Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Region: Samarkand


Geographic Coordinates: 39.654700, 66.975800
Temperature Range: 5.0°C to 35.0°C (41°F to 95°F)
Climate: Dry and hot summers, cool and wet winters.
Population: 546303
Language: Uzbek

Samarkand is a city located in the southeastern region of Uzbekistan, Central Asia. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and has been a major center for trade, Culture, And scholarship since ancient times. The city’s rich history dates back to around 700 BC when it was founded by Sogdian merchants on the Silk Road trade route between China and Europe. Samarkand’s architectural wonders are some of the most stunning examples of Islamic art and architecture in Central Asia. The Registan Square is perhaps the most famous landmark in Samarkand.

It features three grand madrasahs (Islamic schools) that were built during different periods between the 15th and 17th centuries: Ulugh Beg Madrasah, Tilla-Kori Madrasah, And Sher-Dor Madrasah. Each madrasah has its own unique design elements but all feature intricate tilework, Ornate carvings, Domed roofs, Arches, And minarets. Another must-see attraction in Samarkand is Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum which was built by Timur (Tamerlane), One of Central Asia’s greatest conquerors who ruled from Samarkand during his reign in the late 14th century. This mausoleum houses Timur’s tomb as well as those of his sons Shahrukh Mirza and Miran Shah.

The Bibi-Khanym Mosque is another impressive structure worth visiting while exploring Samarkand. Built by Timur after he returned victorious from India with loot including precious stones such as sapphires to adorn its walls; this mosque was once considered one of Islam’s largest mosques before it fell into disrepair over time. Apart from architectural marvels that dot its landscape; Samarkand also boasts an array of museums that showcase Uzbekistan’s rich cultural heritage through various mediums such as paintings or sculptures.

The Afrasiyab Museum, Located on the site of an ancient city that was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1220, Is one such museum. It features exhibits that include pottery, Jewelry, And other artifacts from the Sogdian era. Samarkand’s bustling bazaars are also a great way to soak up its vibrant atmosphere and experience Uzbekistan’s rich culture. The Siyob Bazaar is one of the most popular markets in Samarkand where locals and tourists alike can shop for fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables; spices; dried fruits and nuts; traditional Uzbek clothing known as ikat fabrics or suzani embroidery.

Samarkand is a city steeped in history with plenty to offer visitors who are interested in exploring its rich cultural heritage. Its stunning architectural wonders dating back centuries are a testament to its importance as a center for trade and scholarship on the Silk Road route between China and Europe. From grand madrasahs to mausoleums, Museums, Bazaars full of local produce – there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city!



Important Landmarks

  1. Registan Square is a complex of three madrasahs (Islamic schools) with impressive blue-tiled facades.
  2. Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum is the final resting place of Timur, the founder of the Timurid Empire.
  3. Bibi-Khanym Mosque is a grand mosque built by Timur’s wife and named after her.
  4. Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis is a collection of mausoleums and tombs, including that of Kusam ibn Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad.
  5. Ulugbek Observatory is an ancient observatory built by Ulugbek, one of Timur’s grandsons.
  6. Siyob Bazaar is a bustling market selling fruits, vegetables, spices, and souvenirs.
  7. Afrosiyob Museum showcases artifacts from ancient Samarkand dating back to the 7th century BC.
  8. Tombstone Complex Shakh-i-Mazar is located on top of Afrasiyab hill overlooking Samarkand city.

Primary Industries

  1. Tourism: Samarkand is a popular tourist destination with numerous historical landmarks like Registan Square, Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum, Shah-i-Zinda, and Bibi-Khanym Mosque. The tourism industry is one of the primary sources of income for the city.
  2. Agriculture: Samarkand lies in an agricultural region that produces cotton, wheat, fruits, and vegetables. The city has several food processing plants that process these products.
  3. Textiles: Textile production is a significant industry in Samarkand with several textile factories producing silk fabrics, carpets, and clothing.
  4. Construction: With the growth of tourism and the need for infrastructure development in the region, construction has become an essential industry in Samarkand.
  5. Handicrafts: Handicrafts such as ceramics and embroidery are traditional industries in Samarkand that have been passed down from generation to generation.
  6. Education: There are several universities and educational institutions located in Samarkand providing education to students from all over Uzbekistan.
  7. Transportation: As a major transportation hub between Central Asia and Europe/Asia Minor regions via railroads (Trans-Siberian Railway), highways (M-39), airways (Samaraqanda International Airport), logistics companies have established their presence here providing jobs to locals too.

