The ancient cities of the Great Silk Road excited my imagination from childhood, but the trip has remained in some mythical and long-term plans. I’m afraid of travel to Uzbekistan, because I will be lonely girl in the eastern country. This situation was decided by random action on the sale of tickets on a familiar site. And I packed my backpack, paid for flight by Uzbekistan Airways and I was already on the way to the mysterious Samarkand.
I was lucky and the trip was in the spring, so it wasn’t hot there, but the air at the exit of the airport was warm and carried with it a lot of mysterious aromas. I must say that all of my concerns about the membership of the weaker sex and solitary status were unnecessary, because Samarkand is amazingly hospitable city and the friendliness of the local people don’t scare.
First, we had to find a place to sleep. I didn’t like alternative accommodation in a hotel, because cheap hotels are similar to the Soviet way of life, renovated and recently opened hotel, in my opinion, were unreasonably expensive. So, with a heavy backpack, I went looking for a suitable hostel. One of them offers a double room with private bathroom at an affordable price for Uzbekistan at $ 30.
The advantages of this were in a good wi-fi, free breakfast, and great stuff, and speaking in Russian and in English. They also provide information to me, where you can eat and what is worth buying. And I went looking Samarkand with this information.
I must say three days in order to see the sights is not enough. A beautiful city with an exotic oriental face is 2500 years old, monuments were restored actively in recent decades. From mandatory to visit places: the main square of Registan with three madrasahs.
The oldest of them is Ulugbek Madrasah. It was built in the 15th century and opened its doors to 100 students, said the guide. I was shocked by the strict geometry and ornate mosaics buildings.
Another famous attraction is the mausoleum of Gur Emir, otherwise known as the tomb of Tamerlane.
By the way one of the most beautiful mosques in the city named after the wife of Tamerlane – Bibi Khanum. It was built after a successful campaign in Delhi warrior. The mosque is known for its minaret, which is the tallest in Samarkand.
I dedicated a couple of hours to the ancient settlement Afrasiab and I later regretted. It doesn’t matter, because it will be one of the reasons to plan tour in Uzbekistan for myself. Afrasiab was emerged in the fifth century and there are lots of interesting buildings on its territory. But you have to view a guidebook before the visit because you may miss something.
But I was lucky to see the observatory of Ulugbek, who was a renowned scholar and was the grandson of Tamerlane.
Unfortunately, I just don’t have enough time. But, by the way, I was planning to look into the mausoleum of Haji Daniyar and I could. There, according to legend, was buried part of the body of Daniel. It is a very interesting place with a long coffin, covered with green baize.
I had time and to buy souvenirs. By the way, I must say, well-known tourist spots such as a workshop for the production of silk carpets and paper mill – you’ll not help in this, because it is rather the sights rather than shops.
But in small shops you can buy a real zra (useful for gifts and pilaf), a pistachio (a little smaller than usual, but what delicious) and a saffron. My backpack is literally saturated with the aroma of spices.
As in any eastern city, there would be cheaper to feast on local foods than Western delicacies. So, if you follow a cheaper tour, forget the burgers and pizza. And at the same time you have to forget about all sorts of сcheering drinks, because this is Muslim country. It is cheaper and healthier to drink of the local tea.