THE PILGRIMS :
We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further: it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,
White on a throne or guarded in a cave
There lives a prophet who can understand
Why men were born: but surely we are brave,
Who make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.
“The Golden Journey to Samarkand” by James Elroy Flecker
Samarkand is a Persian name meaning sweet land. The city is 2750 years old. The architecture is mostly persian style but old buildings are being removed because of road widening. Yet the city has some wonderful buildings and statues.
There are statues of its most famous ruler Amir Temur 1336-1405, otherwise known as Tamerlane, a vicious conquerer. Though this is a bit fanciful as he is portrayed wearing a crown.
One of the most famous sons of Samarkand is Amir Temur’s grandson the mathematician and astronomer Miro Ulugbek 1394-1449. There are statues and paintings of Miro with Copernicus and Kepler.
Samarkand has a large Armenian community relocated by Stalin.
The people were incredibly friendly and we were often stopped and asked where we were from. We were generally asked the following questions;
What is your name?
How old are you?
Do you like Samarkand/Tashkent/Uzbekistan?
Where is your husband?
Do you have children?
I was also asked how much I earnt and if I had a picture of my house. I realise that I should have come with a picture of my house. I have had my picture taken with lots of people in Uzbekistan.