Samarkand

Samarkand

Traveling the Silk Road through Central Asia was an eye opening trip.  I fell in love with Central Asia and the “Stans.”  As I journeyed through Uzbekistan I was waiting for that defining moment.  It came as we entered the pass know as the Gates of Tamerlane, signaling the entrance to Samarkand.  The city stood before me, 2,750 years old.   The coach moved down into the Fergana valley of the great city of Samarkand.   The Fergana Valley is the most fertile valley in Central Asia and is famous for its year round fruit and abundant water.  The hotel was located in the heart of the city.  The smell of incense and wood fires was intoxicating.  But it was Registan that captured my heart.  Registan was designed by the creator of the Taj Mahal.  Though I have not seen the Taj Mahal, I cannot imagine anything more grand.  Registan is known as the 8th wonder of the world and is the centerpiece of Samarkand.  Three emblematic madrassahs frame the square and loom over the empty space in the center.  It was this central space that gave the place its name, for “registan” simply means packe of sand.”  “Stan” means place.  The blue and gold tile work of the mosaics was magnificent.  More tomorrow on Samarkand.