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Shakhrisabz (Shahrisabz) is a small, traditional Uzbek town south of Samarkand, across the hills in the Kashkadarya province, and is a lovely drive from Samarkand with some spectacular views. This is Timur’s hometown, and once upon a time it probably put Samarkand itself in the shade.

In recent years the once charming centre of town was bulldozed and rebuilt as another of Uzbekistan's giant, empty plazas, with a few medieval buildings marooned in the antiseptic blandness. Despite the renovations, it’s an worthwhile day trip from Samarkand, and several agencies in Samarkand offer some interesting add-on hikes and homestays in the surrounding mountains.

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