Shahi-Zinda necropolis in Samarkand
Genesis of Shahi-Zinda necropolis on the slope of the Afrasiab hill is connected with Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of Prophet Muhammad. We know that he took part in the first Arab campaigns to Maverannahr. According to a legend, Kusam was mortally wounded at walls of Samarkand and escaped under the ground where he continues to live. Hence, the name of the necropolis- Shahi-Zinda-"alive king". The martyr Kusam ibn Abbas had obtained a status of Islamic saint and patron of Samarkand by the 10th-11th century. In the 12th-15th centuries a complex of mausoleums and mosques had been growing along the path leading to Kusam's mausoleum, which exquisite beauty as if denied the death.

 Structures of the 11th century form a core of Kusam ibn Abbas Mausoleum. First of all it is a small dome tomb. The ceramic stepped gravestone, which was installed at AmirTemur in the 1380s, occupies almost half of its area. The third step bears a citation from Koran grounding the name of the necropolis: "Never consider the dead those who were killed on the way of Allah. No, they are alive!" Hear the tomb there is a big memorial room with mihrab in the western wall. The room for forty-day sole pray is located under its floor. The small minaret of the 11th century is located by the entrance.

Chronologically Shahi-Zinda developed from the north to the south. In the 1340s Khodja-Ahmad Mausoleum was built at the northern edge. The inscription on the mausoleum reads:" ...so let Allah prolong their eternity to make the tomb a garden of happiness of Khodja Ahmad..." In 1361 the mausoleum of a highborn married woman was built near Khodja-Ahmad Mausoleum. These first mausoleums are decorated with carved enameled terracotta of turquoise green and dark blue colors. At the beginning of the 15th century, the group was added by a new mausoleum and mosque built on behalf of Tuman-aka, the younger wife ofTemur. 

New mausoleums were constructed on the place of pre-Mongolian structures in the 1380s-1390s. Two nameless mausoleums, Amir Burunduk Mausoleum, Mausoleum built by master Alim Nesefi and Octahedral Mausoleum still survives. Amir Burunduk Mausoleum has kept only internal dome on drum. Its cruciform crypt contains nine depositions. Burunduk Mausoleum and one of the nameless mausoleums were built from bricks and decorative elements of the Qarakhanid's madrassah of the 11th century. The facade of madrassah was walled in the nameless mausoleum.

The mausoleum by master Nesefi shows decor of painted majolica which displaced carved terracotta. Its semi-ground crypt has a dome of "balkhi". Expressive eight-point stars form a characteristic feature of its portal. The middle star shows names of twelve Shiite imams. The lower one contains Koran text of "Throne". The octahedral mausoleum was constructed in the 1430-40s. Today it is represented just by a pavilion with side arches. The basement has a crypt with four female depositions. 

Female necropolis added Shahi-Zinda at AmirTemur. In 1372, Uldjai Shadi-Mulk (a daughter of Temur's elder sister Kutlug-Turkan-aga) died. Her mausoleum was built beside the old wall. The mausoleum had a ribbed dome and portal with carved majolica. Kutlug-Turkan-aga died in 1383 and was buried in the same mausoleum. The younger sister of Temur, Shi-rin-bek-aga died in 1386. Her mausoleum became the most exquisite in Shahi-Zinda. Sayings of Socrates on its portal form unique feature of the mausoleum. The decor was made in new technology-composite mosaics of sapphire-blue colour.

 One of lemur's servitors, Amir Hussein constructed a mausoleum for his mother Tuglu-Tekin beside the female Temurid necropolis. Conical dome crowns its cubic foundation. Carved enameled terracotta and painted majolica decorate the portal. The mausoleum of Amir-Zadeh is located beside, at the edge of the ancient wall. It is a cubic building with high portal and ribbed dome. Carved enameled terracotta is rare; majolica prevails in its decor. Three lancet niches are at sides of the mausoleum. Under-dome octahedron has additional arch system.

Shahi-Zinda was developing downwards from the old wall at Ulugbeg. Two-dome mausoleum was built in that period. According to sources, it belonged to Uldja-Inaga, the nurse of Amir Ternur. The legendary stair is running beside. The number of its steps could be correctly counted only by actually believing person. In the 1430s, Ulugbeg built a front entrance with dome chortak on behalf of his son Abdal-Aziz. The mosque and auxiliary premises at sides were built later. In the 19th century Samarkand khak-im Davlet Kushbeghi constructed small madrassah by the entrance and summer mosque opposite.