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Samarkand - A view from our expert author


Registan in Samarkand Uzbekistan by Laura Pidgley The Registan is one of the world's greatest examples of medieval Islamic architecture © Sophie Ibbotson and Max Lovell-Hoare

Visitors are still struck by the beauty, the number and the scale of Samarkand’s architectural sites.

Buildings of breathtaking beauty in the heart of regal Samarkand caught imaginations long before Flecker’s and have continued to do so ever since. Medieval merchants must have marvelled at every sight, from the exotic goods on sale to the spectacular manmade backdrops of madrassas, mosques and mausoleums. Centuries on, visitors are still struck by the beauty, the number and the scale of Samarkand’s architectural sites, and are often moved by thoughts of the ambition, dedication and, no doubt, personal sacrifices required to turn dreams into concrete reality.

The Registan, with its central square and three exquisite madrassas, is Samarkand’s biggest draw and makes a picture-postcard scene. It’s far from the only attraction, however, as the ruins of Afrosiab, the observatory of Ulug Beg and the Shah-i Zinda, the necropolis of the Living King, are sights that you’ll never forget. The time of year you visit Samarkand will have a significant impact on your experience: coming out of season, especially in the autumn months, will enable you to get close to the building’s physical details and to linger as long as you like.

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