If you prefer your ruins really ruined, it’s worth the slog out to the Tomb Raider–style, 15th-century Ishratkhana Mausoleum (Sadriddin Ayni), newly topped by a tin roof. With a preponderance of pigeons and an eerie crypt in the basement, this is the place to film your horror movie.
The Ishrat Khana, or House of Joy, lies over the road from Abdi Darun. Legend suggests a wife of Tamerlane built it as her tomb, but it became a pleasure palace once the ruler embraced her in awe at its beauty. The vanished opulence of its interior decor explains the joyous epithet-gold leaf, multicolour mosaic and stained glass-yet it was built as a mausoleum in 1464 by the wife of Tamerlane's great-grandson Abu Said for their favourite daughter. Over 20 tombstones of Timurid women and children occupy the crypt. Above ground the impressive portal, a survivor of the f904 earthquake that claimed the high turquoise dome, leads to a cruciform hall once flanked by two-storey galleries. Two of four spiral staircases still permit a rooftop panorama.