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SAMARKAND

 
 

These photos were made in Samarkand during a visit in 1964. We were probably the first Americans and Canadians to visit Samarkand in a long time. Everyone we met thought we were East Germans until they learned otherwise.

 
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Sign on our hotel in Samarkand

 
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Gur Amir ("Grave of the King")- Tamerlane's tomb - ordered in 1404 originally for Tamerlane's grandson, Mohammed Sultan, - But Tamerlane died the next year so was burried here as well. It contains not only Tamerlane's tomb but also that of two of his sons, Uleg Beg and other family members

 
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Close-up of the dome of Tamerlane's tomb

 
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The dome above Tamerlane's tomb. It is 110 feet high

 
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Tamerlane's tomb

 
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The ground floor interior of Tamerlane's tomb with his tombstone and several sarcophagi. It is 72 feet high. The tombstone is composed of two blocks of green nephrite (the largest known) It is 6 feet, 6 inches long. There is an inscription in Arabic which claims that Tamerlane was descended from the same ancestor at Genghis Khan (since evenone knew he was not directly descended from Genghis) The eight other tombstons are of marble or alabaster.

 
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In the underground crypt is Tamerlane's actual resting place.

 
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A brick cover over Uleg Bek's observatory meridian sextant. The observatory was built in 1449. It was desroyed and burried and only discovered in 1909 by Russian archeologistss. The original building was three stories. This arched roof cover was built in 1914 to protect the sextant which is now under ground.

 
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Inside the remains of Uleg Bek's observatory - looking down on the track of a giant meridian rail on which a platform could be moved so that the observer could look up through a window in a dome high overhead and observe the transit of stars

 
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Backside wall of the Registan complex - the rear of the Shir-Dar Mosque - one side of a large public square.

 
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Wide city square behind the Registan shown in the background. The wall is the rear of the Shir-Dar Medresseh - on the right is the Chorsu - a 19th century trading center

 
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Another view of the back of the Registan from across the city square

 
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View of rear of Registan from across the city square

 
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The Registan square - The Shir-Dar medresseh and mosque with unusual decorations built from 1619 to 1636 by Yalangyushbee, the military governor of the city during the Astrakhan dynasty. It replaced a ruin of an earlier rest house. the entrance portal is 79 feet high. The decoration on each side show a lion chasing a deer

 
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Close-up view of an unusual mosaic decoration on the Shir-Dar Medresseh

 
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The Registan square - The Shir-Dar Medresseh and Mosque with unusual decorations built from 1619 to 1636 by Yalangyushbee, the military governor of the city during the Astrakhan dynasty. It replaced a ruin of an earlier rest house. the entrance portal is 79 feet high. The decoration on each side show a lion chasing a deer

 
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Upper part of entrance to one of the buildings

 
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Courtyard in one of the Registan buildings.

 
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Registan wall

 
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Side of the Registan buildings from the square behind the Shir-Dar medressa - opposite is the front facade of the Uleg Beg Medressah and Mosque that was built in 1417-1420. It is the oldest building in the Registan square.

 
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The Registan square - The Shir-Dar medressa and mosque with unusual decorations built from 1619 to 1636 by Yalangyushbee, the military governor of the city during the Astrakhan dynasty. It replaced a ruin of an earlier rest house. the entrance portal is 79 feet high. The decoration on each side show a lion chasing a deer

 
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The Uleg Beg Medressah and Mosque in the Registan complex. It is the oldest of the buildings, (by over 200 years) built in 1417-1420 The studies here included astronomy for which Uleg Bek was accused of blasphemy and then assassinated in 1447.

 
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Side of a Registan - Shir-Dar Medresseh

 
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Minarets and dome that compose three sides of the Registan complex - This is from behind the Shir-Dar Medresseh and Mosque and the front of the Uleg Beg Medressah and Mosque is visible opposite - on the right edge of the photo is the Tillah-Kari Medresseh and Mosque

 
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Entrance gate

 
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Interior courtyard of a medressa in the Registan - shows the building without decoration but beginning of repair

 
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Inerior courtyard in Registan - shows elaborate nature of original decoration

 
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Gateway and courtyard beyond

 
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A huge grey marble stand to hold a huge Koran during services. It was originally in the Bibi Khanum mosque where it was placed by Uleg Beg. It is 8 feet by 7 feet

 
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View of a Registan building through a lattice

 
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View of a Registan building through a lattice - This is the Uleg Beg Medresseh on the west side of the square.

 
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Building repairs.

 
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Another building in need or repair

 
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The Tillah-Kari (covered with gold) Medresseh and Mosque on the north side of the Registan -built in 1647 The interior was elaborately guilded. Note how much loner it is than the other medressah - designed to enclose the square on this side.

 
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Courtyard in the Registan complex

 
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Building in the Registan complex

 
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Another building

 
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Another building in need of repair

 
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Another building

 
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New construction - Soviet style

 
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A section of town with some new construction

 
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Another medieval ruined building

 
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Doorway and decorated wall

 
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Part of the ruin of the huge Bibi Khanum Mosque - built from 1399 to 1404 - It was 110 yards wisde by 153 yards long and one of the largest in the world, but the building construction methods - mortar - were insufficient - it decayed and then suffered in an earthquake in 1897.

