|Originally written for
Samarkand city center, Uzbekistan, 1994
It is a sequence of public squares, gardens, and buildings, which will
form the new center of the city of Samarkand, uniting historic and
traditional buildings and quarters.
is a new dimension here, a center of spiritual life. It is not a
commercial center, not a cultural center, not a religious center in the
old idea. It is not a convention center. Somehow, this new center of the
city of Samarkand, unites old and new, weaves together the thread
of the silk road, the tomb of Timur the Great, with the modern world,
and a vision of the world in which comfortable human concern, and a
spiritual awareness of the importance of life, is visible, felt,
It is an inspiring place to go. A place of pilgrimage, which will
receive visitors from the five continents, in increasing
network of beautiful paths, formed by columns, colonnades, brick walls,
buildings, gardens. This network of paths, which passes across the whole
area, is formed by the building masses which arise out of it, and by
the paths open into courtyards, ponds, gardens, hidden places? Are they
formed only by mysterious buildings, rising in color, tile, and marble?
Are there figures, statues, animals, Gods, people, statues standing
at the places where the paths cross?
the animals themselves covered with mysterious
there any reference to voyages?
main thing one is aware of is a network of green and beautiful
jewel-like streets. Each has lush trees, seats, platforms,
green streets, made by their trees, benches, sitting platforms, and
edges, form a lacework of places to walk. They are like parks, long and
narrow, you can explore for many hours, walking around these
one of the streets arrives on some new treasure. Each building is
like a treasure, arrived at by the green streets.
Samarkand, historically, and in the time of Ulugh Beg, was a crossroads
of the world. In the Tang dynasty period, every conceivable exotic
substance, or idea, or artifact, or art on earth, came through
Samarkand. No matter where it went, or where it came from, it went
then, one may imagine these green heavenly paths, as a network—almost a
mythical bazaar in which reference to these many exotic substances
blue tile work of the Timurids, the hand-painted blue tiles, with small
black, yellow, and white detail, on mud brick—these tiles, and the
yellow bricks are in evidence on walls, domes, courtyards
throughout the center. It is a thread which connects.
whole network of paths is almost like a forbidden city. A place
which is walled, punctured at very occasional places which allow one to
enter, a special area that contains its own magic.
what the poem generated|