The Shah-i Zinda or ‘Tomb of the King’ is an ancient street with masterfully embellished mausoleums lining each side of the small cobblestone way. These tombs began to be constructed here after the reign of Timur in the fourteenth century. Each sepulcher holds one or several individuals indicated by white-washed markers. The ministry of culture running the site did an excellent job of placing signage to indicate who is in each building.
A modern cemetery sits directly behind the Shah-i Zinda and I accidentally entered the complex from the back rather than from the formal entrance from the main street. Thus I started from the ‘back’ with tombs possessing some of the finest-known carved tile work. As soon as I entered here at the very end of the street I immediately remembered the lectures I attended for a class when I was an MA student back at NYU on the art before and after the Mongol Invasion in Iraq, Iran and Central Asia. It brought me such joy to have remembered studying all of this tile work from a powerpoint presentation in the lecture hall and now, almost two years later, I could finally see it for myself in person.