Uzbekistan Photo Gallery – Samarkand edition
↑ Registan – the central complex in Samarkand
Samarkand (Russian: Самарканд, Uzbek: Samarqand) is located more or less centrally in Uzbekistan and was certainly the climax of my Central Asia trip. The city is full of larger-than-life technicolour monuments and high profile historical attractions. Nothing else evokes strong romantic images of trade caravans, palaces, and articulate decorations as the buildings in this city, the confluence of the Silk route and the Spice route.
Here is a tour of Samarqand in pictures.
Ulugh Beg Madrasah, building on the west side of the Registan complex
Tillya-Kori Madrasah, the central building
Security guards in Registan blatantly ask tourists for bribes
Sherdar Madrasa, on the east side of the Registan
Registan - meaning "sandy place"
Gur-e Amir complex
Guri Amir is a mausoleum of Tamerlane the conqueror.
This building occupies an important place in the history of Persian-Mughal architecture and was used as a blueprint for many buildings in India
Striking similarity for Mughal architecture in India, such as the Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra
Inside Temur's tomb
Heavily restored interiors of Temur's tomb
Crescent Eid moon rising behind the tomb complex
Siab/Siyob Bazaar gates
Inside the Bibi Khanam mosque (view from the priests/mullah's courtyard)
Pretty tiles on the mosque exteriors
View of the Bibi Khonum mosque complex
Shah-i-Zinda (meaning "Living king") Ensemble
Shah-i-Zinda is a necropolis that includes tombs mostly from 9-14th centuries but some more recent ones as well
The complex is a large centre of pilgrimage and devout worshipers converge from across the region
Tombs on the lower levels
Shohizinda - main street
Remaining walls of the Ak-Saray Palace, planned to be the most grandiose of all Temur (Tamerlene)'s constructions
Strolling inside Registan's buildings
Most of the rooms inside these historical structures are now tourist stores
Cheap souvenirs, and kinda expensive compared to what you get just a couple of blocks away
Sher-Dwor (Tiger-door) building
The tiger mosaics on the face of each madrassa are interesting, in that they flout the ban in Islam of the depiction of living beings on religious buildings
I definitely recommend sticking around for the evening when the lights come on.
Tilya-Kori Madrasah, the grand mosque
Lights stay on till 8pm and are well done.
Exterior facade of the Sherdor madarsa
Ulugh Beg Madrasah at night
Each building in Registan has a large courtyard with little rooms flanking it's external edges
The Sher-Dor madrasa building glowing in the night
The Registan was a public square, where people gathered to hear royal proclamations, and also a place of public executions.
The structures are now predominantly Islamic, but the influence of Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian, and Jewish elements is clearly present. This is not surprising at all; Samarkand was a happening place in the olden days and therefore very cosmopolitan. In the fourteenth century and after, it was the capital of Timur (Tamerlane), a whole slew of construction was undertaken, leading to impressive sites such as the Registan, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, Ulugh-Beg’s Observatory, etc.
Tomb of Taimur/Temur the conqurer/barbarian (depending on who you are talking to!)
Gur-e-Amir at night
Bibi Khanum was one of the largest and most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world in the 15th century
This is just stunning in so many ways!
Tour groups and groups of pilgrims
Uzbek people are really friendly, particularly women are happy to chat with you.
When in Samarkand,...
Only parts of its gigantic 65 m gate-towers of the Ak Saray palace survive, with blue, white and gold mosaics.
Amir Timur's statue and the ruined walls of his White palace
Kok Gumbaz (Green domes) mausoleum complex
Main hall of the central mosque is abundantly gilded
Chad and me.
The central Samarkand complex, called Registan (meaning “sandy place”), is unbelievably beautiful. Despite seeing similar architecture for the past several weeks, I was blown away by the beauty and precision of these buildings.
Walking outside the walls of the Registan
Go'r Amir Maqbarasi
If you can squeeze through under the holes in that block, you'll bear many children...
Shah-i-Zinda complex, one of the most impressive places of Silk Road architecture
Beautiful entrance doors to buildings on the upper level
Octagonal doorway arch
Approaching the inner scantum
Vivid shades of blue and intricate caligraphy
Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of Prophet Mohammed, said to be buried here.
Being a weekend, there were many visitors to this holy site
Elaborate interiors of a tomb
Ak-Saray Palace, Amir Timur's summer palace also known as the "white palace" Above the entry are big letters saying: "If you challenge our power – look at our buildings!"
Inside the tomb of (Jehangir?)
Inside a mausoleum - very peaceful
Dorus-Saodat complex east of Kuk Gumbaz
A conclave where guards hang out for tea breaks.
Samarkand is well connected to both Bukhara and Tashkent, making travel by train particularly comfortable and fast. Also the nearby town of Shakhrisabz, where Amir Timur the conqueror was born, hosts impressive ruins of the Ak-Saray Palace and the Kok Gumbaz mosques – makes for a great day trip.