Samarkand is situated in the valley of the river Zarafshan. It is the second largest city of Uzbekistan and is of the same age as the city of Babylon or Rome. The history of Samarkand is about 2,500 years old and has witnessed many upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis-Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane’s. Hence, the culture of Samarkand was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures. Majestic and beautiful city Samarkand has a marvelous and attractive power. Poets and historians of the past called it “Rome of the East, The beauty of sublunary countries, The pearl of the Eastern Muslim World”. Its advantageous geographical position in the Zarafshan valley put Samarkand to the first place among cities of Central Asia.
Over the history this legendary city on the Silk Road went through growths and decays, suffered from destroying invasions of foreign rulers and again revived, becoming more beautiful. Trade routes to the west, to Persia, to the east, to China, to the south, to India, intersected here and formed intersections of the Silk Road.
Today Samarkand is the treasure of unique antiquity spirit. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to the abundance of material and spiritual values. Unique monuments of ancient architecture, heritage of scientific and arts schools, artizans workshops are well-known around the world.
Registan Square, Samarkand
During centuries Registan Square was the center of Samarkand. The word Registan means “sand place”. There was a river running there many ages ago, before building the first Madrassah on the square. Years passed, the river dried out and left lots of sank there, that was the first place where the first Madrassah was built in the beginning of the 15th century and named Registan square. As the Madrassah was first built, all the holidays, parades, festivals and Sunday bazaars took place. The ensemble consists of three Madrassah: Ulugbek Madrassah (15th century), Sher – Dor Madrassah (17th century) and Tilla-Kari Madrassah (gold covered)(17th century). Madrassah- is the Muslim high educational institution. Only the boys from reach families studied there. The training lasted for 10, 12, 20 years. It was up to the discipline the student selected. The main discipline for all of them was Learning Koran. The rest of the subjects were not obligatory and could be selected by students.
The construction of the Tilla-Kori Madrassah was commenced in 1646 by the order of the Samarkand ruler Yalangtush Bakhadur and was finished only in 1660. It is the final building in the Registan architectural Ensemble. It was built on the site of caravan-saray, which had existed for over two centuries. The name of the Madrassah is derived from the rich golden decoration on the facade. “Tilla-Kori” is translated as “decorated with gold”. Square-shaped building of the Madrassah fills the whole area between the Ulugbek Madrassah and the Sher-Dor Madrassah. The facade, faced to the square is symmetrical and consists of the high portal and two floors of arched niches, flanked with towers. Khudjras (cells), intended for students, look on the large inner yard.
Gur-Emir: tomb of Tamerlan
Gur-Emir means “grave of Emir”. Gur-Emir Mausoleum was built in 1404 for Timur’s grandson Muhhamed Sultan. He had to become heir apparent of throne after Timur, but in 1404 he died and Timur ordered to buid big mausoleum for his loved grandson. In 1405 Timur died in Otrar city and his sons decided to move his body and bury him near his favorite grandson. From that time this mausoleum was called “burial-vault of timurids”. Here two sons of Timur were buried-Shahruh and Miranshah, also second grandson Ulugbek, spiritual director of Timur Muslim sheikh from Medin-Mir Seid Bereke and some Shah-Hodja.