a unique monument of medieval Middle Asian architecture in Samarkand. Shah-i-Zindah is an ensemble of mausoleums of the Samarkand nobility. The first structures were built in the 11th and 12th centuries on the eastern slope of the fortified settlement of Afrasiab; excavations have revealed remains of mausoleums, a wooden portico, and a minaret. Most of the remains, however, date from the 14th and 15th centuries.
The ensemble consists of a narrow lane with groups of religious and memorial structures featuring bright polychromatic ornamentation of carved glazed terra-cotta, painted ceramic tiles, and compositions of mosaics. They include the mausoleum of Kusama ibn Abbasa (1334), with ornamental wall paintings and tiles, and several mausoleums of the Samarkand nobility with domes and portals, including Shadi-Mulk (1372, Bukhara architects Shamseddin, Bareddin Bukhari, and Zainuddin Bukhari) and Shirin-bek-aka (1385). The Tuman-aka complex, begun in the 15th century, consists of a chartak, a memorial mosque, and a mausoleum with a carved wooden door. Also of interest are the mausoleum of Kazi Zadeh al-Rumi (first third of the 15th century) and memorial mosques dating from the mid-15th century.