Day 9 – Monday, April 29 – Bukhara, Tashkent and Samarkan
We are off on the bullet train to Samarkan today.
The train journey took just over two hours and ran through some of the most beautiful landscape.
The snow covered mountains stand watch over us and then disappear as we change directions.
The red poppies are blooming on the sides of the tracks and out in the distance below the hills. They seem to grow best in the valleys where there is more water.
We visited modern Samarkand. It stands on the ruins of the ancient city of Marakanda.
It was an important trading city between China and the western world in the past and was a target for the most famous conquerors for the same reason.
It was a rich and powerful city.
Registan is Central Asia’s most noteable Square. It is the jewel of Samarkand.
The square is surrounded by three beautiful buildings.
The area is made up of three madrassahs with the large square in between the beautiful buildings.
Ragistan means “place of sand.”
This was the public square and the market place before and Ulug Bek, Tillya-Kori and Shir Dor madrassahs were built.
We visited the Gur-emir Mausoleum. It is the final resting place of Tamerlane but was initially built for his grandson after his death in the 15th century.
Timur, best known to the west as Tamerlane was known historically as Amir Timur. He was a Turko-Mongolian Persiante conqueror. He was the first Ruler of the Timurid Dynasty.
He was also know as Timur the Lame due to his damaged body. He was injured in his youth by arrows to his leg and arm while “borrowing” some livestock.
He never learned to read or write but was an intelligent man and was read to at dinner. He was a very successful leader and ruled much of Central Asia. He was the last of the nomadic conquerors of the Eurasian Steppe.
His empire set the stage for the coming Gunpowder Empires of the 16th and 17th centuries. His story is well worth reading about.
The bodies lie silently, deep under the “coffin like” markers which rest under the gilded central dome. All are made of marble except for Tamerlane’s which is Mongolian Jade.
The interior of the mausoleum has been restored and the gold leaf and tile look almost new.
We are staying at the Emir Han Hotel