The day started with the visit of the Gur-e-Amir 15th Century Mausoleum. Amir Timur or Tamerlane was a Turco-Mongol conqueror, who made (as many others of his alike) great things and terrible ones. Depending of your background, the one or the others were put ahead and Otabek and André did not share the same point of view. Their arguments extended to Staline, but could have included others like Napoleon, closer to our era. