I’ve been fond of the history of Samarkand for a long time intending to see its sights with my own eyes. It wasn’t a problem to buy Samarkand tour packages on a regular basis, so I got ready to discover a new world. Friends of mine advised me to expand my horizons by visiting several cities on one tour. Why not? It would help me get much more impressed. Admittedly, that is exactly what I did.
The three-day Tashkent-Bukhara-Samarkand tour suited me fine because, in addition to exploring Uzbekistan’s history, it offered an opportunity to conduct a comparative analysis. It is hard to say which city impressed me more as in each of them you discover a new world. However, this time I am going to share my impressions about Samarkand.
Most Samarkand tours without going to other cities include a one-day excursion. In my case, it happened the same way: one day was quite enough to see the main sights. The walk around Samarkand caused so many positive emotions that I can hardly find the words to describe it. Anyway, let’s see what I discovered there.
Ancient Samarkand was called Marakanda, the capital of Maverannahr, ruled by the Timurid dynasty, and the center of scientific development during the Middle Ages. The city was also a hub for the redistributing of caravans on the Great Silk Road. Today Samarkand has become a flourishing modern megapolis with an incredibly advanced infrastructure.
Samarkand tours help to follow the whole historical path of the city, to see the unseen and understand the inexplicable. Despite the technological transformation in terms of modernization, Samarkand has preserved a rich cultural heritage. Centuries-old architectural ensembles, minarets, mosques, and tombs fascinate and excite the imagination. I will mention just a few of them.
At the intersection of the downtown streets, there is a huge monument to Amir Timur, who conquered the ethnic groups of Central Asia and the Middle East. According to Persian records, the conqueror’s real name was Tamerlane, which in Turkic means ‘Lame Timur’. First of all, the monument depicts a prudent ruler, as Tamerlane sits thoughtfully on the throne.
The Tashkent monument to Tamerlane, on the other hand, presents the conqueror as a fearless warrior on horseback. In any case, Amir Timur did a lot of good for Samarkand and the whole country. That prompted me to visit the burial place of Amir Timur in the Timurids’ Gur-Emir mausoleum.
Tours to Samarkand may have different sightseeing programs, but the Gur Emir Mausoleum is a compulsory route. It is impossible to put into words the grandeur of this structure, but the most breathtaking views are inside the tomb. There is a warning inscription on the jade tombstone that warns not to disturb the dead. Still, it is not clear, who wrote that inscription.
Then I went to the fabulous Registon Square, an unparalleled creation of the ancient masters. The historic significance of the Registon is immeasurable, so the area with the architectural complex has been enrolled in the UNESCO Heritage register. The ensemble includes three madrassahs: Ulugbek, Sherdor, and Tillya-Kary.
The next landmark is Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the most beautiful monumental structure in Samarkand. The mosque was restored only at the end of the 20th century, after which it turned into a place of constant tourist pilgrimage. Tamerlane named this mosque in honor of his beloved wife Bibi-Khanum.
My Samarkand tour ended in a positive way and I even tasted some delicious Uzbek food. No one can stand the aroma of oriental cuisine, and I was lucky enough to be at the gates of the Siyab bazaar. So the dinner was held in an open cafe, where they served freshly baked samsas, spicy lagman, and the famous Samarkand flatbread.
The Tashkent Bukhara Samarkand tour was more informative than I expected but the day spent in Samarkand was the most exciting. Actually, I saw many more beautiful sights, though I mentioned only my favorite ones. The collection of knowledge was greatly enriched with historical facts about this city.