Noteable History

  1. The city was founded in the 7th century BC by the Sogdians, an ancient Iranian people.
  2. Alexander the Great conquered Samarkand in 329 BC.
  3. The city became a major center of trade along the Silk Road in the 2nd century BC.
  4. In the 14th century, Timur (Tamerlane), a Turco-Mongol conqueror, made Samarkand his capital and transformed it into a grand city with impressive architecture and cultural achievements.
  5. Ulugh Beg, Timur’s grandson, built an observatory in Samarkand that was one of the most advanced astronomical centers of its time.
  6. Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire in India and descendant of Timur, was born in Andijan near Samarkand.
  7. The Russian Empire conquered Samarkand in 1868 as part of its expansion into Central Asia.
  8. During Soviet times (1924-1991), Samarkand became an important industrial center and cultural hub for Uzbekistan.
  9. Registan Square is one of Samarkand’s most iconic landmarks featuring three madrasas (Islamic schools) built during Timur’s reign: Ulugh Beg Madrasa (1417-1420), Tilya-Kori Madrasa (1646-1660) and Sher-Dor Madrasa (1619-1636).
  10. Other notable landmarks include Bibi-Khanym Mosque built by Timur to honor his wife; Shah-i-Zinda necropolis dating back to the 11th century; Gur-e-Amir mausoleum where Timur is buried; Afrasiyab Museum showcasing archaeological finds from ancient Sogdiana; and Siyob Bazaar offering local produce and handicrafts.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Registan Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features three magnificent madrasahs, or Islamic schools, with intricate tilework and stunning architecture.
  2. The Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum is the final resting place of Timur, the 14th-century conqueror who founded the Timurid Empire.
  3. The Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis is a complex of mausoleums and shrines built over several centuries, featuring exquisite tilework and Islamic calligraphy.
  4. The Ulugh Beg Observatory is an ancient astronomical observatory built in the 15th century by Ulugh Beg, a renowned astronomer and ruler of Samarkand.
  5. The Afrasiyab Museum showcases artifacts from the ancient city of Afrasiyab, which dates back to the 7th century BC.
  6. Siyob Bazaar is a bustling market where locals buy fresh produce, spices, textiles, and other goods.
  7. The Bibi-Khanym Mosque is an enormous mosque built in the 15th century by Timur’s wife Bibi-Khanym with stunning blue domes and intricate tilework.
  8. The Hazrat Daud Cave Complex is a series of underground caves believed to be associated with Prophet David (Daud in Arabic).
  9. The Museum of Art History of Uzbekistan showcases Uzbek art from ancient times to modern day.
  10. The Samarkand Regional Museum of Local Lore exhibits archaeological findings that date back to prehistoric times as well as exhibitions on local flora and fauna along with traditional handicrafts made by artisans from around Samarkand region.


Sports Teams

  1. FC Dinamo Samarkand is a professional football club that was founded in 1960 and has won numerous regional championships. They have also participated in the Uzbekistan Super League.
  2. BC Samarkand is a professional basketball club that was established in 1994 and has won several national championships. The team has also participated in international tournaments.
  3. The Samarkand Chess Club is one of the oldest chess clubs in Uzbekistan, founded back in 1935. Over the years, they have produced several national champions and international grandmasters.
  4. The Samarkand Judo Club was established by Olympic champion Ismail Yakubov back in 1978. It continues to be a popular judo club for athletes of all ages.
  5. Finally, the Samarkand Karate Club was founded by Sensei Khudaynazarov Tursunboy and is one of the oldest karate clubs in Uzbekistan.


