Tuesday 14 July 2020



From Bukhara we travelled to the third city in Uzbekistan; Samarkand. From Bukhara to Samarkand, takes one and a half hours by high-speed Spanish built train which was comfortable. Samarkand, like Bukhara, had flourished as a place on the Silk Road since ancient times, but in the first half of the 13th century, Genghis Khan and the Mongols completely destroyed the town. The Timur Dynasty, founded in 1370 revived the town and it became the capital for some time. During the Timur dynasty, many beautiful Islamic structures were built and is what is today called the Old Town of Samarkand.It is unlike the rest of Samarkand which is a fairly modern city, built during the Russian occupation.  The main tourist attractions are gathered around the old town and it is a relatively compact area and walkable. The madrasas, mosques and mausoleums in "Samarkand Blue" are stunningly beautiful and exotic; almost Disneyland standard. particularly at night. 

Registan Square

The landmark in Samarkand is Registan Square.It is a beautiful square surrounded by three Madrasas built between the 15th and 17th centuries. Ulugbek Madrasa, located on the left side of the square, is a seminary completed in 1420 by Ulmbek, the grandson of Timur, who later became the fourth ruler of the Timur Dynasty. The fa├žade has a star pattern on it due to Urgbek's interest in astronomy. Souvenir shops are lined up inside. Sher Dor Medressa , completed in 1636, is on the right side of the square . Although it is a Muslim seminary that prohibits idolatry, the facade depicts a sun-bearing lion and deer with a face and an exotic blue onion dome. In front of the square is Tilla-Kari Madrasa, which was completed in 1660. The interior of this chapel in Madrasa is stunning with its blue and gold decorations. Registan Square is illuminated at night and is even more exotic

Bibi-Khanym Mosque

The Bibihanim Mosque is a huge mosque built in 1404 by the first Timur Dynasty.  It is about 10-minute walk from Registan Square. At the time of construction, it was the largest mosque in the Islamic world, but the dome began to collapse immediately after its completion, and it was once abandoned due to repeated earthquakes. Although it was restored during the former Soviet Union era, the interior of the main dome is still in ruins. The tile decoration is beautifully restored, but the base can be seen to be cracked.


To the northeast of the town of Samarkand, on the Afrashab Hill, is a group of mausoleums called Shahi Zinda, which is lined with countless mausoleums. Some of them were built between the 11th and 12th centuries, but most were built between the 14th and 15th centuries, and were buried by Timur's relatives and those who were in important positions in the Timur dynasty. At the far end of the mausoleum is a mausoleum dedicated to Xam Ibn Abbas, who came to Samarkand to convey Islam in the 7th century, and women prayed at the place of worship The Shahi Zinda Mausoleum is a sacred place that is visited by many people on a pilgrimage. The hill of Afrashab, where this mausoleum is located, is where the town of Samarkand was located before it was destroyed by Genghis Khan.

Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum

The Guri Amir Mausoleum is the mausoleum where the first Temur Dynasty lord Timur and his sons and grandchildren are buried. It is beautifully decorated and it had its fair share of people trading things inside..


Siab Bazaar

Siab Bazaar is a large market right next to the Bibihanim Mosque. People of various races sell various things in this market. It's mainly a food market, but we also sell pottery and other souvenirs.Avoid the toilets which were shabby.

Russian Town

Samarkand was occupied by the Russian army in 1868 and has since become part of the Russian Empire. During this period, the area called Russia Town, which extends to the west of the Old Town, was built. The parks and roadside trees are abundant in green, and it is European. It's a bit like the streets of Tashkent. Samarkand has become a fairly modern cityscape even in the area called the old town and the area around Registan Square is neatly maintained like a European park.The street from the Registan Square to the Bibihanim Mosque is also modern.The only old-fashioned atmosphere left behind is the area to the east of Tashkent Road from the Registan Square to the Bibihanim Mosque and the area behind the Guri Amir Mausoleum.It's not a beautiful cityscape, but there are small mosques that  and interesting to see the old-fashioned lifestyle.

Accommodation in Samarkand

In Samarkand, I stayed at a small family-run hotel called Muzaffar Hotel Samarkand in the Old Town. Although called a hotel, but it's more like a B&B. No shoes are allowed and it is very clean. It was like staying in a Japanese house and it was very comfortable. The woman who managed the inn did not speak English, but the person who seems to be a son could speak English.  It is close to Registan Square (7 minutes on foot) and convenient for sightseeing. it's recommended!

 MuzaffarHotel Samarkand


Access to Samarkand

From Bukhara: About 1.5 hours by high-speed train

From Tashkent: 2 hours 10 minutes by high-speed train


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