Legend of Bibi Khanum

It is well known that Emir Timur was a great conqueror. His savage hordes conquered many lands and killed many people. Emir Timur had many wives, but his favorite wife was a very beautiful woman named Bibi Khanum. One time, when he was away at war, she decided to surprise him with a great gift. She was eager to honor him by building a great building of stone, which would be decorated with sapphires and turquoise. Thousands of skillful designers, architects, and builders worked to create this marvelous masterpiece.

But after they had been working for many days, suddenly all work stopped. The main architect had fallen madly in love with Bibi Khanum, and announced that he would only begin working again if she would allow him to kiss her.

It so happened that the Emir was a very jealous man, and Bibi Khanum was very much afraid of him, but she was so eager to have her magnificent gift completed before her husband returned, that she consented to the kiss. However, she would grant his wish only on the condition that he kisses her through her veil. Unfortunately his kiss was so passionate, that he left a tiny trace of it on her cheek.

In a few days the palace was ready. When Emir Timur returned he was very proud of the fine gift that his wife had presented to him, but all at once he noticed the trace of the kiss on Bibi Khanum's cheek. He didn't say anything about it to her, but asked her to climb with him to the top of the palace so that they could enjoy the lovely view together. He said many loving words to her, and then pushed her to her death. He grieved many days for his beloved wife, and named the palace Bibi Khanum.

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