Translation from Gregory’s website under the heading diary – Suntrip 2018 – August (Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan): www.solarbiketour.com
My last gem on the Silk Road is Samarkand. Many travelers regard this city as the summit of the three most important caravan cities. There is a ground of truth, but I can not get rid of the impression that some Iranian cities, such as Shiraz and Isfahan, can effortlessly supplement the list of supreme beauty. The resemblance with Iran is very striking here in Uzbekistan. Not only is the architectural style with its sky blue domes and abundance of mosaic tiles very recognizable, but the friendliness of the Uzbek residents can also compete with the warmth of the Iranians.
Samarkand is traditionally a trading city and you can still taste that now. On the Siyab market the nostalgia of the old Silk Road blows towards you. The vendors are laughing at you with their teeth covered with gold. They are hidden behind their ornate merchandise. The decoration is so beautiful, so measured that I even find it a shame when a shopper disturbs the mis-and-scene by buying something from the assortment. It does not matter very intrusively. As a tourist you will be left undisturbed. The only disturbing factors that sometimes crop up are begging women with babies on their arms. It is mainly migrants from India who try to build a better life here. Or beg the key to happiness, it seems to me very doubtful.
In addition to being a city of commerce, Samarkand is also a stunning city with an architectural look that defies just about every imagination. We owe this great trump card to the great Mongol conqueror Timoer Lenk. He founded a new empire on the foundations of the collapsed Mongol Empire. He won one battle after another and succeeded effortlessly to subject his entire Central Asia to his authority. That this was not exactly without shedding blood, tell us the history books. Timoer Lenk turns out to have been cruel, if not cruel, as Djengis Khan. Historians estimate that his army has killed as many as seventeen million people. In contrast to his image of Djengis Khan who left the country in ruins after every battle, Timoer Lenk saved the lives of good manual workers, professionals and architects. He brought them together to Samarkand and gave them the assignment to actually convert his megalomaniacal building projects. The result is therefore amazing and unsurpassable.