What to see in Samarkand: itinerary for 1-2 days

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Samarkand is a great place both literally and figuratively! It is the Mecca of Uzbekistan. It takes at least 2 days to get there. Bukhara has its own beauty. 1 day is enough for your eyes. Khiva is unique and compact – 1 day.

10:30 – 10:45 Taxi to Ulugbek Observatory – 6 km. 10:45 – 11:15 Found part of the observatory built by Tamerlane’s grandson. The remains suggest a grandiose structure that was a center of attraction for astrologers and astronomers. Ulugbek made a significant contribution to the development of astronomy, having compiled “Astronomical Tables” with the description of more than 1018 stars. mathematician, astronomer, educator and poet of his time, was also interested in history and poetry. The length of the stellar year was determined: 365 days, 6 h, 10 min, 8 sec (margin of error + 58 sec). His tables were studied worldwide for another 200 years. The accuracy was surpassed only in the 17th century. 11:15 – 11:30 Next to the Mausoleum of Khoja Donier (A 9, Termez Street). – Prophet Daniel. Tamerlane brought them from a military campaign for the saint to protect his capital. 11:30 – 12:00 Walk around, There is a nice square near the aryk. A mausoleum for the shrine was built on the spot where the horse that transported the relics stopped. Near the place of the burial ran a spring with healing water. The tomb is considered a holy place by representatives of all world religions. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world flock here to pray. 12:00 – 12:10 Take a cab (2.5 km) to the Shahi Zinda Memorial Complex. 12:10 – 12:45 Beginning of the construction of the necropolis in the 11-12 centuries. According to legend, the brother of the Prophet Muhammad is buried in one of the tombs. The entire complex consists of mausoleums built at different times in the same style with beautiful blue domes. A friend of Ulugbek the famous mathematician is buried in the highest tomb. Not only the rich were buried in this historic cemetery, but also people who contributed to the history of the city. The Necropolis was a center of pilgrimage for all of Central Asia. A visit to it was equal to a hajj to Mecca. 12:45 – 12:55 We cross freeway and go to Bibi-Khanum Mosque, there is also synagogue and Siab bazaar. 12:55 – 13:40 We look around and go to the bazaar. Do not call it a market! The mosque was built by the order of Timur. It began to collapse from its own weight almost immediately after the construction was finished. Even the ruins gave an idea of the grandiosity of the construction and its great importance in the life of the city and its inhabitants. The mosque was restored to its original form at the end of the 20th century. 13:40 – 14:00 Return to the hotel by cab – 7 km. 14:00 – 15:00 Lunch at hotel restaurant. It is number 1 in Samarkand. Pilaf only till 13:00. 15:30 – 18:00 Drive to Kityab Pass (1 hour – there are beautiful views and two cafes, drink tea) or Chor-Chinor Garden – 39.386848, 67.240507. 50 min – 42 km. At least 600 years old. The oldest is 1160 years old. Inside one sycamore tree is a room of decoration.

