Samarkand: Travel Attractions, Tours to Samarkand, Photos and Pictures
Ulugh Bek Madrassah, Registan Square, Samarkand
Samarkand, or "The Gem of the East" as it is referred to in ancient Arab manuscripts, is a truly magnificent and historical ancient city. Established before 700 B.C., around the same time as Rome, Babylon and Athens, Samarkand is one of the oldest inhabited cities on Earth, and the oldest in Central Asia. The richness of the vegetation, good climate, and abundance of natural springs with clean water made the area of Samarkand favorable and appealing for ancient man to settle. So impressive is this city of Uzbekistan that it is said even Alexander the Great was amazed, stating that all he had heard about it was true, except that Samarkand was even more beautiful than he could have imagined.
Besides being famous for its natural beauty, many great thinkers came from this ancient region of Central Asia. Europeans who traveled to Uzbekistan came to refer to Samarkand as "The Land of Scientists". Among the famous minds that made this area of Central Asia their home was Al-Khwarazmi, a ninth century astronomer and mathematician. Another was Ibn-Sina, a great physician and enlightener of the tenth century. Yet another great scientist from Samarkand was the astronomer Kazy-zade-Rumi, who was the teacher of Ulug Bek, the grandson and successor of Tamerlane. Ulugbek himself was renowned throughout Central Asia as a very influential astronomer, scientist, and mathematician.
More about history of Samarkand
Pictures of Samarkand. Photos of Monuments
Bibi Khanym Mosque, Samarkand
Decorations of Tilya Kori Madrasah, Samarkand
Facade of Minaret of Ulugh Bek Madrasah, Samarkand
Learn about must-see places on the tour of Samarkand. Historical monuments.
In addition to being the home of great philosophers and scientists, anyone who travels throughout Central Asia and visits Uzbekistan discovers a region rich in breath-taking architecture. An important highlight of any tour of Samarkand is Registan Square, built by Islamic artisans and considered nothing less than an architectural jewel. Registan Square was once the heart of ancient Samarkand, and consists of an ensemble of three madrasahs. The word "madrasah" means university for Moslem clergy, and students lived and studied in these units. At one time Samarkand was one of the best universities in all of Central Asia. The three madrasahs, glistening turquoise-tiled buildings bordering the Square on three sides, are the Ulugbek, the Sher-Dor, and the Tillya-Kori. These buildings are covered inside and out with ornamental glazed brick, colored mosaics, and carved marble. It is impossible for mere words to capture the incredible grace and beauty of these structures. The architecture is known for its harmony with different sized buildings, as well as for its exquisite stylized mosaics. Travelers who tour Samarkand are awed by both the imagination of the architects and the actual physical creation of such lovely buildings. In order to view the gorgeous architecture, people travel not only from all of Central Asia, but from all over the world.
Another major must-see place on the tour of Samarkand is the Mausoleum of Tamerlane. An infamous Asian conqueror who ruled his enormous dynasty with an iron fist, Tamerlane focused on bringing the treasures of his many conquered lands home to Samarkand. Ruthless and without mercy to his enemies, Tamerlane also had a great interest in literature and the arts, and he was determined to restore Samarkand to the greatness it enjoyed before being conquered and devastated by other rulers such as Genghis- Khan. Under the reign of Tamerlane, Samarkand developed into a great cultural center famous throughout Central Asia and Europe. The architecture of the Mausoleum of Tamerlane is famous for its heavily ribbed, azure dome which rises gently and majestically above the rooftops of central Samarkand. The grace of line and form, together with an abundance of colorful mosaic designs, make this mausoleum a dazzling monument of ancient architecture. It is said the massive slab of green jade under which Tamerlane is buried is the world's largest jade stone. No tour of Central Asia is complete without a stop in Uzbekistan to visit to the Mausoleum of Tamerlane.
History of Samarkand
Historical Tours to Samarkand
Why travel to Samarkand
In recognition of Samarkand's rich multi-cultural, ancient history, travel to Samarkand is now encouraged by organizations such as the UN, UNESCO and the WTO. The government of Uzbekistan has also made tourism a priority, investing in the building and development of airports, leisure facilities, hotels and transportation. As a result, fine Samarkand service is now another attraction for travelers who tour Central Asia.
Perhaps this poem from a long-ago poet best expresses the wonder of Samarkand:
"You can travel through the whole world,
Have a look at the pyramids and admire the smile of the Sphinx;
You can listen to the soft singing of the wind at the Adriatic Sea
And kneel down reverently at the ruins of the Acropolis,
Be dazzled by Rome with its Forum and Coliseum,
Be charmed by Notre Dame in Paris or by old domes of Milan;
But if you have seen the buildings of Samarkand
You will be enchanted by its magic forever."
Read about historical tours to Samarkand and Central Asia region