Think India and you think Taj Mahal, with Cambodia its Angkor Wat, Peru conjures images of Machu Picchu. In Uzbekistan, the chances are that thoughts will turn to Samarkand and the Registan in particular. And with very good reason.
Meaning sandy place in Persian, the Registon was the ceremonial centre point of the Timurid dynasty from the 15th Century.
The square acted as the main focal point where people gathered to hear royal proclamations, heralded by blasts on enormous copper pipes called dzharchis . It was also a place of public executions.
Then as it is today, the square is framed by three huge madrasahs of stunning Islamic architecture.
We were to spend eight hours there, aside from a break for lunch and a chance to visit the nearby statue of Timur the Great.
We would have stayed longer too, except that there is now a need to purchase a second ticket to visit after dark. As we had already wandered much of the sight under lights, we decided that we had more than had our money’s worth (a bargain $8 in fact).
We had managed to avoid a peek at the magnificent site for two whole days, so approached with a great deal of anticipation. We visited on a lovely September day and were delighted that the crowds were threadbare.
Indeed, after lunch they were virtually non-existent as all the tour groups departed for other sites.
The three imposing madrasahs are Ulugh Beg Madrasah (1417–1420), Sher-Dor Madrasah (1619–1636) and Tilya-Kori Madrasah (1646–1660).
Not only are the exteriors amazing, but the interiors are something to behold too. Words are unnecessary, I will just let the pictures do the talking……
As you would expect for such a glorious location, it is a catalyst for wedding parties too.
Finally, I mentioned the statue of Timur. Here it is.