Samarkand Uzbekistan was founded in 700 BC as ancient Afrosiab and is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, it has been deemed a major crossroads of cultures. Lending to the development of Samarkand as a cultural crossroads was its central location along the Silk Road, the famous trade network that linked Asia to the West. By the 13th century, the city had developed into what Marco Polo described as a "very large and splendid city..." Subsequent growth ensued. Samarkand actually had its most significant development in the 14th and 15th centuries AD, during which it was the capital of the Temurid realm.
Illustrated in Samarkand’s art and architecture are the most important political and cultural stages of Central Asia. Major monuments in the city include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, the Gur-Emir ensemble, and Ulugh-Beg’s Observatory. These and the other historic structures of Samarkand are true gems of Islamic cultural creativity. They played a major role in the development of Islamic architecture throughout an expansive region that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent.
Samarkand is the second-largest city in Uzbekistan. As such, it offers a healthy number of hotels. These hotels include modern and business class hotels, as well as small private and family-run hotels. Overall, the Samarkand hotels are well priced. Travelers don’t have to put a huge dent in their budgets when it comes to lodging, even if they stick to such higher-end hotels as the Regal Palace (pictured), the Asia Samarkand, and the Registan Plaza. Thanks to modern technology, you can book a Samarkand hotel in advance and have a room waiting for you upon arrival. Uzbekistan travel packages that include lodging are also available. This is worth keeping in mind when trying to arrange your trip to Samarkand and beyond.
Samarkand restaurants offer plenty in the way of variety. This only makes sense in a city that is known for being a major crossroads of cultures. One meal in Samarkand could see you eating a burger or some pizza, while another could involve an exploration of Korean cuisine. The dining choices are numerous across town, and as you might expect, national Uzbek cuisine is something that many of the Samarkand restaurants specialize in. Some Samarkand restaurants and cafes offer entertainment in the way of shows during lunch and dinner. These shows tend to feature national dance and music performances. As a side note, it is common for Samarkand hotels to have restaurants. Many hotels also include breakfast in their rates.
The Samarkand Airport isn’t the main airport in Uzbekistan. That distinction goes to the airport in the capital city of Tashkent. That being said, the Samarkand Airport does service some international flights. These flights tend to arrive from such Russian cities as Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Kazan. More often than not, international travelers who are flying to Samarkand arrive in Tashkent first and then take a connecting flight to Samarkand. As for the location of the Samarkand Airport, you can find it on the northern edge of the city. Its proximity to the city core means that travelers don’t have to go very far to get to their Samarkand hotels after their planes touch down. This is especially true if they are staying at one of the several airport hotels.
A Samarkand map shows that the city can be found in the southeastern region of Uzbekistan near the Tajikstan border. Its location puts it approximately 150 miles southwest of the capital city of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. A map of the city of Samarkand itself shows that Registan Square is very much the heart of the city. This majestic square is a popular gathering area, and the general area is home to hotels, restaurants, and any number of museums and other attractions. Many of the main Samarkand monuments are found to the east of Registan Square, so that can be a good direction to head when doing some sightseeing.