Today we started our day with a walking tour through Samarkand old city. Samarkand is considered to be one of the oldest cities in Central Asia dating back to the 4th century B.C. Our first stop was the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum which we viewed last night. It was just as stunning in the daylight as it was last night. Today we entered the mausoleum with its gold leaf and blue tiled walls and exquisite domed ceiling. Truly breathtaking!
From the mausoleum we continue on to Registan Square which is considered the heart of ancient Samarkand. It is a huge square with three majestic madrasah monuments of eastern medieval architecture. ‘Madrasah’ is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution. When you enter each madrasah monument they open into their own inner courtyard, which once housed students. There is usually a mosque in each madrasah. We were in total awe as we wandered through this beautiful Square.
From there walked to Bibi-Khanym’s Mosque which was built between 1399-1404 by the order of Amir Timor for his wife. Parts of this complex have yet to be refurbished.
After our tour, a group of us caught taxis to go out to have ‘plov’ for lunch. Plov is a national dish here, typically served at lunchtime. It consists of rice, yellow and orange carrots, onions, spices, and meat (and sometimes quail’s eggs). The place we went to was sold out for the day. Fortunately for us, a kind passerby directed us to another small, local restaurant where it was still available. We were a bit of a spectacle, as this was not the type of place that would typically get tourists. The plov was good and, like all our meals here, incredibly cheap.
After lunch we caught taxis to Shahi-Zinda Necropolis complex which consists of eleven medieval mausoleums. It was an amazing feeling to wander through this ancient complex and view the beautiful mausoleums.
From there we stopped for a refreshing beer and another short visit at Registan Square before returning to our hotel. In the evening we went out for dinner as a group.
Gur-e Amir Mausoleum
Jim in the courtyard of the Mausoleum
Inside the Mausoleum
Inside the mausoleum
Ceiling in the mausoleum
Arriving at Registan Square
One of the three Madrasah Monuments
Entrance to another Madrasah
The breathtaking ceiling in the mosque
Another view of the ceiling
Another stunning madrasah
Courtyard at a madrasah
Part of the Bibi-Khanym Mosque
One more madrasah!
Jim eating the national dish called Plov
Us and a few of our group members trying Plov, the national dish
A view at Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis
Walking thru Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis
Enjoying Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis
Pretty Mosque ceiling