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Samarkand, an impressive journey in “A Thousand and One Nights”

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Samarkand is one of the main cities of Uzbekistanone of the countries born after the fall of the Soviet Union. However, its history goes back several centuries, in particular to the VII BC.

declared Patrimonium of mankindSamarkand makes us think of scenarios of ‘A thousand and one nights’ for its exuberant Asian image. But above all because it was the capital of the mythical empire of Tamerlane, the last great Mongol conqueror, a territory that stretched from India to Turkey. And also because it was one of the places of passage of the no less mythical Silk Road, which linked China to southern Europe. If you want to know more about Samarkand, we invite you to follow us.

What to see in Samarkand

With around half a million inhabitants today, everything in Samarkand reminds us of its glorious past. Extraordinarily beautiful mosques, impressive mausoleums and sights such as Ulugh Beg Observatory are some of the things you can see in the city. Let’s meet them.

Registan

This name is given to the large esplanade around which Samarkand was built. Kings have been proclaimed there, but the most beautiful are the three madrasas that frame it. As you know, schools where Islam is taught while serving as places of worship are given this name.

The ones you can see in the Registan are the Medersa Ulugh Beg, built in the 15th century; the by Sherdara replica of the previous one from the 17th century, and the by Tilla Kari. Built with every luxury, they are a perfect example of islamic architecture.

Bibi Khanum Mosque

Bibi Khanum Mosque

The Bibi Khanum Mosque, one of the most spectacular in Samarkand

However, one of the most spectacular monuments for its beauty and grandeur is the Bibi Khanum Mosque, the size of which you will get an idea of ​​if we tell you that the main door measures thirty five meters. Likewise, it had four minarets and a large central patio framed by four hundred white marble columns ending in domes.

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As if all this were not enough, there is a beautiful Legend What does it have to do with its construction? He says it was built by order of Bibi Khanum, wife of Tamerlane. In the aftermath, the architect falls in love with her and stops the work until she kisses him. Apparently, the kiss left a mark on the Emperor’s wife, which made her find out what had happened. He sought the architect on his land to kill him, but he was already dead, although he had already finished the mosque. Right next to her is the mausoleum of bibi khanum.

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Mausoleum of Gur-e-Amir

However, the most spectacular mausoleum in Samarkand is that of Gur-e-Amir, which literally means “tomb of the king”. And it is that in it is buried Tamerlane. It is octagonal in shape but crowned by a huge dome. It is very well preserved and would have served as a model for other large tombs such as the Taj Mahal from Agra.

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The Shan-i-Zinda necropolis

It is an impressive funerary complex formed by shrines Yes twenty mausoleums in which some of the most important figures of the Timurid dynasty, started by Tamerlane himself, were buried. It is even said that he is buried there Qusam ibn Abbascousin of the Prophet Muhammad who brought Islam to these territories.

Ulugh Beg Observatory

We have already mentioned this character before. He was the grandson of Tamerlane and, in addition to being the ruler of the region, he was a great astronomer. So much so that his fame even reached Europe. Around 1420, he built a large observatory which included a huge sextant three floors high to get the most accurate position of the stars.

The Mausoleum of Gur-e-Amir

Mausoleum of Gur-e-Amir

Although this observatory was destroyed in 1449, its remains were unearthed at the beginning of the 20th century and today it is a museum where you can even see the famous sextant.

The archaeological site of Afrosiab

Afrasiab was the forerunner city of Samarkand. Founded, as we have already told you, in the 7th century BC, it was named in honor of the king who built it. It is located northeast of Samarkand and the remains found at this site are in the Afrosiab Museum.

Among them are some as curious as oldest chess pieces in the world and various murals. It also houses the supposed tomb of the prophet Daniel, a huge sarcophagus measuring eighteen meters. It is so big because, according to legend, its occupant grows an inch every year.

Siyob Bazaar

Another of the visits that you must do in Samarkand is that of its bazaars. The biggest is the Siyob, which is very close to the Bibi Khanum Mosque. It is a perfect place to taste the typical products of the region such as dates, nuts or the so-called samarkand bread. You can even enjoy dishes like plow, a rice prepared with meat, spices, quail eggs, chickpeas, raisins and carrots; The chasliksa kind of meat skewers, or the erasersvegetable dumplings and other condiments.

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When is the best time to travel to Samarkand?

The city of Uzbekistan presents a Mediterranean climate. The winters are cold and the summers very hot, with days that can exceed forty degrees. For its part, precipitation is rare. All this makes us advise you to travel to Samarkand by spring. The weather is pleasant and there is not as much tourism as in the summer.

How to get to Samarkand

The city has a international airport. However, it only receives flights from neighboring countries like Russia or Turkey. Therefore, the best way to get to Samarkand is the railroad. From Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, you have a high-speed line known as Afrosoiyob.

Ulugh Beg Observatory

Ulugh Beg Observatory

You can also take the route by bus, but it takes about six hours so we don’t recommend it. Once in the city, the most common way to get around is by shared taxis. They’re pretty cheap, although they have the downside of not starting until they’re full. Another option is calls. matrushkasvans that carry up to fifteen people and are cheaper but also slower.

In conclusion, Samarkand is a nice destination to travel. Declared a World Heritage Site, its great mosques and mausoleums, its bazaars and its unmistakable oriental aroma will transport you to the exuberant world of “One Thousand and One Nights”.

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