Uzbekistan: The Road to Samarkand

By Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan may possess all the romantic traits of a fantastical land, but it is a fantastic reality! Much of the nation’s rich past is deeply intertwined with the history of the world as we know it today. The birth of global trade has strong roots in the nation, with cities like Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva serving as central points on the Great Silk Road, which was once simply referred to as the “road to Samarkand.”

Book "Uzbekistan: The Road to Samarkand"Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The 336-page tome explores the visual culture and colorful history that characterizes the Central Asian country. Uzbekistan’s rich and long history offers a fantastic tale, but as this book reveals, it exceeds even your wildest imagination. Behold some of the most beautiful things Uzbekistan has to offer!

Uzbekistan: The Road to SamarkandArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

One need only look at the mosques, madrassahs, domes and minarets to see the rich religious and cultural influences. The architecture and colors of the monuments offer living examples of the history and splendor of Central Asia.

Shah-i-Zindah Ensemble (IX–XIX centuries)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Mausoleums have a turquoise finish or are covered with dark blue tiles with floral ornaments. Shah-i-Zinda is the only archaeological and architectural monument in Samarkand, which, including the cultural layers of Afrasiab, reflects the almost 25-century history of the city.

Shah-i-Zindah Ensemble (IX–XIX centuries)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The portal of Sherdor Madrassah (1962)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Sherdor, which sounds in translation - "having tigers", or "having lions", the spiritual school received thanks to the mosaic panel that decorated the tympanum of the main entrance. The pictorial image shows a hunting scene of a fabulous animal that looks like a tiger with a lion's mane.

Madrasah Sherdor (1619/1636)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The story depicted on the Central portal of the madrasa building later became the national emblem of Uzbekistan. It is a symbol of power. The artistic decoration of the madrasa building is made of a variety of materials — glazed bricks, mosaic tiles, ceramic majolica.

Po-i Kalyan (XVI century)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The Poi-Kalyan complex, which means “the foot of the great,” is located at the Kalyan minaret and includes three buildings: the Kalyan mosque, the Kalyan minaret and the Miri Arab madrasah.

Itchan KalaArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The inner city of Khiva in Uzbekistan is surrounded by powerful walls.Built over the centuries, fortifications and palaces, mosques and madrassas, mausoleums and minarets, caravanserais, and baths turned Ichan-Kala into a unique monument city.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum (XV century)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Ak-Saray translates as "White Palace".The contrast of gold, carved ceilings, elegant patterns, architectural delights, which is present in the decor of the premises, is a truly amazing reincarnation of the mausoleum.

Ak-Saray Mausoleum (XV century)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Khudoyar Khan's Palace or Kokand Urda (1863/1871)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

The palace building was built in the traditions of Central Asian architecture with a high portal in the middle, decorated with a large entrance arch and four minarets.: two of them stand on both sides of the portal, two finish the facade from the south and north.

Wood-carving master Shonazar Ismoilov at his workshopArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Such intricacy is not confined to the architecture. Everything crafted by Uzbek hands is finely detailed. To this day, the skilled craftsmen of Uzbekistan continue the time-tested traditions of weaving silk textile; pottery; jewelry; wood-carving; ganch; painting; embossing; carpet weaving; applying patterns on leather, lacquer and book miniatures; gold dyeing; embroidery (Bukhara, Fergana, Samarkand and Tashkent all have embroidery centers); and blacksmith work. The blacksmiths’ trade remains respected and prestigious in Uzbekistan, as they were once believed to have magical and healing powers.

Column detail of Djuma Mosque (X century)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Right: A Sheikh Mukhtar Ata Mosque. It is a quater mosque in the" inner city " of Khiva (Ichan-Kala)

The entrance of the Sheikhantaur CemeteryArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Facade of the State Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan. (XIX century) by A. BurmeisterArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Woman’s robe (late XIX–early XX century)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Right: Celling at the State Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan.

Tashkent gold-embroidered velvet men’s robe by R.MirzaevArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Men’s robe with hand embroidery, gold thread, jacquard velvet.

Yulduz‑palyak hand-embroidered panel (late XIX–early XX centuries)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Left:In the Tashkent region, there are two types of large decorative embroidery of the suzane type – Palak (from the word "Falak", which means "sky vault") and gulkurpa. The entire surface of the Tashkent Palak embroidery is covered with solid embroidered symbols and dark red circles.
Right: Skullcap is a male and female headdress of the Turkic peoples. Each region has its own special style and color.

Musical instrumentsArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Musical instruments originating from Central Asia.

Fireplace in Nurullah Bai's Palace (1906/1912)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Right:Rustam Usmanov’s pottery.He is a master of the art of painting and various technologies of glazing.The master has a delicate taste – his products are marked by a special grace and classic completion of compositions.

Chatkal reserve (1947)Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Where could so much colorful inspiration come from, you might ask?

Charvak ReservoirArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

One need look no further than the unending beauty of nature

Hisor RangeArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Colors that span the spectrum like a painter’s palette cover diverse landscapes on buildings.

Tuzkan salt lakeArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Green mountains, turquoise-blue lakes, snow-white salt plains, rust-colored valleys and golden deserts are all sources of inspiration for the ever-present vibrant aesthetic.

Ustyurt Plateau desertArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Paltau valley landscapeArts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Book "Uzbekistan: The Road to Samarkand"Arts & Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Credits: Story

"Uzbekistan. The Road to Samarkand" is a joint project of Assouline Publishing and Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The book follows the route of the exhibition “Civilizations and Culture on the Silk Road”, which will be held at the Louvre Museum in 2022. The authors of the book are the publisher Yaffa Assouline and the photographer Laziz Hamani.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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