Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Oriental images in abundance
Samarkand is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. Samarkand was once a major trading center on the legendary Silk Road. The second largest city in Uzbekistan is now the capital of the Veloyat Samarkand. The major sights in Samarkand are so numerous that the traveler should allow at least two days to see them. In the center of the city, many outstanding buildings from the Timurid reign have been preserved, mainly from the 14th century. The landmark of Samarkand is Registan Square, which is lined with three madrasas, schools in which Islamic sciences were once taught.
The most popular photo motif is the facade of the Schidor Medrese
A trip to Samarkand takes you back to the fairy tale world of 1001 nights. The Ulag Beg madrasah is the oldest. The Schidor Medrese was built around 200 years later. Because of its unusual facade, it is one of the most popular photo motifs in all of Uzbekistan. A few years later the Tillya-Kari-Medrese was built at the front of Registan-Platz. The entire western part consists of a mosque, the blue dome of which is visible from afar. The interior of the mosque is adorned with gilded reliefs made using the Kundal technique. One of the sights of Samarkand is the Bibi-Chanum Mosque, whose enormous dimensions can still be guessed today, although large parts of it have fallen into disrepair over the centuries.
Huge dimensions of the Bibi-Chanum Mosque
The entire complex of the Bibi Chanum Mosque once had the gigantic dimensions of 167 by 109 meters. The inner courtyard alone was 64 by 78 meters in circumference. The dome over the mosque room was once the tallest in all of Samarkand. One of the many decorative elements on the large wall surfaces are the Kufi inscriptions. The Bibi-Chanum-Mausoleum is opposite the Bibi-Chanum-Mosque. The visitors are particularly impressed by the great height of the interior, which is laid out in the shape of a cross. The walls are decorated with blue tones of mosaics, white and blue paintings and gilded relief panels.
Magnificently decorated walls of the Gur-Emir mausoleum
A visit to the Sadriddin Aini Museum, which is dedicated to the writer of the same name, is worthwhile not only for study travelers. He is one of the founding fathers of Tajikistan’s literature. The author is also very popular in Uzbekistan. Also worth seeing and impressive is the Gur-Emir mausoleum, the burial place of the great prince Amir Timur. The dome of the tomb is like a vault of heaven that seems to be laid out for eternity. The so-called melon dome, which is adorned with blue tiles, shines towards visitors from a distance. The mausoleum has a square base area of 10 by 10 meters. The height of the room is 22.5 meters. The walls are beautifully decorated with gold-painted majolica tiles and onyx marble.
The burial city of Shah-i Sinda offers an infinite variety of photo motifs
One of the outstanding tourist attractions of Samarkand is the burial city of Shah-i Sinda. The necropolis looks like an open-air museum of Timurid architecture. Gräberstrasse, with its facades adorned with splendid tiles, offers the traveler a seemingly endless selection of photo motifs. The tomb of a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad is also said to be located in the city of tombs. Behind the historic cemetery, a modern tomb was built on a hill, from which visitors have a beautiful view of the burial city of Shah-i Sinda.