Samarkand is one of the most ancient cities in the world, whose worthy age of 2750 is on a par with Rome, Athens and Babylon – it was originally known as “Maracanda”. A great trading city of the past, the capital of many kingdoms – from ancient Sogdiana to the medieval empire of Tamerlane – Samarkand is considered the birthplace of the world famous Samarkand silk paper. High quality silks and velvets, jewelry and stained glass were produced there.
Today, this second largest city of Uzbekistan with a population of over 400 thousand people is a harmonious combination of the modern economic achievements of independent Uzbekistan with the charm and grandeur of the world famous architectural monuments of Samarkand, listed by UNESCO as a world heritage.
1. The Registan Square
Registan Square is the “heart” of Samarkand. The social and official center of Samarkand today consists of three grandiose buildings: Ulugbek Madrasah (1417-1420), Sher-Dor Madrasah (1619-1636) and Tilla-Sheikh Madrasah (1619-1636). All buildings are richly decorated with glazed bricks, majolica tiles and carved – the so-called “kashina” – mosaics, the buildings have retained their original appearance and high spirit of medieval Muslim culture.
Registan Square, Sights of Samarkand
2. Mausoleum of Gur-Emir ( Gur-Emir mausoleum)
Gur-Emir can be translated from Persian as “tomb of the emir.” It was originally built by Tamerlane for his beloved grandson, Muhammad Sultan, who died in 1403. Later, this place became the burial place of Tamerlane himself, his two sons – Miranshah and Shakhrukh – and his grandson, the great astronomer Ulugbek.
The mausoleum is a monocotyledonous structure with a burial vault. The octagonal body of the building is crowned with a ribbed dome (14.5 m in diameter, 12.45 m in height) on a high drum. The dome is the main decorative element of the mausoleum. Thick turquoise blue twisted stripes make the dome particularly expressive.
3. Mausoleum of Khoja Doniyar ( The Haji Daniyar)
The mausoleum is one of the most important places of religious pilgrimage in Samarkand, equally revered by representatives of three world religions: Muslims, Christians and Jews. The name of the place has a connection with Daniel from the Old Testament, the one who calmed the lions in Babylon’s box. They say that the sacred remains were brought by Tamerlane from the Iranian city of Shush (ancient Suzy) during his 7-year campaign (1399-1404) against Iran, Turkey and Syria. (more…)