The Golden City of Samarkand: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

The Golden City of Samarkand: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

As the author of an award-winning book about Central Asia, let me take you on a voyage of discovery, exploring Samarkand’s rich heritage and unearthing the stories of the people and places of this fascinating land.

Starting at the dazzling majolica and terracotta tile-covered 9th Century Shah-I-Zinda, the "Tomb of the Living King," our route proceeds to modern-day Samarkand's major market, the vibrant Siab Bazaar. We'll visit the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, learning about local folklore, history and present-day politics en route to the turquoise domes and tapering minarets of the Registan, the Holy Grail of most visitors to Uzbekistan. This tour also allows for more exploratory detours and the possibility of stops at popular local chaikhanas (tea houses).

The tour is ready whenever you are and the audio plays automatically at exactly the right time and place using your smartphone's GPS and the VoiceMap mobile app, which also works offline.

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Pass By: Shah-i-Zinda, Samarkand Uzbekistan

The Shah-I-Zinda complex originally dates from the ninth century. The tiny doorways to the mausoleums ensure by design that bowing to Allah is compulsory. The plain white graves are laden with pilgrim’s gifts of bank notes for comfort in the afterlife. The sheer scale of the site’s majesty, the busyness and the minutia of the architecture is dizzying, as is the dry heat through much of the year.

Pass By: Siab Bazaar, Bibikhonim Str., Samarkand 140164 Uzbekistan

At the Siab Bazaar, girders hold aloft a two-tiered corrugated monster of a roof, an over spill of traders hunkering under bleached gazebos and parasols selling a wide array of goods. Everything can be found here. From children’s toys to hard, round, bagel-like lepyoshka. Look out for necklaces of wolves teeth, mixed in with Chinese imports piled high.

Pass By: Bibi Khanym Mosque, Guzarskiy Lane, Samarkand 140164 Uzbekistan

The Bibi Khanym Mosque was commissioned by Timur, following his campaign in India in 1399. It was built using treasures plundered from the subcontinent. Ignoring his architect’s advice, Timur’s very specific design ensured that the mosque has collapsed repeatedly. For four centuries, it lay as a windswept ruin. The latest restoration efforts began in 1974 and continue to this day.

Pass By: Registan St, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Samarkand 140164 Uzbekistan

Registan is most people's holy grail when visiting Uzbekistan. Here you can get a real sense of how steeped in history the region is. These are the lands of Al-Khorezm, the mathematician whose name Westerners morphed into the word algorithm. His al-jabr still forms the basis of schoolchildren’s nightmares.

Pass By: Sher Dor Madrasah, Registan Square, Samarkand 140164 Uzbekistan

Although it was built as an imitation of the original Ulugbek Madrassa, the Sher Dor features a quirk which makes it a favourite of photographers. The mosque was completed in 1636 under Shaybanid Emir Yalangtush. Its mosaics feature a Zoroastrian hangover flouting the Islamic prohibition on the depiction of living beings. Although, the name Sher Dor translates as "lion" most agree that the roaring beasts in each corner above the entrance arch more closely resemble tigers.

Informacion Adicional
"Confirmation will be received at time of booking"
"Not wheelchair accessible"
"Stroller accessible"
"Service animals allowed"
"Near public transportation"
"Infants must sit on laps"
"Most travelers can participate"
"This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate"

Hora de Inicio:
Confirm time with the local provider in advance of your experience.
The Golden City of Samarkand: A Self-Guided Audio Tour
5/20/2019 - 12/27/2023
Monday - Sunday : 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Duración: 1 Hour
Lugar de comienzo: Shah-i-Zinda Street, Shоhi Zindа ko'chasi, Samarqand, Uzbekistan

Cancelaciones y devoluciones: All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.


  • Lifetime access to The Golden City of Samarkand tour
  • VoiceMap Application
  • Offline access to audio, maps, and geodata

No Incluye

  • Smartphone
  • Transportation
  • Food/Drink
  • Tickets or entrance fees to any museums or other attractions en route


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