This Central Asian city has existed since the fourth century BC (when it was conquered by Alexander the Great), but it was Tamerlane that made it the capital of his vast empire. While this region was hidden behind the Russia’s Iron Curtain for decades, it has roots in a variety of Middle Eastern and Central Asian cultures. Many of the places you’ll visit today, including the Gur-Emir Mausoleum, Registan Square, and three separate madrassas, reflects the deep Persian influence in this region: colorful, intricate designs, massive domes, and traditional minarets. Your first stop will be at the tomb of the city’s most famous resident: Tamerlane, the 14th-century nomad emperor who was one of the most successful conquerors of all time. Tamerlane (which is a derivation of Timur the Lame) was interred here along with his descendants after he died in 1405. Dinner is at the hotel this evening. Cultural Discovery: To learn more about Samarkand, join us for a lecture on Tamerlane (Timur) & and his most mythical Silk Road city.
In the afternoon, we’ll discover the Ulugbek Observatory (named for Tamerlane’s great-grandson, who built it in the 15th century), and the Afrosiab Museum, which highlights the city’s history back to Alexander the Great. You'll also get to visit a local silk carpet factory. Cultural Discovery: We’ll join a local family for a home-hosted dinner, featuring a delectable local dish demonstrated by a chef.
Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner