Cyprus Mail

Samarkand: Uzbekistan’s jewel of the Silk Road

In this video, we take a pre-Covid trip to Samarkand, jewel of the Silk Road and Uzbekistan’s cultural treasure.

Located to the southeast of the landlocked country, Samarkand has straddled world cultures for over two and a half millennia, and is one of the most important sites on the Silk Routes traversing Central Asia.

Samarkand is noted as a centre of Islamic scholarly study and the birthplace of the Timurid Renaissance. In the 14th century, Timur (Tamerlane) made it the capital of his empire and the site of his mausoleum, the Gur-e-Amir. The Bibi-Khanym Mosque, rebuilt during the Soviet era, remains one of the city’s most notable landmarks.

Samarkand’s Registan square was the city’s ancient centre and is bounded by three monumental religious buildings. The city has carefully preserved the traditions of ancient crafts: embroidery, goldwork, silk weaving, copper engraving, ceramics, wood carving and wood painting. In 2001, UNESCO added the city to its World Heritage List.

As for modern Samarkand, it is divided into two parts: the old city, and the new city, developed during the days of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. The old city includes historical monuments, shops and old private houses; the new city includes administrative buildings, along with cultural centres and educational institutions.

If you should find yourself in this mythical place, consider including the following in your itinerary:

  • Registan square
  • Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
  • Shah-i-Zinda tomb
  • Bibi-Khanym Mosque
  • Tilla-Kari Medressa
  • Ulugbek Medressa
  • Sher Dor Medressa
  • Afrosiab Museum
  • Ulugbek’s Observatory
  • Hazrat-Hizr Mosque

View the original video here.

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