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  • Day18

    Samarkand

    July 19, 2017 in Uzbekistan ⋅ 🌬 31 °C

    Arrive mid afternoon and after a refresh head out on our city orientation. We get our first glimpse at the Registon, three glorious tiled Madrrassas that comprise one of the main squares. There is a musical festival going on, so the square is closed now but we look over it and watch the rehearsal with dancing performers filling the square. It's really quite a spectacle with the shear mass of the buildings. We take a short ride to our restaurant, Planken, and are seated outside the restaurant in a 19 th century building. I have pita, toasted with cheese and garlic, lentil soup served with cream and an orange wedge and chicken Kiev, all delicious. Next day, wake up for our city tour. We start at Amir Khan's tomb. An impressive entranceway leads to a courtyard and the fluted dome of the tomb. They're it's a crypt under ground that holds the bodies but there are gravestones on the main floor to view. Amir Khan has a blackish Jade Stone that is the 2nd largest carved Jade block in the world. He is flanked by his grandson, who was his chosen heir but was killed young, and other relatives. The highest and most impressive Stone belongs to Timur's teacher. There is an unmarked Stone somewhat separate from the others that is for the Sufi devoted worshipper who would worship at the gravesite. Next we walk through the bazaar which is bustling. And come out on one side of the Registon, walking along it past the Bibi Mosque and some higher end souvenir shops. We enter the Registon and learn of the Madrrassas, schools for young men that were built in the 14-15 hundreds. We tour each, many of the small individual study Chambers are now artisan shoppes. There are impressive mosques and inner courtyards. Really all stunning. While listening to our guide, a group of local women beckon me over to join them for a picture. Members of our group have all experienced being asked to pose with locals for their photos. We finish the tour and some of us stick back to visit one of the shops and buy silk robes. We eat lunch at a tea House, Uzbeck spaghetti - noodles with a vegetable tapinade. Then we walk to the alley of mausolems, along the old graveyard, up a steep flight of stairs, there is an equisitivley tiled set of individual mausolems to members of the royal court. Individual antechamber are all unique, there is an open octagonal one as well. Beck down, catch a taxi with an animated driver who shouts places at us, Brooklyn, New York, Moscow, Tashkent ..A short rest and we are of to a local house for a Plov demonstration and dinner. Plov is the national dish, it's a layered dish of carrots, garlic, spices, rice and meat. We are seated at a table in the houses inner outdoor courtyard, surrounded by a small herb and vegetable garden. We are served a feast - eggplant fritters, pickled eggplant, carrot salad, fresh greens, soft cheese spread with bread, samosa of meat and zucchini then Plov. Delicious. A quick stop where we started to see Timur's tomb light up at nightRead more