Cultural Events

  1. Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival is a biennial event that showcases traditional music and dance performances from around the world. It is one of the largest cultural events in Samarkand.
  2. The Registan Festival is held every September to celebrate Registan Square with music, dance, and art exhibitions.
  3. Amir Temur’s Birthday Celebration takes place on April 9th each year, honoring Samarkand’s most famous historical figure with parades and cultural events.
  4. The Silk and Spices Festival occurs annually in May, highlighting Uzbekistan’s rich textile and culinary traditions through live demonstrations, food stalls, and fashion shows.
  5. Navruz (Persian New Year) is celebrated on March 21st throughout Central Asia with traditional foods, music, dancing, and games to mark the beginning of spring.
  6. Independence Day falls on September 1st each year when Uzbekistan celebrates its independence from Soviet rule with parades and fireworks displays.
  7. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and is an important Muslim holiday celebrated throughout Uzbekistan with feasts and family gatherings.
  8. The Bukhara-Samarkand Silk Road Rally is an annual car rally that takes participants along the ancient Silk Road route between Bukhara and Samarkand for a week-long journey through history as well as modern-day Uzbek culture.

Cuisine

  • Plov Center: This restaurant is famous for its traditional Uzbek dish called plov, which is made with rice, meat, and vegetables.
  • Lyabi Hauz Restaurant: Located near the historic Lyabi Hauz square, this restaurant offers a variety of Uzbek dishes such as shashlik (grilled meat), lagman (noodle soup), and samsa (pastries filled with meat or vegetables).
  • Bakhor Restaurant: This restaurant serves a range of Uzbek and European dishes in a stylish setting.
  • Sarbon Restaurant: Known for its elegant decor and live music performances, Sarbon offers traditional Uzbek cuisine such as shurpa (soup) and manty (dumplings).
  • Siyob Bazaar: The bustling Siyob Bazaar is a great place to try local snacks like somsa (savory pastries), halva (sweet confectionery), and dried fruits.
  • Registan Plaza Hotel’s Shakhriston Restaurant: This upscale restaurant serves both international cuisine as well as traditional Uzbek dishes like shashlik and plov.
  • Kebab House Samarkand: As the name suggests, this casual eatery specializes in kebabs grilled over charcoal fire.
  • Cafe Central Asian Spices: This cozy cafe serves homemade breads, soups, salads, and other dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Caravan Serai Restaurant & Bar: Set inside an old caravanserai building from the 19th century, this atmospheric restaurant offers live music performances along with delicious food ranging from kebabs to sushi.
  • Chorsu Chaikhana Tea House & Cafe: Located near the Chorsu Bazaar market area, this tea house/cafe offers various types of tea along with snacks like pastries and nuts.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Registan Square: A public square surrounded by three magnificent madrasas, making it a perfect place for a leisurely walk.
    2. Bibi-Khanym Mosque: It is one of the largest mosques in Central Asia and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains.
    3. Afrosiyob Museum: The museum showcases the history of Samarkand and its ancient civilization.
    4. Siab Bazaar: This bustling market sells fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, textiles, and souvenirs.
    5. Chor Minor: This unique four-towered structure was once an Islamic school.
    6. Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum: This mausoleum is the final resting place of Timur (Tamerlane) with intricate tile work and beautiful gardens surrounding it.
    7. Ulugbek Observatory: Built-in 15th century to study astronomy; now a museum showcasing ancient astronomical instruments.
    8. Hazrat Daud Cave: A sacred cave believed to be the resting place of Prophet David (Daud) according to Islamic tradition.
    9. Samarkand City Park: A large park featuring walking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts, football fields and other sports facilities.
    10. Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis: A collection of mausoleums built around the grave of Kusam ibn Abbas, a cousin of Muhammad, in the 11th century AD. It has been revered as a holy site for centuries, and many pilgrims come here to pay their respects. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001, this complex features stunning blue-tiled buildings with intricate patterns adorning their walls. The site also offers great views over Samarkand from its hilltop location.

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