SAMARKAND - THE PEARL OF THE WORLD
Not only Uzbekistan’s but also the rest of the world’s adornment - Samarkand can be called a great and extraordinarily beautiful city. Built before our era it has survived until present times. Samarkand has always been a "tidbit" for conquerors, because its lands lied across Great Silk Road therefore carried out active trade between the East and the West (China and Europe). Prosperous periods followed by periods of complete decline and ruination in this region. But like the Phoenix bird Samarkand once again rose from the ashes. The city and the people had to face many difficulties and had survived during 2.5 thousand years of its existence and the inhabitants managed to preserve its unique identity. Each street will tell you about the past. Citizens carefully look after cultural monuments so all the buildings are in very good conditions and each of them is a place for interesting excursions.
Samarkand - city with a vast history
Archaeologists found fragments of skulls, which give the evidence of its existence in the Paleolithic era. References to it are also found in the writings of historians of antiquity, who claimed that the city had already strengthened and gained sufficient power at that time.
In the middle ages the town experienced unstable times. Turkic and West Turkic Empires had a significant influence on the city. Thereafter Samarkand was conquered by the Arabs. There was an uprising in 806 which lasted for 4 years, but was suppressed by the descendants of the local aristocracy.
Later in 875 the city life welcomed Renaissance where Samarkand became a cultural and political centre. Monumental masterpieces such as Palace and Madrasah (Muslim school) were constructed at that time.
Another uprising in 1212 brought some changes and the city was joined to the State of Khorezmshahs .
The Invasion of Genghis Khan in 1220 caused considerable damage throughout the city. Ruined and plundered Samarkand was able to recover much later. Restored city was rebuilt in the vicinity of its predecessor. A cemetery was arranged in the site of the old settlement where burial of the dead are held up till now.
Blossoming epoch of Samarkand
Tamerlane was not only wise but also a caring ruler of Samarkand. During his ruling the city of Samarkand started to flourish. He worked on the development of crafts and trade, built mosques and palaces. The Tombs and Madrasahs build during Tamerlane’s ruling represented their extreme grandeur and opulence. The governor invested huge funds to develop the city and targeted to conquer new lands. He dreamed of making Samarkand the capital of the world and did his best for that. Tamerlane gathered talented people from around the world so they could glorify the city with their discoveries and creations. Among them were weavers, goldsmiths, potters, gunsmiths, and masons who worked hard to produce stunning masterpieces. The city itself was surrounded by greenery and vineyards where there were also many cellars with excellent wines.
Later, during the reign of Tamerlane's grandson the city develops science in addition to crafts. The best scientists from all over the East dream about working in Samarkand.
Architectural constrictions continue being built in the late medieval, which impressed by their beauty and grandeur. Later, the land of Samarkand was colonized, and all the masterpieces were destroyed and forever lost. The city loses the status of the capital in the period from 1533 to 1540.
Modern city life
In the second half of the 19 century Samarkand becomes part of the Russian Empire. In 1887 year Samarkand people attempted to take power in their hands, but the attempt was unsuccessful. It was a part of the Turkestan ASSR first but later joined the Uzbek SSR. Active building of universities, institutes and colleges starts in here. Subsequently it enters the USSR and continues its fast paced development. Tourists visit the city, new businesses are being opened. Currently, Samarkand is one of the largest cities of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Modern Samarkand's population is just over half a million people. The city was given a named "Crossroads of cultures" by UNESCO, where various ethnic groups coexist comfortably. The majority of the townspeople are the Uzbeks and Tajiks as well as Russians and Iranians. The main religions is Islam (Sunni) and Christianity. Here you can find and do a lot of interesting things, see local attractions, hear myths and legends associated with the city, try local dishes. Samarkand will make you delighted with its uniqueness.
Samarkand is one of those cities which will make you come here again to enjoy its magnificence. The city itself is shrouded in mystery. Its name, according to one of the legends origins from the names of two young lovers who weren’t destined to be together. The architecture of the city will stun everyone.
Registan square is located in the center of Samarkand and its ensemble consists of 3 madrassas, which work not only as an ornament of the square but as a spiritual educational institution. Registan square was a place for a trading platform, venue for parades, celebrations and meeting important guests. One can admire it at daytime and at night. Special light-and sound-making effects will help immerse you into the past and learn a lot about the place.
Bibi-Khanym Mosque is a real piece of an urban art. Bright blue dome, which is like the sky, and the Arch reminds of the milky way. This mosque is one of the largest not only in Uzbekistan, but also in the world. Its walls are adorned with ornaments and prayers. The legend which explains why a woman should wear a veil takes its origin here.
Mausoleum of AK-Saray, not much is known about this construction. This structure is significantly differs from the other buildings of those times. Washy look is a contrast of the internal content of the mausoleum, completed in “kundal” style. The Hall is designed in the shape of a cross which has a crypt beneath. The territory of the city has many mausoleums and almost each of them own unique legend.
Another awesome place is the Observatory, built by Ulugbek. It was the undisputed achievement of that time where astronomers working in it could create a stars’ catalogue and could work on their observations. It stored more than a thousand pieces that generate today’s interest. The Observatory has not survived to the present time but archaeologists managed to recreate its structure, location, rooms and devices which were used by the astronomers.
Bazaar is also a place which every tourist should pay a visit to. Here you can find Samarkand bread which taste cannot be mixed up with anything else , nuts, fruits and vegetables. Unbelievable fact is that this bread can be used and stored for 3 years. A wide variety of souvenirs and national costumes telling the history of the country and its people can be purchased here too. If you want to see all this magnificence, you must definitely visit this beautiful city.
Coordinates: 39°39'00" N 66°57'00"E
Founded: 700 b.c.
Previous Names: Marakanda, Samarkanda
Centre Height: 702 m
Official language: Uzbek
Population: 366 000 of people(2007)
Nationalities: Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Iranians and others
Time Zone: UTC+5