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30 June - 06 July , 2012
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collageTravel Samarkand
by HAMZA

Samarkand is perhaps the most famous city of modern Uzbekistan and its city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Samarkand is derived from Old Persian asmara which means 'stone/rock' and from sogdian qand which implies 'fort'; the name literally means 'stone fort'. Samarkand had a central position on the Silk Road between China and the West. In the 14th century Temur (Tamerlane) made Samarkand the capital of his empire. The city is a must see for all travellers visiting the Central Asia. The site of Samarkand was sporadically occupied in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages. However it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 329 BC and was named Maracanda by the Greeks. The Registan Square, reportedly the age old intersection of the trade roads, is the reason why people come to Samarkand. It is one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture you will ever see, right up there with the Alhambra in Spain and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. With Ulugbek madrassah on the western side of the Registan Square and Shirdor madrassah opposite it, you will experience some of the most stunning Islamic architecture, with high minarets and decorations consisting glazed and unglazed bricks, mosaics, majolica, carving marble with geometric and vegetative carvings. But there are a lot more monuments in Samarkand and around it such as the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum, the Mausoleum of Al Bukhari and the tomb of Prophet Daniel. Although the old centre has not really survived into modern times, you can find reminders of the greatness of the rulers of Samarkand, especially Ulughbek and Tamerlane, all over the town. If one wants to enjoy Central Asian nightlife, Samarkand is the place to do it.

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