SAMARKAND UZBEKISTAN — Finding Marvels Beyond Disneyesque Handling of Holy Sites

Surrounded by food and trinket vendors you might expect more at a carnival than high holy sites, Samarkand's skyline is defined by its historic Registan, a large square defined by three historic madrassas.  An informative audioguide of the Registan awes you with accounts of how its architect, Timor's grandson Ulug Beg,  built this complex to nurture the excellence in math and science it was once known for worldwide.

Craft and fashion vendors vie for your attention inside the madrassas of the Registan.  

In the madrassa museums you find artifacts that date back to the time of Uleg Beg.
There is a nightly "cultural show" at the Registan, with puppets, song and dance--though not especially recommended.

Your immersion in Beg's work continues on the historic town's edge, in the eponymous museum.  There  you see Beg's observatory that was capable of preternaturally accurate astronomical research.  Beg and his work was well-known to astronomers of his day all across the globe.

Portrait of Uleg Beg.
Uleg Beg's astronomical quadrant (63 meters in length and going deep underground) is on display. This instrument was used to track planetary motion with preternatural accuracy.

The Afrosiab Museum, and the archeological excavations surrounding it, carries your imagination back even further to pre-Islamic times-- where you can admire reconstructed story-telling wall murals, ceramics, coins and other artifacts from pre-medieval times.

A full-scale caravan scene sculpture greets you at the AFROSIAB MUSEUM entrance.
The upstairs museum exhibits are in relative disrepair, but include some interesting decorative features dating back to the Sogdians.
A highlight of the AFROSIAB MUSEUM is the reconstruction of a wall mural that was resurrected from the archeological site next to the museum. An English language video that explains the mural is available with an added entrance fee.

Meandering the streets and back alleys of Samarkand affords peeks into the  courtyards and lives of locals.  Walking around these  alleys and streets is a highly recommended supplement to all-museums-and-madrassahs-all-the-time.

The congenial town planners supply comfortable walkways from Registan to the Afrosiab and stops in between. In this section of the path, you see a picture of the Bibi Khanum Mosque taken from the Hazart Khizr Mosque.


Nominate this for The Picture This Post BEST OF 2023???
Click Readers' Choice!

Check out the 2022 Winners!
Readers' Choice 2022

Yes!! Please note my vote to add this to the
Picture This Post BEST OF 2023

Share this:

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *