During the Soviet Union, people worshipped Lenin, Marx, Stalin and even their local communist leaders such as Frunze. When the Soviet Union collapsed, each country needed to find new national heroes. The rest of the world does it, the Scandinavians have their Nordic Gods, Ireland has St Patrick, and England has St George.
In the first of the series, we’ll look at Uzbekistan. In Uzbekistan, there is one man who is revered above all others, even their President! This man is Timur, also referred to as Amir Timur or Timurlane, amongst many other names.
He was first and foremost a military man. He was essentially Uzbekistan’s version of Ghengis Khan; in fact, he considers himself as continuing the work of Ghengis Khan and re-establishing his empire. During his life, he was undefeated and created one of the largest empires on the earth at the time. He was born in 1336 in modern-day Uzbekistan, just under 100km from Samarkand towards to Tajik border. The modern-day town of Shahrisabz near where he was born has been turned in to a short of pilgrimage for those wishing to pay their respects to Timur.
He led his armies across northern, eastern, central and southern Asia. He even went on to defeat the Ottomans, Egyptians, Syrians and Russians.
He finally died in 1405 in modern-day Kazakhstan. He is, however, laid to rest in Samarkand and on every tour to Uzbekistan, we visit the Amir Timur mausoleum. His descendants were quite famous in their own right, Babur, one of his great great grandchildren, went on to found the Mughal empire which controlled almost all of Southern Asia and is now buried in Babur’s garden in Kabul. Ulugbek was also a grandchild who is considered one of the great astronomers of history.
Of course, after his death, his empire crumbled as usually happens, so although it was large, much like the empire of Ghengis Khan, it didn’t live much longer than his own life.
In modern-day Uzbekistan, you can find statues of the man himself in most cities. He appears on their money and, of course, on stamps. You’ll find all streets like Komsolmolskaya and Lenina changed to Amir Timur Street..