today, the city is famous for one of the most important landmarks of Islamic architecture, especially the buildings around the Registan Square. This square is surrounded by 3 mosaic-covered religious schools dating back to the 15th and 17th centuries. These schools are represented in the stamp above. Tilya Kori madrasa in the front, Sher-Dor madrasa on the right side and Ulugh Beg Madrasa on the left side.

The tomb of Tamerlane, the founder of the Timurid Empire named Gur-e-Amir, is also an example of ismalimic architecture. It is represented in the first stamp.

The Islamic monuments, known as “Shah-i-Zinda”, built to the north-east of the present-day city of Samarkand, are among the important monuments of Transoxiana architecture. The history of construction in “Shah-i Zanda”, during the Islamic era, dates back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, when many shrines began to appear around the tomb of “Quthm bin Al Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib” who was buried in that land. Qathm is the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); The accounts claim that he came to Samarkand in the year 676 AD, with a group of believers to spread Islam, and died and was buried there. A drawing of the Shah-i Zinda complex appears on the postage stamp below.

Shah-i Zinda memorial complex, 11th -15th centuries – URSS-1963-YT-2739

In the nineteenth century the city came under the rule of Tsarist Russia and then became part of the Soviet Union after the Bolshevik Revolution. Today, Samarkand is located in the state of Uzbekistan, one of the former Soviet republics located in Central Asia, which gained its independence in 1992.

In 1963 the Soviet Union issued three stamps representing the mosaic-lined religious schools surrounding Registan Square.

Catalogue Reference: Yvert & Tellier 2738 to 2740.


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