There are many beautiful and amazing cities in the East, but Samarkand is truly considered the jewel of Central Asia. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, founded in 742 BC.
For 2500 thousand years, Samarkand attracted the views of travelers, merchants and conquerors. Writers and poets devoted magnificent epithets to the glorious city — “Edem of the Ancient East”, “City Stored by Allah”, “Pearl of the Eastern Muslim World”, “Face of the Earth” …
The earliest mention of Samarkand, since ancient times known as Marakanda, is found in the descriptions of Alexander the Great’s conquest campaigns (329 BC). Alexander himself spoke of Samarkand like this: “Everything that I heard about the beauties of Samarkand is all true, except that he is more beautiful than I could have imagined.”
At different periods, the city was influenced by the Persians, Seleucids, Chinese, Turks, Arabs and Mongols. In the XIV century, the city was the capital of the empire of Great Timur and his dynasty. From each victorious campaign in India, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Transcaucasia, Turkey, he brought the most skilled architects, jewelers and scientists to Samarkand. The rulers of European states considered it an honor to visit Samarkand.
Under Ulugbek, Timur’s grandson, Samarkand became one of the world’s scientific centers. There was a whole scientific school that united eminent astronomers and mathematicians. In 1428, the construction of the Ulugbek Observatory was completed, the key instrument of which was the wall quadrant with a radius of 40 meters and with a working part from 20 ° to 80 °, which was unparalleled in the world.
The history of the city is closely connected with the names of great poets, philosophers and scholars: Ibn Sina, Biruni, Rumi, Ali Kushchi, Rudaki, Omar Khayyam, Jami, Navoi and Babur.
For more than 2000 years, Samarkand was the most important point on the Great Silk Road between China and Europe.
Geography and climate
The city is located 275 km south-west of Tashkent — on the slopes of the Turkestan Range.
The climate of Samarkand is subtropical-inland, with pronounced seasonality. Summers are hot and dry; in July, daytime temperatures can exceed 40 ° C.
The winter is cool, in the afternoon the temperature does not fall below -1 ° C, thaws are frequent, when the temperature from -5 ° C rises to +6 ° C and higher.
Note: If you are planning a trip to Samarkand during the summer period, be sure to take a hat or an umbrella, sunglasses, light cotton clothing, and sunscreen cream. By leaving the hotel, do not forget to take water with you.
The main part of the population are Uzbeks and Tajiks. The local population speaks Uzbek and Tajik, Russian is used less frequently. Samarkand residents, accustomed to a large number of tourists, are very welcoming and responsive. Guests are always welcome here!
One of the most significant culinary symbols of Samarkand is the Samarkand flatbread. It is famous for its unique taste and does not get stale for a long time. There is a legend that the Emir of Bukhara was a big fan of Samarkand flatbreads and once asked the courtiers — “Why do I bring flatbread from Samarkand when they can be baked in Bukhara?” — they brought the best baking (baker) from Samarkand to his order. But no matter how hard the baker tried, his cakes did not turn out so tasty … “Probably, it’s about the Samarkand flour …” — the emir thought. They delivered flour, but the bread did not work again … — “Maybe it’s water …?” — They brought water … “Clay?” — they made a tandyr (clay oven) from Samarkand clay, but the cakes did not work out. “Maybe it’s a matter of the Samarkand air?” Thought the emir … “But don’t bring air” — the Emir gave up the attempt and made the decision to deliver the cakes as before — from Samarkand.
Pilaf is considered to be another gastronomic heritage of Samarkand! Prepare such a pilaf from a special variety of rice — devzira, which is distinguished by its red-brown color, sesame oil and yellow carrot. When serving such a pilaf is not mixed and laid out on a lyagan (dish) in layers — rice, carrots, meat. Samarkand pilaf is very nourishing and incredibly tasty.
On the table of Samarkands there is always another culinary sophistication – Chakki (pronounced Chucky). It is a fermented milk product, reminiscent of the consistency and taste of yogurt. Chakki is used as a sauce and independently.
Samarkand is also known for its vineyards and wine, respectively. Here is grown a unique grape variety, which has a high sugar content. In the city museum of winemaking you can get acquainted in detail with the history of local production and taste interesting varieties of wines.
Movement in Samarkand
National and international trains pass through Samarkand, there is an international airport (there are flights to Kiev, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Simferopol, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Tashkent), buses, route taxis and taxi services run. Fast train Afrosiyab runs every day from Tashkent to Bukhara through Samarkand. From April 15, 2017 launched the tram movement. On the route Tiger Alley — Bibi Khanym Madrasa runs 6 electric cars.
Where to go? What to see?
In 2001, Samarkand was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Someone comes to Samarkand to pay tribute to the shrines of the Islamic world — to make a Ziyarat (pilgrimage), someone to get acquainted with the ancient architecture and culture. Most of the architectural masterpieces of Samarkand Timurid era preserved to this day. The blue-turquoise glaze of the mosaics and the unique architecture of Samarkand are known throughout the world.
Note: When visiting religious sights of Uzbekistan, it is advisable for women to cover up the exposed parts of the body (shoulders, back and legs)
In the village of Kunigil, near Samarkand, there is a paper factory «Meros», founded by the Mukhtarov brothers. Thanks to the brothers in the local factory, the ancient tradition of making paper using old Samarkand technologies has been revived. This is a manual production. Here you can see the whole process of making paper and purchase souvenirs.
Samarkand is also famous for its carpet. The silk carpet factory Khujum is known far beyond the borders of Uzbekistan. More than 400 people are engaged here in the manual manufacture of carpet products. Here you can see how to create carpets, as well as purchase products.
The most popular places for shopping in Samarkand are the famous oriental bazaars. The most popular of which is Siab bazaar. The market is located near the Bibi-Khanym mosque. Here you can buy a variety of goods — fruits, halva, nuts, national clothes, hats, souvenirs.
Welcome to Samarkand!