Unique Places to Travel: 10 Reasons to Visit Samarkand


If you’re some who looks for unique places travel that promise to enchant, transform, and deepen your imagination, Samarkand is the ideal destination. Book your next excursion now!

Here are ten reasons why you should be planning a trip here:

1. Experience a Vibrant Cultural History

This ancient city, the “Rome of the East”, continues to enthrall visitors across the globe. It is situated within an oasis in the river valley of the Zerafshan, meaning “spreader of gold” in Persian.  A diversity of cultures have crossed paths here, congregating to barter and interact at this key Silk Road trading post. Merchants, pilgrims, poets, and scholars have flocked to celebrate its unforgettable beauty. Samarkand sustained not only a robust exchange of products like silk and spices but also hummed with the flourishing of shared ideas between Europe and Central Asia. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Center!

2. Its Monuments and Structures are Well Preserved

You’re going to want to fill your photo gallery with Samarkand’s richly detailed and ornamented madrassas, mosques, and other architectural splendors. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the great Timurid ruler, Amir Timur, embarked upon a project that raised Samarkand to the heights we still see today. Several buildings are domed with turquoise tiling and surrounded by courtyards of blooming gardens. Many structures are leftover from centuries of Islamic craftsmanship like the Registan public square. Head over to the earlier 7th century Afrasaib archaeological excavations located in the northeastern corners of the city. Citadels and residential dwellings can be found in the ruins. Learn about how it survived Gengis Khan’s army.

3. Enjoy Delicious Street Food

Through the narrow lanes and corridors of the roads, several stalls and markets attract tourists with the aromas of somsa, shashlik, and plov. Traditional dishes sing their spiced songs into the atmosphere as silk-scarved vendors haggle prices over lamb and beef. Women often come to the markets to buy produce for their home-cooked meals. While visiting Samarkand’s largest bazaar, the Siab, you might enjoy Samarkand naan and listen to the Persian, Uzbek, and even Tajik languages around you.

4. A Paradise of Islamic Artistry

The majesty of the craftsmanship on display is without parallel. Alexander the Great was quoted as saying: “Everything I have heard about the beauty of the city is indeed true, except that it is much more beautiful than I imagined.” The Timurid period ushered in a renaissance and drew many of the best Islamic architects and artisans to its social centers. Decorating buildings in majolica, marble, gold, wood, and mosaic. Princes of the era fervent patrons of architectural programs. Characteristic designs like repeating floral arabesque and geometric tessellation patterns inundate the interior and exterior of prominent fixtures such as mausoleums, shrines, and convents. Guaranteeing an unforgettable experience.

Unique places to travel: Uzbek ladies sell fruits in the market known as Siab Bazaar, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

5. Affordable Places to Stay in the Vibrant City

If you want to unwind after perusing the ancient city, the newer parts of the city offer an interesting contrast. Samarkand’s downtown is full of eclectic bars and cafes. We recommend Joe Black Hookah bar and the Bibikhanum Teahouse. Smoke a bit of shisha or enjoy a cup of coffee as you people watch. Catch a taxi for $1 to the west part of town between Khusayn Baykaro street and University Boulevard. Here you’ll find the best BnBs, bars, and restaurants. Book a stay at the highly rated Emir Hostel and enjoy the decorated lounge, continental breakfast, and lavish garden.

6. Visit Nearby Cities of Uzbekistan 

Samarkand completes a triad of cities that played major roles in the prosperity of Uzbekistan’s share in the Silk Road trade. Bukhara, a famed learning center, lies west of Samarkand while Khiva is farther northwest. Both have more of the adorned ancient structures you will experience in Samarkand. Uzbekistan’s modern capital, Tashkent, is more of a journey to get to but worth it for the active nightlife.

7. Enjoy Views of the Gorgeous Natural Landscape

Take a break from sightseeing and go for a long hike through the Nuratau mountains. The Sayyod Yurt Camp provides guided tours and overnight stays in the heart of the wilderness. There are also regular wildlife tours. Plus, you can go camel riding through the arid landscape while listening to nomadic music.

Registan, an old public square in the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Registan, an old public square in the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

8. Watch Ancient Traditional Practices in Public Workshops

Stop into some of Samarkand’s famed silk workshops where weavers continue an age-old tradition of carpet-making. Carpets often take millions of silkworm cocoons, hours of dedicated skill, and months to complete. Plus, you can learn about the art of natural dye processing as weavers dip their threads into various colored mixtures. Paper making, another lost Central Asian art, is also making a comeback. The production process perfected over a millenia. Come observe Zarif Mukhtarov, Samarkand craftsman, preserve the tradition in one of the only existing paper-making workshops in the region.

9. Explore the Local Museums

Next, visit Samarkand’s many museums to gather even more historical context to enrich your stay. The Afrasiyab museum includes some of the world’s oldest artifacts including strange Sogdian elongated skulls. It is located at one of the world’s oldest archaeological sites where the Mongols destroyed the city in the 13th century. Peer into the past via the many elaborate wall paintings and stone carvings on display.

National uzbek bread sold in the market - Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
National uzbek bread sold in the market – Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

10. Experience the Romance of Samarkand’s Bullet Train

The Tashkent-Samarkand high-speed railway stretches across Samarkand, Bukhara, and the capital city, Tashkent. If you wanted to visit Tashkent, it’s only about a 3hr ride there. Get to Bukhara in less than 2 hours for an affordable $15. Slow down the journey a bit and take in the mystique and grace of the Silk Road cities from your window.