Samarkand - often called the Gem of the East – is the city which evokes romance just with its name. The city is as old as Rome and reached the height of its fame under the rule of Timur. He made Samarkand the capital of his grand Empire which stretched from south-eastern Turkey through the Middle East and Central Asia including North-Western India to the approach to Kashgar in China. During his reign, Timur built a new city and populated it with artisans and craftsmen from the places he had conquered. They created striking harmonies of perfection between the mausoleums, madrassahs, mosques and city squares. Conquered and destroyed many times Samarkand has risen from the ashes each time like a Phoenix. You can feel the grandeur of the old city, when you catch a sudden view of the Bibi Khanum Mosque (15th century), the largest of its time in the world, standing beside a noisy and crowded oriental market. Registan Square –“Sandy Place” - was the heart of ancient Samarkand, the centre of trade and cultural life, a breathtaking oriental masterpiece with three blue madrasahs. Shah-i-Zinda – “tomb of the living king” - is a burial complex, often referred to as “the street of the dead”. It is considered one of the holiest places for Muslims, an important place of pilgrimage. The Gur-Emir Mausoleum is the resting place of the military genius Amir Temur who is buried here along with several of his sons and one of his grandsons. It is a fine example of Timurid architecture; simplicity and harmony of shapes together with a sumptuously decorated interior.

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Travel Destinations
Bukhara Bukhara
Bukhara is one of holiest cities in Central Asia and was once the intellectual and spiritual centre of Islamic world. Bukhara entered history in 500BC as a vassal state of the Pers... Read more
Cholpon Ata town
Cholpon Ata town Cholpon Ata town
A resort town on the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan with a year-round population of about 12,000. It is the administrative centre of the Issyk Kul District of Issyk... Read more
Issyk-Kul Lake
Issyk-Kul Lake Issyk-Kul Lake
With its high location at 1,609 m above sea level and a huge surface area of 6,206 sq. km (179 km long and 60 km wide) Issyk-Kul is the second largest alpine lake in the world afte... Read more
Jety-Oguz gorge
Jety-Oguz gorge Jety-Oguz gorge
The Alpine health resort Jety-Oguz lies near the river at the altitude of 2,200 m. Situated in a picturesque canyon on the Northern slope of the Terskey Ala-Too range about 25 km S... Read more
Karakol Karakol
The fourth largest city one of Kyrgyzstan's major tourist destinations, serving as a good starting point for the excellent hiking, trekking, skiing and mountaineering in the high c... Read more
Khiva Khiva
Often called an “open air museum”, Khiva today is a well-preserved and restored town thanks to a conservation programme in 1970 - 1980. This enchanting town with its to... Read more
Samarkand Samarkand
Samarkand - often called the Gem of the East – is the city which evokes romance just with its name. The city is as old as Rome and reached the height of its fame under the ru... Read more
Shakhrisabz Shakhrisabz
Shakhrisabz - the birthplace of Tamerlane, or Timur and his residence during his reign - is probably one of the most unassuming of the tourist attractions, where locals still wande... Read more
Son Kul Lake
Son Kul Lake Son Kul Lake
Song Kul Lake (literally meaning the "following lake") is an alpine lake in northern Naryn Province lying at an altitude of 3,013 metres. It is the second largest lake af... Read more
Tash Rabat
Tash Rabat Tash Rabat
A well-preserved 15th century stone caravanserai in At Bashy district, Naryn Province, Kyrgyzstan. It is located approximately 520km from Bishkek at the altitude of 3,200 meters. I... Read more

Relevant tours
A Classic Silk Road Trip to Uzbekistan - Visit Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva (SR-04) Our classic Silk Road trip to Uzbekistan – to the heart of the Central Asia - will take you through the complex passages of history, exploring the very essence of the Silk Road’s cultural and spiritual legacy, unearthing its hidden treasures from beneath the layers of centuries.

7 days, from £945
Best of Kyrgyzstan: Discover Finest Lakes, Steppe Land & Historic Towns – 8 days (SR-05) Kyrgyzstan is the heart of Central Asia with unbeatable mountain landscapes, shepherd cultures, nomads and rolling summer pastures. Of all the countries in Central Asia Kyrgyzstan with its visa-free travel, network of homestays and souvenirs for sale, is the easiest for westerners to travel in.

8 days, from £895