Central Asia: Uzbekistan - Things to See/Do in Samarkand Part 2

By Cubie - February 06, 2016

Navoi Ko'chasi & Park

5. Hazrat-Hizr Mosque

Hazrat Khizr Mosque is located at the south of Afrosiab settlement, just opposite the famous Siab Bazaar and Bibi Khanym  Mosque. It is the oldest Muslim religious buildings in Samarkand, and there's a cemetary on it's ground.

The name of the mosque in Arabic means "green light". It was initially built in the 8th century but was destroyed in the 13th century by Gengis Khan and was only rebuilt in 1854. It was restored in the 1990s by a wealthy Bukharan.

Russian Town

6. Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum

This is my favourite among the places we saw in Samarkand. Gur-E-Amir is actually a mausoleum and it house Tamerlane @ Timur. It acts as the precursor and model for other Mughal architecture tombs, including Humayun's Tomb and even more famous Taj Mahal.

This Tomb for the King (Gur-E-Amir is it's name in Persian) was initially constructed for Timur's heir and beloved grandson Muhammad Sultan who passed away unexpectedly. Timur had built himself a smaller tomb in his birth place, Sharisabz but when he died on campaign on his military expedition to China, the passes to Shahrisabz were snowed in, so he was buried here instead.

The mausoleum is like Timurid's family crypt as next to Tamerlane's grave lie the marble tombstones of his sons Miran Shah and Shah Rukh, as well as his grandsons - Muhammad Sultan and Ulugh Beg. Tamerlane's spiritual teacher Mir Said Baraka's tomb is also found there.

According to some anecdote, a Soviet anthropologist opened the crypts in 1941 and among other things found an inscription on Timur's grave which translated to, "Whoever opens this will be defeated by an enemy more fearsome than I". The next day, 22 June, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. Well, it make a good story eh?

Ok.. just one more photo...

7. Ak-Saray Mausoleum
Ak-Saray Mausoleum is just behind Gur-e-Amir. The name in Turkic means white palace. If you have time, I suppose it is easy to be included as part of the itinerary. The mausoleum was built in honour of the governor Abd al Latif who was under some influence and kill his father - Mirzo Ulugbek, so he could not be buried in Gur-e-Amir.

Ancient Samarkand (Afrosiab)

8. Ulugbek's Observatory

We were actually fairly low on funds at this stage and didn't really want to change money at some random spot outside so we walked from Shah-i-Zinda to the observatory. It wasn't that long, maybe about 30 minutes but it didn't help that we don't have a good map and there wasn't any good indication that we were going the right direction. We got there though....

The observatory was constructed by Ulugbek in 1428-1429. There are two building, one is the observatory, the other a museum. It was considered one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century and this astronomy lab was designed to observe star positions.

This is what's inside the observatory...

9. High speed train "Afrosiab"
I put the high speed train here in Samarkand because we took the train from Samarkand to Tashkent. Like airport, we need to show our tickets as we enter the train station, and passed our backpacks through security check. Our tickets were checked again just before we boarded the train. Ohh... and there were free food served too! We didn't know and bought a cup of coffee before they served the meals, also we had our own stash of biscuits to keep the tummies happy.

Cupcake and coffee were complimentary, there was also fruits. 
10. Food :)
In no particular order and till now I have no clue how to tell if I order manti, does it come in just 1 or a plate of 4? Also, it took a while to tell them we wanted a plate of 4 and not 4 plates of manti.... haha

Stuffed peppers
Looks like ABC soup, no?
This was a very yummy manti... or I was famished?
The winner of the oiliest plov we had throughout Uzbekistan
More soup
Shashlik - check out the fat alternating with meat... 
Doner kebab in sandwich
Ice cream
It is to be noted that I did not have any food poisoning bout at all in Uzbekistan, and that includes after having ice-cream or having flies hovering around.

And... Almaty next!

Side note: Got to study sooooon....

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