Places to Visit

The Registan

The Registan Square

The Registan is Samarkand’s most famous attraction and arguably the most renowned tourist destination in all of Central Asia. Meaning ‘sandy place’ in Persian, it is a public square where trade, public events (including executions), and everyday life once unfolded.

It is also the home of three marvelous madrasahs—the Ulugbek Madrasah, Sher Dor Madrasah, and Tilya-Kori Madrasah—which together form a mesmerizing sight of mosaics and patterns, sure to impress even the most discerning tourist.


Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis

The Shah-i-Zinda is an alleyway adorned with stunning, rich blue-tiled mausoleums, serving as a significant place of pilgrimage. It has accumulated these structures between the 11th and 19th centuries and is arguably Samarkand's most picturesque site.

The name "Shah-i-Zinda," meaning 'living king,' references Kusam ibn Abbas, believed to be a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, who purportedly moved to Samarkand to preach Islam.

At the end of the necropolis stands a shrine dedicated to him, while other tombs house the family members of former rulers Timur and Ulugbek.

Bibi Khanym Mosque

Bibi Khanym Mosque

Constructed in the 14th century from the spoils of Timur's Indian campaign, the Bibi Khanym Mosque once stood as the jewel of his empire. Standing as one of the Islamic world's largest mosques in the 14th century, its entrance portal reached 38m, an architectural feat unheard of in those days.

Legend attributes its creation to Bibi Khanym, Timur's wife, who surprised him with its construction. As the story goes, the architect fell deeply in love with her, demanding a kiss, and causing a furious Timur to seal the architect’s fate.

At the heart of the courtyard rests a monumental Quran stand crafted from marble. According to local lore, crawling under the stone stand would help a woman to conceive a child. These days it is protected in glass casing but it still serves as a symbol of hope for those hoping to bring new life to the world.