Trip Start May 28, 2006
162Trip End May 17, 2007
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Annoyingly, we arrived in Samarkand just after sun-set so all sight-seeing was postponed until the morning. We did however get to meet some really interesting people in our hostel - it's always so gutting though when you chat to people who make your travels sound really common-place and tame. Tonight was once such occasion - there was a Dutch couple and a Swiss guy who've cycled all the way to Uzbekistan from Italy and Switzerland respectively.
When we do get to go sight-seeing all we can say is "Wow!" This city is amazing. We decided to postpone our trip the the main attraction - the Registan - until later in the day when it's a bit cooler so we started with the Bibi Khanym Mosque - Tamerlane built it in the 14th century for his Chinese wife - it was huge - the main gate alone is 35 metres high, but it mostly collapsed in an earthquake in 1897 and has been partially rebuilt.
So there we were minding our own business when Jim was approached by one of the souvenir sellers who asked if we wanted to climb one of the minarets (we'd read this could happen for a small fee,
After all that the Registan could have been a disappointment, but it really wasn't - the square consists of three highly decorated buildings filling in three sides of the square. Uleg Beg - who was Tamerlane's grandson - built the oldest medressa in 1420 and then the other two - the Sher Dor or Lion Medressa and the Tilla-Kari or Gold Medressa were built bewtween the 1630s and 1660s. The effect of the three buildings is breathtaking and well worth the visit to Uzbekistan alone.
One tip - should you wish to follow the Silk Route through this gorgeous country I advise travelling from West to East as we've done - that way the cities build on each other and you travel back in time. Whichever way you do it however, I challenge you not to be blown away!