A tour of Samarkand
Experience the timeless beauty and power of Samarkand on a captivating city tour!
reading time: 5 minutes
publication date: June 29, 2023
Dreaming of travelling to a place where history, culture and architecture meet in harmony? Uzbekistan is just such a corner of the world. Full of mysticism and richness, it offers unforgettable tourist attractions for any traveller. Want to see them? Get ready for an unforgettable adventure and embark on a journey through the highlights of Uzbekistan.
You're probably wondering what the most interesting sights of Central Asia are? We hasten to answer! Uzbekistan's most important city is undoubtedly Samarkand, full of history and beauty, which is today considered the country's pearl - and no wonder! After all, the Uzbek city has on its territory one of the country's main attractions….the famous Registan Square. It is a monumental architectural complex from which it is worth starting your tour of the city. The name of the square translates as sandy square, and it itself consists of three madrassas (Muslim religious schools):
Uluz Bega Medresa - the western medresa, completed in 1402,
Shir Dar (Having the Strength of a Lion) Medresa - the northern medresa, whose name refers to the unique decoration of the facade, namely two lions; completed in 1636,
Medresa Tillja Kari (Covered with Gold) - the eastern medresa, whose name refers to the golden interior decorations; completed in 1660.
You have probably already guessed that Registan is the real centre of the city's public and cultural life. This is where fairs, ceremonies or artistic performances used to take place, and today it is the most representative place in Samarkand, which.... has quickly become the most important city in Uzbekistan!
When visiting Asia's most beautiful city, don't forget to visit the Gur-e Amir mausoleum. Did you know that this is where Tamerlan, one of the most important rulers of Uzbekistan, rests? Meanwhile, use your free time to enter the Bibi Chanum mosque with its distinctive blue domes, which used to be one of the largest mosques in the world. Complete the tour programme with a walk through the maze of narrow streets of the Old City, visit ancient palaces, mausoleums or magical mosques and.... discover the greatest attractions of Samarkand on foot!
Samarkand's attractions also include the Shah-i-Zinda Mausoleum Avenue, a hilltop cemetery complex with tombs belonging to the Timurid dynasty. Sound appealing? If you have a bit more free time, you might be tempted to see the sensational-looking Gur-i Mir Mausoleum, which will enchant you above all.... at night! You're probably no longer surprised that tourists call Samarkand the most beautiful city in Uzbekistan?
Which other city in Uzbekistan is worth visiting? Among Uzbekistan's most popular tourist attractions is Bukhara, known for its oriental mysticism. At the heart of the city is Kolon Square, surrounded by medresas, whose beauty is so unreal that it ... looks like something out of an Islamic fairy tale! However, the entire complex consists of the central square, the mosque and the Mir-i-Arab madrasa, whose colourful ornamentation, ornate tiles and extraordinary precision workmanship are sure to amaze you! In addition, Kolon Square is considered a symbol of Bukhara and one of the most important places for Muslims in Uzbekistan, with its monumental minarets towering over the Silk Road city.
Among the most important sights in Asia is also the Ark Fortress, whose walls reach more than 20 metres high and 780 metres long. This is one of the most impressive clay fortifications in this part of the world! While in Bukhara, also take a look at the city centre and enrich your tour programme with the historic architectural complex of Labi Hauz, centred around a water reservoir. You'll be amazed by the fact that it looks like a real oasis! The complex is surrounded by beautiful temples and centuries-old trees, providing shelter from the heat. In our opinion, Labi Hauz is a magical place where you can feel the spirit of the past and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of oriental life and Uzbek culture.
Information dated 29/06/2023.
Wondering what Uzbekistan's oldest attractions are? They certainly include Chiwa, an ancient Central Asian city with a unique charm and atmosphere that will transport you into the magical world of the Tale of a Thousand and One Nights. The very location of Chiwa, which is reminiscent of an oasis, is unique, as it is situated between two vast deserts: Kyzyl-kum and Kara-kum.
