Samarkand is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. Well located between India, Persia and China, for centuries it has been a key point of the Great Silk Road. The city has a long and dramatic history: Samarkand was virtually wiped out by the Mongols of Genghis Khan, then Tamerlane brought him back to life and made his huge empire the capital, and under Ulugbek, grandson of Tamerlane, many madrassas were built in the city - he became the scientific capital of the East. Virtually all of the unique architectural monuments from the time of Tamerlane have survived here to this day.
Samarkand can not be called a
very popular tourist city, but travelers who have reached it remain delighted
with the beauty of the local architecture, bringing it to magical oriental
tales, the hospitality of the locals, and the amazing and very bright cuisine
of these places.
Weather in Samarkand
Travelers who plan to visit only the main sights of Samarkand can do without traveling at all: it is pleasant to walk around the city and communicate with the locals. Public transport is represented by buses and minibuses. The fare is 1200 UZS.
In the city inexpensive taxi.
The trip costs 4000 - 5000 UZS, you can catch the car right on the street.
Official taxis have better service, but the cost of services is high.
Popular hotels in Samarkand
All hotels in Samarkand
Café and restaurants
The city is full of places where you can eat or have a good lunch. Prices are almost everywhere low, and the taste is excellent. The most original view of Samarkand is ... the courtyards of ordinary houses in the Old Town, many of them are preparing very tasty Uzbek manti. If the day is hot, guests can be invited to one of the rooms of the house. Dine in such places is possible for 15 000 UZS per person (without alcohol).
Cafes and restaurants serve dishes of national and European cuisines. Dinner for two with a glass of wine will cost 80,000 UZS. Another very popular type of establishment is a teahouse, where traditional pastries are usually sold there, for example, samsa with various fillings, and hot tea. You can have a snack in a teahouse for 20 000 UZS per one.
An unusual variant of local fast food is Samarkand flat cakes. They can be eaten just like that or used as a plate where pilaf or shish kebab is placed.
After the contents of such a "plate" is eaten, the cake should also be eaten or taken with you. In no case should bread be thrown out, this is disrespect: the locals consider the flat cake with a pattern to be sacred.
You should definitely try
Samarkand plov, it is cooked in linseed oil from steamed rice, beef and walnuts
on lemon. Another excellent local dish is kebab, and for dessert you can take
traditional oriental sweets or melon, it is incredibly sweet and tasty in
Bazaars and shops
The shops of Samarkand resemble luxurious and mysterious oriental bazaars; therefore, there are usually no difficulties with choosing souvenirs.
The most common edible gift is dried fruit and nuts, incredibly tasty and cheap. The local designer shops are interesting, in them the clothes and shoes are created using traditional technologies, they look very stylish and original. Skullcaps are sold at every step in Samarkand. They are said to be so bright that they can be seen from the sky.
Dishes - another souvenir, without which almost no one leaves. Gorgeous patterned plates and cups, tiny cups and giant pilaf dishes - you can find products for every taste.
Experienced tourists recommend shopping in local markets or in tiny shops in remote areas. In large stores in the city center prices can be 2-3 times higher.
Those who like more practical
gifts will love carved boxes, they can be used to store jewelry or any small
things. The boxes are really excellent - the eastern ornament finely worked in
wood covers the entire surface of various shapes.
The heart of Samarkand is the Registan, one of the most beautiful squares in the world, surrounded by many magnificent ancient buildings, minarets and mausoleums. The art of glazed facing there has reached its highest point: in many old buildings there is not the slightest plot without decor. A striking example is the Tilla-Kari madrasah.
The old city of Samarkand can be easily walked around. In addition to the main square, you should definitely see the Ishratkhon mausoleum - a magnificent architectural monument associated with the name of Tamerlane, where women from the Timurid dynasty are buried. In the city there are several significant mausoleums. For example, Gur-Emir, in which Tamerlan himself found the last refuge. The ascetic Rukhabad is considered one of the most ancient buildings of Samarkand. Another unusual tomb - Khoja Donier - traditionally attracts Christian tourists with the fact that the biblical prophet Daniel rests there.
The Observatory of Ulugbek, a vivid example of the ancient scientific power of Samarkand, is very interesting; it is worth examining it from the outside and from the inside.
And, of course, you can't miss the cathedral mosque Bibi Khanum. This magnificent building is considered the largest mosque in Central Asia, and even despite the fact that not all buildings have survived, it is amazing and impressive.
One can get acquainted with an
even more ancient history of the area in the museum of the ancient city
Afrosiab, opened in honor of the 2500th anniversary of Samarkand. The
collection of more than 20 thousand exhibits, but most of all appreciated the
magnificent paintings and frescoes that once covered the city walls.
Photos of Samarkand