Samarkand attractions

Top Choice Plaza in Samarkand

Registan

This ensemble of majestic, tilting medressas – a near-overload of majolica, azure mosaics and vast, well-proportioned spaces – is the centrepiece of the city, and arguably the most awesome single sight in Central As…
Top Choice Mausoleum in Samarkand

Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum

The beautiful portal and trademark fluted azure dome of the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum marks the final resting place of Timur (Tamerlane), along with two sons and two grandsons (including Ulugbek). It's a surprisingly mod…
Top Choice Islamic Tomb in Samarkand

Shah-i-Zinda

Samarkand’s most moving and beloved site is this stunning avenue of mausoleums, which contains some of the richest tilework in the Muslim world. The name, which means ‘Tomb of the Living King’, refers to its origina…
Top Choice Mosque in Samarkand

Bibi-Khanym Mosque

The enormous congregational Bibi-Khanym Mosque, northeast of the Registan, was financed from the spoils of Timur's invasion of India and must have been the jewel of his empire. Once one of the Islamic world’s bigges…
Islamic Site in Samarkand

Tilla-Kari Medressa

On the northern side of the Registan is the Tilla-Kari (Gold-Covered) Medressa, completed in 1660, with a pleasant, gardenlike courtyard. The highlight here is the mosque, which is on the left-hand side of the court…
Islamic Site in Samarkand

Ulugbek Medressa

The Ulugbek Medressa, on the western side of the Registan, is the square's original medressa, finished in 1420 under Ulugbek who is said to have taught mathematics here (the stars on the portal reflect Ulugbek's lov…
Islamic Site in Samarkand

Sher Dor Medressa

The entrance portal of the Registan's Sher Dor (Lion) Medressa, opposite the Ulugbek Medressa and finished in 1636, is decorated with roaring felines that look like tigers but are meant to be lions. The lions, the d…
Museum in Samarkand

Afrosiab Museum

The Afrosiab Museum was built around one of Samarkand’s more important archaeological finds, a chipped 7th-century fresco of the Sogdian King Varkhuman (r 650–670) receiving ranks of foreign dignitaries (including C…
Observatory in Samarkand

Ulugbek’s Observatory

The remains of Ulugbek’s 15th-century observatory is one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Ulugbek was probably more famous as an astronomer than as a ruler. His 30m quadrant, designed to observ…
Mosque in Samarkand

Hazrat-Hizr Mosque

Across Shahizinda ko'chasi from the Siob Bazaar, the Hazrat-Hizr Mosque occupies a hill on the fringes of Afrosiab. The 8th-century mosque that once stood here was burnt to the ground by Chinggis (Genghis) Khan in t…