I went for a business trip to Samarkand last Friday. As a rule, when we go with a mission to this amazing city, we mostly do sightseeing; who wants to work when there is so much beauty around? However, this time the mission consisted of men, all engineers, and they had been there before, so we actually worked all Friday.
We had dinner at Zlata Praga. They have excellent roasted lamb which is their specialty dish and very good unfiltered beer.
Fortunately for me, we stayed at the President Hotel, in the center of the city, and it would be a shame not to use the opportunity to walk. I went to bed early and woke up at 7; quickly dressed and went out.
I crossed the road and entered a large unkempt park. There were many fountains of different sizes and shapes.
I have noticed a mausoleum I have never seen close. It is quite old, and rather modest in terms of size and decorations. To the right of the building you can see a small graveyard. This might be a mausoleum for a religious leader and his descendants - next time I will come and take a closer look, but this time I was in a hurry.
...I was in a hurry, because I had so little time, and I wanted to see the Gur-e Emir. I was so happy to see it ahead of me, half-hidden by trees and bushes, with its beauty growing on me as I was coming closer...
..and at last I could see all of it in the morning light. My heart stopped for a moment.
This is the mausoleum of Tamerlane (Timur the Great, also known as the Lame, who we call Emir Temur), his two sons and two grandsons and his religious mentor. I will not dwell on details - you can easily find them. On the photo below you can see another graveyard, but all the important tombs are inside.
The interesting thing is that tourists are shown the tombs in a lavishly decorated room on the first floor, all covered with gold tiles, but I was told that those were not real - they were cenotaphs. Imitations. At least this was the case with the grave of Timur, whereas the real one, with the remains, is one floor below, at the underground level. I have been there once, too, but it was many years ago and I do not remember it well.
The mausoleum was expertly restored, but I must confess that I love the non-restored parts even more. They are very authentic and real. Of course I realize that the place had to be renovated, or there would not be much to look at, and besides it would keep deteriorating. But anyway I like that it has non-restored parts, too.
It is surrounded by many mulberry trees, and has some inside the yard, too.
Every morning this masterpiece is thoroughly cleaned; can you see the green bucket in the picture below on the left? And the photo on the right shows the beautiful dome and a tower, covered with majolica tiles. This ribbed dome is unique and beautiful like a piece of jewelry.
Two old men are sitting and talking quietly. This is a wonderful place to sit and talk, before groups of tourists arrive. Every day this mausoleum is visited by so many people.
...Not far from the mausoleum, a small pack of happy dogs was lounging and playing in the grass. I do not know if they were homeless or just left their homes nearby for a walk (which certainly should not happen, too, but it would still be better). But at least they looked well-fed and not abused.
My pictures do not give justice to this amazing place. You can look for professionally made pictures or, better still, come here to see the city with your own eyes.
To be continued...