 
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Part of the ruin of the huge Bibi Khanum Mosquie - built from 1399 to 1404 This is the main portal entrance that was 112 feet high - The dome appears behind the arch. The Mosque was 110 yards wide by 153 yards long and one of the largest in the world, but the building construction methods - mortar - were insufficient - it decayed and then suffered in an earthquake in 1897. The cupola dome was 66 feet in diameter, and 118 feet high. There are other smaller mosques in the complex. And across the road is the Bibi Khanum mausoleum. But Bibi Khanum herself is probably a myth.

 
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Part of the ruin of the huge Bibi Khanum Mosquie - built from 1399 to 1404 - It was 110 yards wisde by 153 yards long and one of the largest in the world, but the building construction methods - mortar - were insufficient - it decayed and then suffered in an earthquake in 1897. The cupola dome was 66 feet in diameter, and 118 feet high. There are other smaller mosques in the complex. And across the road is the Bibi Khanum mausoleum. But Bibi Khanum herself is probably a myth.

 
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Another part of the ruin of the huge Bibi Khanum Mosquie - built from 1399 to 1404 - It was 110 yards wisde by 153 yards long and one of the largest in the world, but the building construction methods - mortar - were insufficient - it decayed and then suffered in an earthquake in 1897. The cupola dome was 66 feet in diameter, and 118 feet high. There are other smaller mosques in the complex. And across the road is the Bibi Khanum mausoleum. But Bibi Khanum herself is probably a myth.

 
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Alley in the medieval burial complex - Shakhi-Zinda (Shrine of the Living King) in north east section of Samarkand - This complex was built over several centuries. - from the 10th on, but most remaining are from the 14th and 15th centuries. Here are burried military commanders, female relatives of Tamerlane and others.

 
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Alley in the medieval burial complex - Shakhi-Zinda (Shrine of the Living King) in north east section of Samarkand - This complex was built over several centuries. - from the 10th on, but most remaining are from the 14th and 15th centuries. Here are burried military commanders, female relatives of Tamerlane and others.

 
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Another view of - Shakhi-Zinda (Shrine of the Living King) in north east section of Samarkand - This complex was built over several centuries. - from the 10th on, but most remaining are from the 14th and 15th centuries. Here are burried military commanders, female relatives of Tamerlane and others.

 
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- This is from behind the Shir-Dar Medresseh and Mosque to the right of the photo is the Tillah-Kari Medresseh and Mosque

 
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Another view of - Shakhi-Zinda (Shrine of the Living King) in north east section of Samarkand - This complex was built over several centuries. - from the 10th on, but most remaining are from the 14th and 15th centuries. Here are burried military commanders, female relatives of Tamerlane and others. The building on the left is on top of the ruin of the old city wall.

 
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Another view of - Shakhi-Zinda (Shrine of the Living King) in north east section of Samarkand - This complex was built over several centuries. - from the 10th on, but most remaining are from the 14th and 15th centuries. Here are burried military commanders, female relatives of Tamerlane and others. The building on the left is on top of the ruin of the old city wall.

 
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Entrance gate - doorway

 
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Another view of - Shakhi-Zinda (Shrine of the Living King) in north east section of Samarkand - This complex was built over several centuries. - from the 10th on, but most remaining are from the 14th and 15th centuries. Here are burried military commanders, female relatives of Tamerlane and others.

 
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Columns and parts of a building in the Shakhi-Zinda complex.

 
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Making bricks for the major repair of the Registan buildings.

 
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Team spirit - making bricks to repair the Registan

 
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Detail of dcoration on wall

 
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The only photo I have of the archeological site outside Samarkand - the Marakanda of Alexandeer the Great and Afrasiab of medieval Saka society. Unfortunate, because the walls are covered with decorations - pictures of processions and the like - Samarkand is in background - I met an archeologist here and gave him several rolls of 35 mm Kodacrome film, which he caid he could not obtain.

 
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Vases in museum

 
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Vases in museum

 
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Artist at work

 
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Uzbek lady

 
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Children playing

 
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Two young girls posing

 
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Proud grand father with three young girls.

 
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Another section of town with several children

 
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People going about their business early in the morning

 
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Ladies out shopping early in the morning

 
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Lots of fresh vegetables in the Samarkand market each morning

 
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Samarkand has been famous for melons for centuries - and they are great.

 
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Chicken for sale at the local market

 
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Uzbek couple at the burial complex

 
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Two Uzbek ladies and a European lady.

 
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My wife made a formal gown out of the silk I brought back from Samarkand

 
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Locals - are they waiting for a bus?

 
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Prayer time

 
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Discussing world affairs with three local gentlemen

 
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Three gentlemen from Samarkand

 
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The discussion continues - in 1964 the Uzbeks were eager to discuss their concerns about Chinese expansion

 
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Our guide to Samarkand - the young lady was born here but is Moldavian since her parents were exiled from Moldavia at end of WWII.

 
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Our guide taking a tea break

 
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Looking out the hotel window se see our tour guide fixing a car tire whol the 'gentlemen' observe

 

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