No-one wants to have to stand up to Genghis Khan, but to be the governor of a city in his path must be one of the most thankless tasks. Temur Malik was one such unfortunate individual.
Hearing the Mongols were on their way, Temur Malik called his followers to an island in the middle of the river and gave them the choice to flee and hopefully save their skins or to stay, fight and almost certainly die. To a man they stayed and fought, and to a man they died: they were besieged in the river, ran out of supplies and consequently fell to the Mongols'swords. Temur Malik himself was the only man to survive.
The legend ofTemur Malik gained popularity amongst Tajik nationalists in the 20th century as he was easily promoted as a patriot who risked everything to resist foreign invaders. It is for this reason that he is commemorated with such a substantial modern statue in the city's historical museum.