Samarkand - Crossroads of cultures
Samarkand can truly be called a unique city!
The greatest poets and philosophers of the world have given the city many names – the garden of the soul, the pearl of the east, the mirror of the world and even the face of the earth. However, they was not be able to describe the beauty and richness of this beautiful city.
The climate of Samarkand has a pronounced seasonality. Winters are usually mild and temperatures do not often fall below 0 ° C. Cold snap is very rare and mostly at night, so do not forget to take a warm sweater and scarf. Summer is very hot, so do not forget to bring a hat and sunglasses with you.
Gifts and souvenirs
Samarkand souvenir shops can make happy the fans of woodcrafts, textile and other materials. By tradition, most of the workshops are placed in the old madrassas and all crafts are hand-made by local artisans. However, in Samarkand, in addition to the usual souvenirs, you can find several more features that you will not find in other regions of the country. First of all, we advise you to visit the Siab bazaar, which is located next to the Bibi Khanum Mosque, almost in the centre of the old part of Samarkand. This market is abundant of dried fruits, nuts and sweets. Among other things, the Samarkand flatbread and halva can be distinguished. Also in the Samarkand region, there is a paper-mill called “Meros”. Its masters have kept the method of preparing paper from mulberry bark. This method originated in the X-XI century and was particularly durable. At this factory, you can buy unusual paper crafts, such as postcards, notebooks, masks, and even dresses, dolls and handbags.
In Samarkand, as well as in the most of our regions, the main dish is pilaf. This type of pilaf, like Bukhara, is not mixed during cooking, which gives the pilaf a peculiar diet. In fact, this diet is that everyone can choose how many carrots and meat to put him. In addition to pilaf, various kebabs, manti and especially the flatbread are popular! There are some legends about the Samarkand flatbread, as they can be stored for as long as you want, and they will not become stained and moldy. One of the legends says that one Emir of Bukhara was very fond of Samarkand flatbread so much that he constantly ordered to bring it to him. However, once, when he was tired of waiting for his order each time, he thought about how to start making them in Bukhara. “Probably need to bring flour from Samarkand,” he thought. Nevertheless, it did not work. “Then you need to bring the local water”. Again, they failed. “Probably, it’s necessary to bring Samarkand clay and make tandoor from it”. The result remained the same. “Maybe it's the master? I need the master from Samarkand”. However, even the Samarkand master could not repeat this taste in Bukhara. After that, the Emir abandoned his attempts and continued to bring his favorite dainty from Samarkand. In the bazaars of Samarkand, you can also find a huge variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts for every taste. You can read more about Uzbek Cuisine at this link. You can read more about the national cuisine of Uzbekistan at this link.
Top Attractions in Samarkand
Registan Square in Samarkand is one of the outstanding examples of urban development art in Central Asia.
The name of the square - “Registan” means "sandy place". A true version explaining the name of this square in Samarkand, the center of a fertile oasis, says that in the Middle Ages in all cities of Mavarannahr, the central squares were called Registan - administrative, trade and artisan centers of eastern cities.
During the reign of Timur (1370-1405) Registan was the main trading area. And then only during the reign of Ulugbek it acquired an official character.
The Cathedral Mosque of Tamerlane, Bibi-Khanum
In the centre of the historical city of Samarkand there is a grand architectural monument – the Cathedral mosque of Amir Temur, Bibi-Khanym. It was erected in 1399-1404 by the order of the Temur and was the largest mosque in Central Asia. Translated as “senior Princess”, the mosque was named after the beloved wife of the commander, Bibi-Khanum, known in history more as Saray Mulk Khanum.
Its foundation was laid after the Tamerlane’s military campaign to India, but the commander observed the process not long, as soon he began the campaign against the Ottoman Empire. When Tamerlane returned after the campaign in 1404, he was angry that the entrance portal was not as grand as it was planned, so he ordered it to be destroyed and rebuilt.
The Grand complex consists of the entrance portal, the main mosque and two small ones. Up to 10 thousand people can pray simultaneously in the courtyard of the building with an area of 5 thousand square meters. The courtyard is surrounded by majestic minarets on four sides.
The building is richly decorated with paintings, carved marble and tiles. It was constructed by the masters from the various countries of the world.
The memorial ensemble Shakhi-Zinda
Do you want to plunge into the past? Then you just need to visit one of the most picturesque monuments of ancient history – the Shakhi-Zinda memorial ensemble!
This place is one of the most revered places for pilgrims in Central Asia. The necropolis is associated with a religious figure, preacher of Islam, Qusama Ibn Abbas, a cousin of the prophet Mukhammad. According to the legend, Qusama Ibn Abbas was attacked here, but he took cover in a well and from there ascended to Paradise alive.
Therefore, this place is sacred for Muslims, and every ruler sought to build a memorial in Shakhi-Zinda and bury their loved ones here. However, this place is also remarkable for its architectural design. The buildings are made of blue and turquoise tiles and are considered masterpieces of architecture from the XI century to the beginning of the XX century.