On The Silk Route - 2013 travel blog

Ulug Beg

The Observatory

The Sextant Arm

The Shahr-I-Zindah Ensemble

Food is brought by pilgrims

An Avenue of Tombs






Zoroastrians still worship here



Shar-I-Zenda Tile Details



The Registan Ensemble

The Dragoman Crew at the Registan


Ulug Beg & Other Astronomers










The Guri Amir Mausoleum



Timur's stone - a single block of dark green jade



To call the Rabbi

The Rabbi

Salam -

The Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam - penned by a one time resident of Samarkand. "The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on."

But there are wonderful remnants here of the glories of the Silk Route. Not just the architecture, but the achievements in art and science, poetry and astronomy, made this a cultural Mecca during the dark ages of Europe.

Ulug Beg's Observatory. Ulug Beg was Timur's grandson. He focused on the arts and science rather than conquest. His observatory was the most accurate of the age.

The Shahr-I-Zinda Ensemble. This complex of mausoleums sprawls up a slope and contains some excellent examples of the tile-work that that characterizes Central Asian architecture. The complex is still a place of pilgrimage, both for Uzbeks and for fire worshiping Zoroastrians.

The Registan Ensemble. This great square is one of the truly monumental squares anywhere on earth. It is framed by three huge Madressas (places of learning) that showcase tile-work.

Amir Timur's Mausoleum. A real jewel. The interior tile work is stunning in blue and gold. Timur's tomb is a single block of jade.

Another interesting highlight was the visit to one of the remaining synagogues.

A real treat across Uzkekistan was learning from Jalol's extensive lessons in Uzkek history, art, and current events. I came away with a much greater appreciation of the impact of his countrymen and women and world history. Lonely Planet may give you the facts (usually) but only an excellent guide can bring that history to life.

The only thing he couldn't do was convince me that Uzbek wine was drinkable.

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