Silk road cities: Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara
Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara are all wonderful Uzbek cities, who had their glory for many centuries ago. They were an important part of the Great Silk Road from China towards Europe where merchant caravans from India, Persia and China met. The history of these Silk Road Cities in Uzbekistan are absolutely incredible and dates back to the Roman Empire and the Babylon. Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara offers splendid palaces and gardens with trees along the paved streets and each city has a water system supplying the entire city.
Samarkand – One of the oldest cities in the world
Samarkand is the second largest city in Uzbekistan and it is a modern Central Asia city with beautiful monuments. Actually, it is one of the oldest city in the world and indeed the oldest in entire Central Asia. It is believe that Samarkand periodically has been the largest city in the world. Samarkand is characterized by several large palaces but the city is most famous for the Registan which is a major square with ornate palaces. The Registan was the ancient center of the city and it reflects Islamic architecture.
The city was founded around 700 BC of an Iranian tribe. Samarkand has been one of the main centers of Sogdian civilization. Due to its long and brutal history the Samarkand got its nickname: Crossroads of Cultures.
Itchan Kala: The walled inner town of Khiva
Khiva is divided into to districts; The outer town, called Dichan Kala, and the inner town called Itchan Kala (within the walls). The old town retains more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, dating primarily from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. The foundations of the brick walls which enclosed the inner town are dated back to the 10th century. The present-day walls are approximately 10 meters high. Entering Khiva is like stepping into one big museum reflecting the changing architecture throughout history and shows stunning array of mosques, Madrasas and tiled minarets within the ancient town center. Khiva is located only 5km from the border of Turkmenistan.
Back in 1990, Itchan Kala was declared as the World Heritage Site as the first of its kind in Uzbekistan.
Bukhara – “The city of museums”
Like Samarkand and Khiva, Bukhara was a big commercial trading post on the Great Silk Road. Bukhara is known from Chinese scriptures around 400 AD and it has more than 140 architectural monuments of the Middle Ages. The most famous landmark of Bukhara is the Kalon Minaret which was build in 1127.
In contrast to e.g. Rome or Jerusalem, there is so few tourists in Uzbekistan that you can freely walk around and feel thousands of years of interesting history.
Visitors say that these Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan are very similar to the city of Agrabah from the Aladdin cartoons.
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