Samarkand is one of the most ancient cities in the world with a cultural treasury of the peoples of the East. Medieval architectural monuments unique in beauty, castles, architectural forms, magnificent building arches decorated with mosaic patterns all shining in the sun. The advantageous geographical location, favorable climate, abundance of natural springs with fine water, nearness of mountains with large wild fowl, flowing Zaravshan river - all these factors makes a visit to Samarkand a must see on your list.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
The well-known mathematician and astronomer Ulughbek, cave an order in 1417 to build the madrassah that would later be renamed in his honor. The building, located on the western part of the square, was done in the form of a rectangle; inside there is a square yard with entrances to the student cells and learning rooms. The façade with two tall minarets in the corners is looking out onto the square. Glazed bricks create beautiful ornaments on the yellowish laying of the walls. The portal is adorned with patterns of ten-pointed stars symbolizing the sky, and astronomy. The students were taught here philosophy, astronomy, mathematics and theology.
This stunning avenue of mausoleums contains some of the richest tilework in the Muslim world. The Timurid-era tilework dates from 14th and 15th centuries. A shrine to Qusam existed here on the edge of Afrosiab for around seven centuries before Timur buried his family and favourites near the sanctity of the original shrine. The 1372 tomb Shodi Mulk Oko is second on the left after the entry stairs. Also note the exquisite majolica and terracotta work here with minuscule amount of space between the tiles. Outside the entrance you will find the foundations of the 15th century tahorathana. Shah-i-Zinda is an important place of pilgrimage, so enter with respect and dress conservatively.
3. TILLA-KARI MEDRESSA
The 1660 Tilla-Kari Medress is located on the northern side of the Registan. The mosque is decorated with blue and gold to symbolise Samarkand’s wealth. The delicate ceiling and gold leaf, is flat but its tapered design makes it look domed from the inside. In the picture gallery you can see blown-up B&W photos of old Samarkand. You can buy some of there prints at several shops.
The museum is located in the northern part of the city, near the hills of the ancient settlement of Afrasiab. The museum is a dedication to the history of the Samarkand. The museum's exhibits illustrate the history of Samarkand’s development from the time of Alexander the Great conquest. The findings discovered during archaeological excavations which belongs to a different period of the settlement history are one of the most valuable artifacts of the museum. These include ossuaries, fragments of ancient swords, knives, arrows, coins, pottery and frescoes of Samarkand palace belonging to the Ikhshidid dynasty from the 7th and 8th centuries. The most valuable exhibits of the museum also include unique pieces of wall paintings dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries, depicting hunting scenes and holiday celebrations.
The 15th century observatory is one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. The 30m quadrant was part of a three-storey observatory Ulugbek built in the 1420s - all that remains now is the instrument’s huge curved track, unearthed in 1908. On exhibits at the on-site museum include a model of the observatory, a copy of a 1605 map of the world that was created here, and a Dutch engraving showing Ulugbek seated with such fathers of classical European astronomy as Ptolemy and Tycho Brahe.
6.REGIONAL STUDIES MUSEUM
The museum occupies an old Jewish merchant’s house. A lavish wing is devoted to the Jewish history, with old photos of Samarkand’s once-prominent population of both European and Bukhara Jews. Also on display is the standard line-up of old ceramics, stuffed animals and historical displays.
7.TOMB OF DANIYAR
Located on the remodeled banks of the Siob River northeast of the Afrosiab Museum. The low structure is topped with five domes, containing an 18m sarcophagus – legend has it that Daniel’s body grows by half an inch a year and so the sarcophagus has been enlarged over the centuries. His remains was brought here by Timur from Iran dating back at least from the 5th century.
In the ancient times, this central square was covered by sand. In that period, authorities of the city were gathering people on the square to announce khan’s orders, held celebrations and public executions, and collected the army leaving to war. In the past, the many trade rows around the square, was where artisans and farmers were selling their goods. The square has always been the center of the city social life. The main sights of the city is the three madrassahs on the square, Ulughbek, Sherdor and Tilla-Kori.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The best way to get around in Samarkand is by taxi, train or marshrutka.
Samarkant is best visited during April to May, and September to early November. During these periods, it's typically warm and dry, and you can enjoy the heat of this desert region without it being uncomfortably hot, as it can be during the summer months.