The Curse of Tamerlane

Tamerlane's curse or Timur's curse is a legend that intrigued a lot of people throughout the whole world. The reason is most probably because it is a recent legend mixed with facts compared to the other Uzbek myths and legends.

Tamerlane was a Turko-Mongol commander and the founder of the Timurid Empire. He is one of the most ruthless leaders in the history of humankind. Gur-e-Amir is his resting place since 1405 when his tomb was placed in the mausoleum. According to legends his tombstone had 2 inscriptions.

''Whoever disturbs my tomb will unleash an invader more terrible than I am''

''When I rise from the dead, the world should tremble''.

In 1941 Russian anthropologists were allowed to do excavations in Gur-e-amir. The expedition was led by Mikhail Gerasimov and Tashmuhammed Kari-Niyazov. When the anthropologists were in Samarkand there was a panic among local Uzbeks. Some of them warned the team about the curse but the expedition continued despite everything.

Tamerlane's tomb was opened on June 20th of 1942. Immediately after the air was filled with choking odour of frankincense, rose, camphor and resin. At first, it was thought to be a smell of different curses, but later it was found out to be the smell of oils used for embalming.

The local elderly people believed that the curse was real and warned them that the curse will affect within 3 days from the date of opening. Coincidentally (or not) Nazi Germany under the command of Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. It was exactly two days after Tamerlane's tomb was opened and the remains were sent to Moscow.

However, the supporters of Tamerlane's curse mention another fact also. The turning point in the war came with the victory of the Battle of Stalingrad. A month earlier on December 20 of 1942, Tamerlane's remains were returned to his tomb in Samarkand. So was this set of events coincidence or was the curse real? This question remains arguable, as everyone has their own belief.

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