Samarkand is one of those cities on the planet, which many people want to visit at least once. It is stunning with the beauty of ancient buildings, consisting of masterpieces created by the most skilled craftsmen.
A real oriental fairy tale amazes with its metamorphoses at different times of the day, transforming beyond recognition, acquiring mystery and discovering new facets of beauty.
"Samarkand - the crossroads of cultures"
The city is located in a zone of sharply continental climate with dry hot summers, humid mild winters, short springs and warm autumn
The best time to visit Samarkand is spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October).
In the city you can find a hotel of any star and price: from cheap hostels to luxury 5-star hotels.
Most of the hotels are built with the climate in mind, with cozy courtyards with an abundance of greenery, where you can enjoy the coolness on hot days. For example, the more popular ones: hotel "Jahongir": located in a 19th century building in the center within walking distance to the main attractions; hotel "L'Argamak": also in the city center overlooking the mausoleum of Amir Timur.
In Samarkand, it's easy to find a place to satisfy your hunger: mouth-watering aromas are everywhere. Teahouses, cafes, restaurants where you can taste popular national dishes in the Samarkand version: pilaf, samsa, manti, lagman, barbecue, shawarma. Be sure to visit Kokand Street - this is where the famous Samarkand samsa is prepared.
Near the main attraction of the city - Registan Square - there is the Siab Bazaar, which will stun any traveler, especially in late summer - autumn: an abundance of aromas, colors, an abundance of berries and fruits, spices and pastries.
Samarkand is famous for original products that are typical only for this city: ceramics, fabrics and carpets made of natural silk, special embroidery technology, clay toys and dolls. Fine paintings, ceramics, carpets, ornaments are presented in the art gallery "Happy Bird". In the "Samarkand Textile Workship" workshop you can choose products made from natural silk: scarves, stoles, scarves, fabrics, paintings, carpets. You can even order a carpet or painting of the desired size and pattern.
The centuries-old beauty of Samarkand amazes with the skill of its creators, who perfectly mastered various technologies: majolica, mosaics, stone and wood carvings, harmoniously combined in each structure. Mosques, mausoleums, madrasahs - the city is rich in sights.
Registan Square - visiting card of fabulous Samarkand. This is the heart of the city and one of the most famous sights in the whole of Central Asia. This is exactly what you are going to distant Uzbekistan for. The ensemble of the square includes three madrasahs (theological schools) of the 15th-17th centuries: Ulugbek Madrasah, Tilla-Kari Madrasah and Sherdor Madrasah - they are considered the oldest in the world and are examples of the unprecedented skill of the builders of those times. After Registan, you can go to Medina. This is a residential area, this is the place where the locals live. This is where the next culture shock is expected.
If you are interested in astronomy, visit the remnants observatories and museum of Ulugbek, which are located on the outskirts of Samarkand, on the Kuhak hill (Tashkent avenue, 1). It was here that Tamerlane's grandson, Ulugbek, spent all his free time from public affairs, he himself took part in many studies and experiments. Within the walls of this observatory, 1018 stars were described and a catalog of the starry sky (Gurgan Zij) was compiled, and the length of the sidereal year was also determined here: 365 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes, 8 seconds.
Be sure to include in your itinerary Bibi-Khanym mosque (Bibikkhonim St.) is the largest mosque in Central Asia. According to legend, it was built by Temur's elder wife - Saray-Mulk-Khanum - together with craftsmen from India, Iran, Khorezm and the Golden Horde. They say that if you make a wish and walk three times around the crypt of Bibi Khanum, located in the mausoleum, then it will certainly come true.
Another mosque worth paying attention to is Khazret-Khizr, which dates back to the 8th century. The mosque rises on a hill, on the outskirts of the ancient settlement Afrosiab (crossing Shahizinda and Tashkent streets) and is considered the most beautiful in Samarkand. The mausoleum of the first president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, was opened here in 2018. Be sure to climb the minaret for stunning views of Bibi-Khanym and Shakhi-Zinda.
The most popular Gur-Emir mausoleum (Shokhrukh Mirzo str.) is dedicated to the national hero of the Uzbek people - Tamerlane (Amir Timur). He and his family members are buried here. Here you can enjoy the beauty of ancient buildings, as well as learn about Tamerlane's hikes. Travelers are advised to find out more about this place with the help of local guides.
Another interesting ensemble of mausoleums – Shahi Zinda (Shahi Zinda st.) is located near the Bibi-Khanum mosque. The complex consists of 11 mausoleums of the XIV-XV centuries. It was here that the royal persons and nobles were buried in due time. This ensemble is very important for religious pilgrims. In ancient times, the hajj to Mecca could be replaced by a visit to Shahi Zinda, where, according to legend, the remains of the great preacher Kussamu ibn Abassu, a cousin of the Prophet Mohammed, are buried.
Mausoleum of Khoja Donier (Prophet Daniel) (settlement Afrosiab) is a place of pilgrimage for believers of three religions at once: Muslims, Christians and Jews. Part of the ashes of the Old Testament biblical prophet Daniyar, who was brought to Samarkand by Tamerlane, is buried in this place.
Sher-Dor Madrasah. Conceived as a symmetrical repetition of the Ulugbek madrasah, the building was built by the beginning of the 17th century. During the construction, the most modern construction technologies of that time were used. It turned out to be large, but less spacious, more squat than the original.
Bright mosaic ornaments on glazed bricks are painstakingly restored by modern restorers. The arch is decorated with the image of two tigers holding the sun, which gave rise to the name of the madrasah with lions
Temple of St. George the Victorious. The ancient Orthodox church of Samarkand has changed its location three times in its history, built in 1868 according to the project of the architect Lemke. Initially it belonged to the military department of the Russian garrison. Later it became a parish church next to the Orthodox cemetery.
The square where the St. George Church is located is called Red. It is the first and most visited functioning church in Samarkand
Mausoleum of Imam Al-Bukhari. The grave of the great theologian Imam al Bukhari, the author of the second most important book after the Koran, is located in the suburbs of Samarkand. This is one of the main places of pilgrimage in Uzbekistan. The mausoleum complex has occupied a huge territory, including a mosque, a training center, a museum, a library with handwritten books of Islam, souvenir shops, shops with religious literature, hotels for pilgrims and tourists.
House-Museum of Sadriddin Aini
This landmark of Samarkand is located in the center of the old city, next to the architectural complex of three tombs.
The building itself is divided into two parts. One of them is the main building, which was erected at the beginning of the 19th century. The second sector was built by Aini. His friends helped to build part of the building. In this building, offices and living rooms remained in the same form as during the life of the writer. Moreover, there are many of Ayni's personal belongings. The house has a stove decorated with national patterns. Museum visitors can look at the books written by Aini. In his house, there are even rough versions, written by hand by the writer himself.
A trip to Samarkand is an opportunity to get new impressions and photos. This city can be called an open museum. It is difficult to name all the sights of Samarkand, it is better to feel every piece of this extraordinary beauty and fairy tale.