Wandering around the city walls, you will discover the fortified inner city of Iczan Kala, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Walking through the grounds of Iczan Kala, you will also find more than 50 historical monuments, including mosques, mausoleums, medressas and palaces that will transport you back to the time of Mongol chieftain Tamerlan.
When visiting the most important sights in Central Asia, you cannot miss one of the most picturesque buildings in Chiwa, the Juma Mosque. It is famous for its rather unique colonnade, which consists of as many as 200 wooden pillars covered with sculptures. Also check out the 45-metre Islom-Khoja minaret with its observation point, which offers a spectacular view of the Chiwa skyline. This is one you can't miss!
Fancy a bit of contrast? Head to the richly decorated mausoleum of Pahlavan Mahmud, which is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Uzbekistan. Who knows, you might enjoy it even more than the view from the Islom-Khoja minaret?
What is the capital of Uzbekistan like? Tashkent is undoubtedly one of Asia's greatest cities, combining modernity and tradition. Walking through its wide avenues and beautiful parks, you will discover sights such as one of the oldest and largest bazaars in Central Asia - Chorsu Bazaar. It is full of oriental flair, where you will taste local delicacies and feel the real pulse of the city. When planning a holiday in the country's capital, don't forget to also visit the medieval medress Kukeldash, located near the bazaar.
Continue your tour of Uzbekistan's capital in the old part of the city, where the Hazrati Imam building complex awaits you. Nowadays, this is one of Tashkent's most popular, spiritual monuments. The complex consists of the Tilliya Sheik mosque (where the Osman Qur'an, formerly looted from Basra by the leader Tamerlan, is kept), the Abu Kaffal Shashi mausoleum (also known as the Holy Imam), the Barak Khan madrassa, which is one of the most spectacular sights in the Uzbek capital, and the Imam al-Bukhari Islamic Institute, inside which is an impressive library, home to some of the most important monuments in the Muslim world.
When planning leisure time in one of Asia's largest cities, think about a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts of Uzbekistan, where you will see a rich collection of artworks from all over the country. Uzbekistan also has one of the most beautiful metros in the former Soviet Union, which you absolutely must take a ride on! If you want to observe the daily life of Uzbekistan's inhabitants - take a walk through the heart of the city, namely Independence Square.
Want to discover an interesting Polish accent in one of the Central Asian countries? While in Tashkent, it's worth seeing the Roman Catholic pro-cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is also called.... Polish church. In its vicinity you will also find the Monument to Polish Soldiers Fallen on Uzbek Land and the Polish Cultural Centre!
Sacred Heart What else to see in Central Asia? Uzbekistan is almost brimming with beautiful places, as we're sure you're aware! Uzbekistan's Silk Road cities that we think are worth a visit are Margilan and Kokand. The former is one of the oldest cities in Uzbekistan and has been famous for centuries for producing the best silk in Central Asia. When visiting Margilan, be sure to visit one of the factories there (Yodgorlik, for example) or go to a silk production workshop at the Said Ahmad Khodja madrasa. At the end of the day, go shopping wild and stock up on local wares - unique patterned silk fabrics!
Speaking of shopping... Another place worth visiting in Margilan is the Fergana market. There you will find traditional handicrafts, carpets, fabrics, clothes or jewellery - all made by the people of Uzbekistan! It's the perfect place if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn about the country's silk industry.
Wondering what to see in Kokand? Head to the former capital of the powerful khanate and visit the Khan Khudoyar Palace, built in the tradition of Central Asian architecture. It is the last seat of the Kokand khans and is characterised by a high portal, four minarets and a grand entrance.
While spending a day in Kokanda, also see other Central Asian sights such as the Friday Mosque and the Modari Mausoleum, and then head to the... Norbut Beja madrassa. You certainly won't regret visiting this part of Uzbekistan!
Want to share your memories? Post pics from your trip on your Instagram and tag us in the description. Add #flylotblog and #flylot and let us find you!