Samarkand, the city of Amir Timur • Uzbekistan

Watch this video and don't hesitate to read the commentary on the legendary Registan Square and the many mosques and madrassas the city of Amir Timur (Tamerlane) in Samarkand in Uzbekistan.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

01:02 • Registan

01:46 • madrassa Oulough Bek 

03:00 • madrassa Tilla Kari 

04:08 • madrassa Shir-Dor 

05:09 • the mausoleum of Amir Tamur 

07:35 • Bibi Khanym, mosque and mausoleum

09:16 • Siab bazar

10:09 • Ulugbek observatory

10:35 • the necropolis of Shah-i-Zindah

12:50 • the tomb of the prophet Daniel



Samarkand is one of those mythical cities that strike the imagination and its name is inseparable from that of one of the greatest warriors that Asia has known, the descendant of Genghis Khan, Amin Timur, also named Timur Lang, which has given the name of Tamerlan. But Samarkand pre-existed Tamerlane.

History of Samarkand

The Greeks knew Samarkand under the name of Marakanda, and the city is with Bukhara, one of the oldest cities still inhabited in Central Asia. The city owes its prosperity to its geographical location, on the Silk Roads and it was one of the most important localities on this mythical route between China and the Mediterranean. And this prosperity has of course made people jealous, so much so that Samarkand has often been the scene of wars and battles for its control. This situation has made this city a cosmopolitan place with a great variety of religions which are not all practiced at the same time. Among those religions that have made Samarkand a renowned center are Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Samarkand is very old since one found there vestiges dating from more than 1000 years before Jesus-Christ.

the Greeks

Later, Samarkand was conquered by Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Completely destroyed by the Greek troops of Alexander the Great, the city quickly rose from its ashes and prospered like never before under Hellenistic influence.


Many bellicose adventures shook Samarkand in the centuries that followed until it was conquered by the Muslim Umayyads around 710 CE. Muslims remained the rulers of Samarkand until the beginning of the 1st century.


Genghis Khan, Mongolian emperor also had sights on Samarkand and his troops invaded the city in 1220. The Mongols, as usual, pillaged the city and enlisted the young people in their army and forced the artisans to work for them.

Tamerlane (Amir Timur)

In 1369, Tamerlan (known in Uzbekistan as Amir Timur) made Samarkand his capital. Tamerlan, cruel warrior who irresistibly extended his empire in violence and terror. Tamerlane brought the alleged remains of the prophet Daniel from Persia to the city of Samarkand.

Tamerlan's grandson, Ulugh Beg built an observatory and surrounded himself with many scholars with whom he carried out high quality work.

the Uzbeks

In 1507, the descendants of Tamerlane were overthrown by the Uzbeks and Samarkand is attached to the Khanate of Bukhara.

Finally, the Russian Empire takes possession of what would become Uzbekistan and Samarkand. After the October Revolution, Samarkand was attached to the Republic of Turkestan before becoming in 1925 the capital of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Uzbekistan. But in 1930, the title of capital was withdrawn in favor of Tashkent.

Monuments of Samarkand

Among the most important monuments of Samarkand we can mention

Ulugh Beg Astronomical Observatory.

Ulugh Beg, Tamerlane's grandson, was passionate about astronomy and with the help of the best scientists of the time, he left excellent works in astronomy to the following generations.

Chah e Zindeh necropolis

This mortuary city in the north of Samarkand is made up of many mausoleums, including those of two of Tamerlan's wives.

the Bibi Khanym mosque

This mosque was built by Tamerlan after his expeditions to India during which he sacked Delhi. This mosque, which bears the name of Tamerlen's wife, is strongly inspired by the Indian style.

The Registan

The Registan is the heart of Samarkand. Its name, which means "sandy places" is a public square where locals gathered to hear royal proclamations and attend public executions.

This square is surrounded by three madrassas (Koranic schools).

Madrassa of Ulugh Beg

It is one of the largest madrassas in Central Asia. Ulugh Beg, Tamerlane's grandson, more learned than military, invested heavily in education and teaching and his madrassa was one of the best universities for the clergy of the Muslim East in the 15th century.

The Shir-Dor and Tilla Kari madrassas

These two madrassas date from the 17th century and were built by Yalangtush Bakhodur, ruler of Samarkand. Tilla Kari was built 10 years after Shir Dor and was at the same time a mosque.

The tomb of the prophet Daniel (mausoleum of Khodja Daniyar)

The so-called remains of the prophet Daniel were brought back from Persia by Tamerlane. According to a legend, the bones of the prophet kept growing, especially during the particularly successful years. The coffin has reached the length of 18 meters nowadays.

the mausoleum of Amir Timur (Gour Emir) 

The construction of the sublime mausoleum of Tamerlane was started during his lifetime and is the work of his grandson, Muhammad Sultan. Tamerlan wanted to be buried very soberly, like Genghis Khan, with a stone and his name engraved on it. 

But Muhammad Sultan made it a masterpiece of Mongolian architecture, and many later buildings were inspired by the mausoleum of Tamerlane. Among these, the tomb of Hamayun in Delhi or the Taj Mahal in Agra.

What's the weather like in Samarkand?

about the place, Samarkand:

Samarkand is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia and the city's creation is estimated to be around the 8th or 7th century BCE. Like many cities on the Silk Road, prosperity is envied and the city has been the object of many invasions. From the conquest by Alexander the Great in 329 BC to that by Genghis Khan in 1220, the history of the city is a succession of good times and devastation. Amir Timur (Tamerlan) made it the capital of his empire in the 14th century.

The city is full of architectural treasures, the most famous of which is certainly the Registan Square surrounded by 3 large mosques and madrasas.


Spoken comments in the film: 

Registan has been the heart of the city since Tamerlan made Samarkand the capital of his empire in 1369. Samarkand has experienced many destruction and looting, not the least of which was perpetrated by Genghis Khan.

Registan means in Uzbek "sandy place".

It is on this place that the trade was done at the time of the Silk Road, but also the executions and the great religious and military ceremonies.

The square is surrounded by 3 madrasas: the Madrasa of Ulough Bek, the Madrasa Shir-Dor and the Madrasa of Tilla-Kari.



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Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Tomb of Timur
ceiling of the mausoleum of Tamrelan (Amir Timur), Samarkand • Uzbekistan
ceiling of the mausoleum of Tamrelan (Amir Timur)
Registan (Square), Samarkand • Uzbekistan
Registan (Square)
madrassa Tilla-Kari, Samarkand • Oezbekistan
madrassa Tilla-Kari
Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, Samarkand • Uzbekistan
Shah-i-Zinda necropolis

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

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