Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis, called ‘the street cemetery’ by the locals, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, and an important Islamic holy site. To some, going on a pilgrimage to Shah-I-Zinda equals a hajj to Mecca. Archeological studies indicate that the earliest Shah-i-Zinda mausoleums date back to the 11th - 12th centuries, with only some of their foundations and tombstones surviving. Most of the buildings date back to the 14th - 15th centuries. The portal and a few buildings at the foot of the hill are the youngest, built in the 19th century. The name Shah-i-Zinda (“the living king”), refers to Kusam ibn Abbas, the Prophet Muhammad’s cousin, who came to Samarkand from Mecca to propagate Islam in the 7th century. According to local legends, he was attacked by pagans while praying with his followers, and escaped death through an Islamic saint’s help - either disappearing in a crevice in front of them, miraculously opened at the time of the attack, or, beheaded, hiding in a well alive, with his head in the hands, where he still lives in underground paradise. Hence they named the site Shah-i-Zinda. The inscription on the tombstone of Kusam ibn Abbas says, ‘Those who are slain while following Allah’s way are never counted dead. No, they are alive.’ The earliest mausoleums were built around the shrine of Kusam ibn Abbas at the top of the hill. The later ones were erected down the slope in a string. Running along them is a 200-meter-long alley with stairs. In addition to Kusam ibn Abbas’, other famous mausoleums are those of Amir Burunduq, Tamerlane’s general, Tamerlane’s wife Tuman-Aqa’s – as well as his niece Shad-I Mulk Aga, his sister Shirin Beg Aga, religious enlightener Hajji Ahmad’s and the anonymous one of ‘a girl who died chaste’ (1361). The highest of them is Tuman-Aqa’s, with its bright blue dome dominating this part of the necropolis.