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10:30 – 10:40 Taxi to Gur Emir (Go’r Amir Maqbarasi) – 1.8 km. Vereshchagin: Gur-Emir Mausoleum (1890). Photo. 10:40 – 11:30 Famous tomb of Tamerlane (1404) – place of pilgrimage of tourists from all over the world. Its construction was begun by the commander and even lived there for some time. Tamerlane died on the march, his body was brought to the capital and found his rest in the mausoleum. And in the mausoleum Bibi-khanym have two marble sarcophagi – with the ashes of his beloved wife Saray mulk khanym, her mother, and daughter-in-law. During the time of his grandson Ulugbek, the mausoleum was used to bury all members of the ruling dynasty. The Taj Mahal is believed to have been built in imitation of Gur Emir. Legend: Excavations of Tamerlane’s tomb began on June 16, 1941 in connection with the construction of the Gur-Emir mausoleum near the hotel “Intourist”. The builders of the hotel blocked one of the ditches, and the water flooded the crypt. The destruction of Timur’s remains began – they were covered with plaster crystals. A group of scientists headed by M. M. Gerasimov started excavations in an effort to prevent the destruction of the burial place of the ancient ruler. During the opening of the sealed coffin on June 19, 1941 the vapors of aromatic substances filled the room of the tomb, which formed the basis of the legend of the “spirit of Tamerlane”. The tomb allegedly bore the inscription: “When I rise, the world will tremble,” and inside the coffin: “Anyone who violates my peace in this life or the next will be subjected to suffering and perish. However, neither the photographs nor the expedition journal contain these inscriptions. 11:30 – 11:45 Ruhabad Mausoleum (450m) – XIV c, the burial vault of Sheikh Burkhaneddin Klych Sagardzhi, a famous theologian, scholar, preacher. Built in 1380 by order of Amir Timur. Near a monument to him. Timur embraced Islam, was a supporter of jihad, but he fought with co-religionists, drank a lot, feasted with women. 11:45 – 12:00 No entering the mausoleum further to Registan (650 m). The Vereshchagin: Samarkand (1870), Triumphant (with lions), Tamerlane’s Khan Doors, Main Street in Samarkand. 12:00 – 13:00 Go inside and to the courtyards of each of the three madrasahs. The history of the Registan is connected to the name of Tamerlane, during the time of the great ruler of the city there was a frontal place. According to legends, the blood of the victims was covered with sand. Registan translates as “sandy field”. The rulers of Samarkand, the grandsons of Tamerlane, built a madrasah around the square. The square is bounded on three sides by magnificent structures that made the city famous. The madrasah of Ulugbek – built by him, he studied there, and 100 other students. Sher-Dor Madrasah (picture of Shir-Dor Madrasah on Registan Square) – copied from the first one after 200 years, but it is less beautiful. Tillya-Kori Madrassah – in the 17th century (1660) according to the canons of Bukhara masters. Samarkand was in decline then. Three remarkable buildings were abandoned and empty. Their inhabitants were feral dogs. A few thousand people remained in the city. Restored Registan during Soviet times. 13:00 – 14:00 Continue to carpet factory (Khujum Carpet Factory). Samarkand bukhara silk carpets factory. By cab – 2 km. Address: 12A, Hujom str., Samarkand. No appointment, just come and ask the guide to show you. You don’t have to buy anything. There is a Soviet monument inside: The Uzbek is a campaign against the Muslim dress code, so most likely the heroine is pictured throwing off the burqa. They accept girls from 18 years old, after a 3-month training course. I didn’t ask about salaries, elsewhere I was told – from 700 thousand soums to one million, that is 7-10 thousand in rubles.

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But here for such a salary there is a queue, and in general to get a job at the carpet factory in Samarkand is considered quite prestigious. 14:00 – 15:15 Lunch – 4 km Restaurant Karimbek (Gagarin St) 15:15 – 15:45 Then walk 1.7 km to the Museum of Wine-Making named after Khovrenko.

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Samarkand travel guide

All the most important things you can see in a day and a half by walking through all the sights.

Samarkand is a very ancient city, estimated to be 4500 years old. Its population is about 360 thousand people, mostly Tajiks. Less Uzbeks, Jews, Iranians and Russians. Often you can explain yourself in Russian. Symbol – Bars, who, according to legend, came down from the mountains and approved the construction of the city.

Tamerlane (Amir Timur) made it the capital of the empire. Its architectural ensembles are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Below is a list of the most worthwhile sights with photos and short descriptions. To visit them all, you need a day and a half or two days. If you have only 1 day, look first of all the ones marked “must-see!”. And if you have time – as you can.

Gur-Emir

All points of interest are listed in order of visit. To navigate without problems, download the Mapsme app on your smartphone, download the map of Uzbekistan and open the file with points of interest of all the listed attractions in Samarkand. The file with the points is here.

must-see!

The palace-tomb, translated as “tomb of Emir. Became the prototype of the Taj Mahal, built in India by the descendants of Tamerlane.

A masterpiece of Central Asian architecture. It has an unusual fluted dome with 64 facets – by the number of years of the Prophet Muhammad. On the dome is a very beautiful mosaic. The shape of the dome was copied in 1913 in St. Petersburg, for a mosque near the Peter and Paul Fortress. And there are no others like it in the world.

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Inside – marble, onyx, gold, azure – very beautiful, all in patterns.

The mausoleum Tamerlan began to build in 1403 for his favorite grandson, Mohammed Sultan, who died at age 27 during a military campaign. Subsequently, Tamerlane himself (died in 1405 from pneumonia, during the campaign to China), his two sons, the great astronomer Ulugbek (who was also Tamerlane’s grandson) and Tamerlane’s spiritual mentor were also buried here. Ulugbek was the ruler of Tamerlane’s empire and a scientist at the same time. His son betrayed him into the hands of the clergy, who apparently feared his astronomical discoveries, and he himself seized power. Ulugbek was brutally killed and buried in a distant village, and only many years later reburied in a mausoleum, at the behest of the next ruler, Maverannahr. In so doing, he was dressed in silk underwear as a sign of a violent death, and it was written on his tombstone that his son had killed him.

The tombstone on Tamerlane’s tomb is of nephrite; it is the former throne of Kabek Khan, a descendant of Genghis Khan. The inscription on the tombstone reads, “Anyone who violates my peace in this life or the next will be subjected to suffering and will die. It is said that in 1740 the Iranian Nadir Shah took it and made it a stepping-stone to his throne, after which misfortunes came upon him. His advisors persuaded him to return the slab, which split in two along the way. And on June 19, 1941 the graves were opened and anthropologist M. Gerasimov restored portraits from the skulls. Then learned that Tamerlane was unusually high for its time – 180 cm, and limped – hence the nickname – Timur-Leng (Timur Lame). Just three days later the Great Patriotic War began…

Ak-Saray Mausoleum

Gur-EmirGur-Emir

if you have time

In Turkic it is called the White Palace. Located 100 m southeast of the Gur-Emir Mausoleum, built around the 15th century, recently restored. Mausoleum-mystery, no historical data, but beautiful.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

if you have time

“Abode of the Spirit,” buried the mystic scholar Burhaneddin Sagarji, who died in the 14th century. According to legend, Muslim relics are hidden here. It is a highly revered place.

Gur-Emir

A must!

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

Grandiose and beautiful. In translation – “The sandy place”, the ancient center of trade on the Great Silk Road. The area is surrounded by madrasah Ulugbek (1417 – 1420), madrasah Sherdor (1619 – 1636) and Tillya-Kari (1646 – 1660).

The Ulugh Beg Madrasah was built by Ulugh Beg, who ruled the Timurid Empire at the time. Students studied mathematics, geometry, logic, natural sciences and doctrine of the world soul. Well-known scholars and Ulugbek himself taught there. In 15th century it was one of the best Muslim universities and thanks to him and the observatory Samarkand has become a prominent scientific center.

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Try to climb the minaret of Ulugh Beg Madrasah to see the circular panorama of Samarkand.

Sherdor Madrasah (madrasah “with lions”). Before it there was khanaka (Sufi monastery, like an inn + mosque + library), which appeared in 1424, soon after construction of Ulugbek madrassah.

Tillya-Kari Madrassah was built on the site of a caravanserai in the 1420s. For a long time was not only a university, but also the main mosque.

Gur-Emir

A must to visit!

The largest mosque in Central Asia, leaves a very strong impression. Translated as “the eldest princess”, its previous name was Masjidi Jami. Built by Tamerlane in 1399 – 1404 as the main (“Friday”) city mosque. Every Friday 10 thousand men prayed here.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

The main entrance is 33 m high, 46 m wide.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

The gallery is supported by 480 columns of marble. To build it for only 5 years, brought from India 99 elephants, 500 people mined stone in the mountains. For the construction were brought 200 stone craftsmen from different countries. But at that time they could not yet build huge buildings to keep them safe from earthquakes, and many things had collapsed. What was left was the main entrance, a large mosque, two smaller ones and one of the four minarets.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

In the center of the courtyard a marble stand for the Koran, made during the reign of Ulugbek, is preserved. Touching it evokes sublime feelings, even if one does not know what it is. They say if one prays near this stone for the birth of a child, the request will be fulfilled.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

Despite centuries of neglect, there is a sense of flight here in the courtyard of the mosque.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

if you have time

Located across the street from the mosque. Built along with Bibi Khanum Mosque, in the sarcophagi are the remains of two richly dressed middle-aged women – apparently from the Timurid family. Very beautiful interior with ivory stalactites.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

Pictured below: Bibi Khanum Mausoleum on the left and the Bibi Khanum Mosque complex across the street on the right.

