Thursday, May 18, 2023

Finally in Samarkand

Everyone has their own personal list special places they want to see eventually: glorious architectural monuments like the Acropolis, St. Marks and St. Peters, the Alhambra and for me the Haghia Sophia--the list is highly personal and can go on ad infinitum. There is something about Samarkand, however, that sets it apart from the others: Uzbekistan is not conveniently situated to Europe or North America--it takes time and effort and expense to get there. The alluring images of the monuments in that city eventually lure some of us here nevertheless. And I was truly dazzled by the sites we visited.
The pictures will have to speak for themselves: for one thing I haven't researched the monuments of Samakand enough to convey much you couldn't find on Wikipedia. What appeals to me (as it does to most visitors) is the counterpoint of immense structures and intricate decoration. The colors and patterning of the tiles here fascinated me when I saw pictures of them over the years--to see them up close in real life is a dream come true.
I'd love to hear the explanations of the face riding the tigers over the arch here...
A lavish amount of greenery surrounds the monuments: this is a major tourist destination for Uzbeks obviously--a country with a sizeable population. I was struck by not seeing any American or European tourists on our visit.
I was enchanted watching these two young ladies trying on various costumes that were on sale in the courtyard. When I asked to take their picture, they posed charmingly! The one on the right has a disarming resemblance to the younger of my two departed sisters.

The lighting indoors was enchanting
Quite a range of gew gaws were on sale...these weren't really to my taste
But I was captivated by a silk runner with pomegranates--and the young salesman was quite effective in closing the deal!
I was wondering if I'd see any statues of Timur...but the largest monumental sculpture was of Islom Karimov, the long time leader of Uzbekistan from Soviet times, through independence until his death in 2016. He was a native of Samarkand. Alas, I couldn't get close enough to identify the bird upon his head.
This photograph inside the mosque gave me pause: had these monuments really been destroyed by time to such a treat extent? Was therefore all the decoration we were seeing here reconstructed? Obviously, I've only scratched the surface here. I daresay I will learn much more in time! And when I do, I'll share it on Prairiebreak!

1 comment:

  1. What a glorious example of exquisite architecture. You could spend hours gazing at the intricacy of the patterned tiles. Beats grey cement and glazing. Must have been a bit startling to see the resemblance to your late sister in the young girl.


Featured Post

A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful ...

Blog Archive