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UZBEKISTAN | Friday, 27 March 2015 | Views [1033]

Registan Square, Samarkand

Registan Square, Samarkand

SAMARKAND IS ONE OF CENTRAL ASIA’S OLDEST and most impressive cities.  This is as true today as it was when Alexander the Great arrived in 329 BCE when it was known as Marakanda.  Samarkand was a major market on the Silk Road where caravans from China, India and Persia converged and made it attractive to would be conquerors.  Between the 6th and 12th Centuries, Samarkand was ruled by Western Turks, Arabs, Persians, Samanids and others before being destroyed by the hordes of Chinggis Khan in 1220.


    Gur Emir Mausoleum

The splendor that remains in today’s Samarkand is the work of Tamerlane, aka Timur “the Lame,” who decided to restore the city to its former glory as the economic and cultural hub of Central Asia.  The mosques, mausoleums and madrassas he constructed were abandoned when the capital moved to Bukhara in the 16th Century but have been restored to pristine condition.  It is more than ironic that the architect of such beautiful monuments was also one of history's most vicious butchers.


   Shakhi Zinda Necropolis

Susanna met us at the hotel on a cold and windy morning and walked us to the Gur Emir Mausoleum where both Timur and his scientist son, Ulugbek, are buried.  Then Norbek drove us all to Registan Square. the most impressive site we have seen in some time.  We will  never know what Alexander saw on his visit but I am sure that His Greatness would surely approve of Registan Square.  If he could get a visa, that is.






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