The Bibi Khanum Mosque has been the site of the Oriental Siyab bazaar for 600 years.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

if you have time

It was built in 1823 on the ancient foundations of the very first mosque in Samarkand, dating back to the 11th century. Even before Islam, people came here to worship the holy elder Khyzr (translated as “green light”), the patron saint of travelers, with whom the legend of immortality is associated. The mosque is active, but tourists can enter for a small fee or for free if there is no money. It seems unusually light and openwork in comparison with most buildings in Samarkand, and there is a sense of lightness, detachment.

Gur-Emir

A must to see!

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.Ak-Saray Mausoleum.Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

Extraordinarily beautiful necropolis, unites 11 mausoleums, the first built in the XI century.

The pilgrimage here could replace the hajj to Mecca, and the name means “The Living King”. According to a legend, Kussama ibn Abbas, cousin of Prophet Mohammed, who came to Samarkand to preach, was killed here by pagans. There is also his tomb, on the slab of which is written: “Those who were killed in the way of Allah, do not consider them dead: they are alive…”.

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Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

The door of Karagach (elm) wood leads to his tomb, it has a very beautiful carving from 1404. Near it, in a small room, you can sit on a bench and pray.

Mausoleums were built around Kussam’s tomb. Tamerlane’s wife Tuman-Aka, his niece Shadi-Mulk-Aka, his sister Shirin-Beka-Aka, Tamerlane’s commander Emir Burunduk, the astronomer and teacher of Ulugbek Kazazade Rumi (although he was neither famous nor rich, Ulugbek made his tomb higher than others as a sign of respect for his work) and the religious educator Khoji Ahmal are buried here.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum

if you have time

Cultural and trade center of Central Asia, existed from the VI century BC to the XIII century. Now it is just hills, among which is a museum of history of Samarkand.

Gur-Emir

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

A must-see!

Cult burial, although it is not known exactly who is buried here – Khoja Daniyar (companion of cousin of Prophet Mohammed), Jewish prophet Daniel, the Christian prophet Daniel (descendant of Kings David and Solomon, it was his lions refused to eat) or here is just soil from his tomb, brought Tamerlane to protect its capital.

All official delegations from different countries and guests of Samarkand try to visit this place. Many people come from afar to drink sacred spring water. Nearby, they sell amulets that can be blessed by a person praying inside the mausoleum.

Gur-Emir

Ak-Saray Mausoleum.Ak-Saray Mausoleum.Ak-Saray Mausoleum.

Must see!

This is the most remote point. There is no reason to walk there. It’s better to take a cab.

It was built by Ulugbek (“Ulug” – great, “bek” – ruler), whose real name was Muhammad Taragai. He was the grandson of Tamerlane; from childhood he aspired to knowledge and received a brilliant education.

When he became the ruler of Samarkand, he began to build an observatory together with his mentor Kazi-zade Rumi. It was in 1420, Ulugbek was only 26 years old.

The observatory building itself is an astronomical instrument. Under the guidance of Ulugbek, outstanding discoveries were made here, and the observatory was still operating 20 years after his assassination. The scientists were then forced to flee, and the works of the observatory were completed and published in Istanbul by Ulugbek’s disciple Ali Kushchi. “The New Gouragan Astronomical Tables” were the only ones in the world until the seventeenth century, when such calculations were learned to be made in Europe.

The observatory itself is gradually deteriorating, until we have only part of the sextant with a radius of 40.2 m, which measured the height of the celestial bodies above the horizon. There is an interesting museum nearby.

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