Top things to do

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…
Top Choice International in Samarkand

Platan

Possibly the best restaurant in Samarkand, Platan has a classy interior and a summer terrace for shady al fresco dining in the summer. The menu includes some Middle Eastern and Thai influences alongside regional dis…
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…
Arts & Crafts in Samarkand

Happy Bird Handicrafts Centre

A dozen craft shops cluster around this single courtyard, making it a great place to shop for quality souvenirs, from ceramics and jewellery to wood carvings and suzani (embroidery). The handmade paper comes from ne…
International in Samarkand

Old City

This charming place in the Russian part of town is recommended for its interesting dishes, such as basturma cold smoked beef, lavash (flat bread) with feta-like brinza cheese, and over 40 salads, including a delicio…