"Splendour of the Silk Road" Top 5 Page for this destination Samarkand by toonsarah
Samarkand Travel Guide: 308 reviews and 908 photos
(Els, one of our travelling companions, at the Shah-i-Zinda)
After Khiva and Bukhara, Samarkand seems big and full of bustle, but unlike Tashkent it retains more of its central Asian character, even in the more modern areas of the city. As an overall destination it didn’t move me in the way that Bukhara had, but some of the individual sights are among the most striking I have seen anywhere.
In particular, the first impression of the Shah-i-Zinda will remain with me always, and naturally too the stunning Registan Square, though I was more prepared for that by images I’d seen before the trip.
Don’t miss either the huge Bibi Khanum Mosque, the rich colours of the Gur Emir, the fascinating Observatory of Ulug Beg and the wonderful smells and sights of the bazaar.
This is also a good place in which to do your souvenir shopping as the madrassahs of the Registan are crammed with small shops selling local crafts of varying qualities and to suit all pockets. And despite the faster pace and more modern appearance of this city, the people here are as warm and welcoming as everywhere else in this friendly country (well, apart from one waitress!)
Some of the sights here, notably the Registan and Shah-i-Zindah, are really a grouping of several buildings. In order to do them justice I’ve devoted several tips to each, but do feel free to skip some if you’re only looking for a quick overview.
1. On the whole, I’ve written tips about the local customs and way of life on my Uzbekistan page. I’ve also included there some general information on things like packing, planning your visit etc. and some warnings. You may find some of this info duplicated here, but only where I feel it’s of particular relevance to do so.
2. Uzbek place names have several spellings. For instance, Samarkand may also be spelt as Samarqand. The same applies to people’s names, e.g. when applied to specific buildings, so the Afrosiab Hill is also sometimes called Afrosyab or I’ve also seen Afrosiyob. I’ve used the version taken from the excellent guidebook, “Uzbekistan: the Golden Road to Samarkand” (written by Calum MacLeod & Bradley Mayhew, published by Odyssey) which uses the most common form for well-known place-names (e.g. Tashkent rather than Toshkent) but adopts the newer Uzbek Latin spelling for street names, buildings etc.
3. Finally, as I've said elsewhere: in planning for and dreaming of my visit to Uzbekistan I owe so much to Ingrid (Trekki) who was always ready with advice and inspiration. Her Samarkand page inspired me and I'm sure it will do the same for you. Thank you so much, Ingrid :)
- In a nutshell:Will take your breath away!!
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