Monday, 17 October 2016

Samarkand, Uzbekistan on the Silk Road - the ancient trade route linking China to the Mediterranean

Exploring Samarkand

BY GEMMA CAGNACCI


Samarkand. It conjures up so much when you say the name. 
One of the oldest inhabited cities of Central Asia, Samarkand was a legendary Silk Road stop, being strategically situated between China and Europe, in modern day Uzbekistan.

During the 14th century, Samarkand came under the rule of the conqueror Tamerlane, who had a passion and commitment for the arts. In fact, it is said that while being ruthless with his enemies, he would spare the lives of skilled artisans and craftspeople and bring them to Samarkand to improve the city, which is clearly seen through the city’s ornate architecture. With an impressive skyline of domes and minarets you can see why Samarkand is the star destination of Uzbekistan. Looking closer at each of these sights, you will see an incredible amount of intricate detail with the use of ornate tile work in an array of blues and turquoises.

No trip to Uzbekistan would be complete without visiting these notable architectural marvels:
The Registan - a public square surround by three madrasas, Ulugh Beg, Tilya Kori and Sher-Doh.
Babi-Khanym - one of the most important buildings in Samarkand - it was once the largest and grandest mosques in the world.
Gur-e Amir - a mausoleum which contains the tombs of Tamerlane and his sons.
Shah-i-Zinda - a necropolis that contains a cluster of mausoleums and areas for religious rituals.

Not only is Samarkand an architecturally significant city, it still is home to many craftspeople and artisans, and thus you will see an abundance of hand made textile and ceramic pieces including embroidered suzanis and hand painted dinnerware, which make for a special Silk Road souvenir for your home.

After exploring each of the amazing sights in Samarkand, sit back, have some tea and enjoy the incredible city skyline that sits before your eyes.   The best time to visit Uzbekistan is Spring (April to May) & Autumn (September to early November).



Book your trip to Uzbekistan and the rest of ‘the Stans’ with Blue Dot! Click here.


Map of Uzbekistan


Tile details at the Registan

Sher-Dor Madrasah


The entrance to Gur-e Amir
Inside Gur-e Amir



Beautiful tile details at Shah-i-Zinda


Walking through Shah-i-Zinda


Bibi-Khanym Mosque


The Samarkand skyline

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