Timur Leng

Immortalized in Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great (written in 1587–88), Timur Leng was not a Mongol but a Turk. Though he was said to be lame (hence the name “Leng”) he quickly became one of the world’s greatest conquerors. To legitimize his rule, Timur married the Chagatayid princess Saray Mulk-khanum, daughter of Qazan, the last […]


Yarkand was an important trade city along the Silk Road since its establishment under the Chinese Han Dynasty in the first century C.E. It was therefore a very desirable conquest, and passed hands from dynasty to dynasty for centuries. By the eleventh century, Muslims had taken control of Yarkand from the Kashgars, but it would […]


Home to ethnic Sodgians, Turks, and Uzbeks, Qarshi was an important economic center. Each ethnicity has a different name for the city, but the now-accepted name Qarshi is the Mongolian Uzbek word for “fort.”  Qarshi’s central location in a fertile oasis along the caravan route from Bukhara to Balkh allowed it to become a major […]


The Mongol conquest of Bukhara, even by their own standards, was brutal. After the capital of Samarkand fell, the capital was moved to Bukhara by the remaining men, and Genghis Khan dedicated two of his generals and their forces to completely destroying the remnants of the Khwarezmid Empire, including not only royal buildings, but entire […]


Home to peoples of many ethnic backgrounds, Almaliq earned its name from its many crab apple trees, called “almaliq” by the native inhabitants. Almalik was a medieval city in northwest China’s Ili river basin, near the Kazakhstan-Chinese border.  Though Almaliq was a thriving city during the Mongol era, not much remains of the town today. […]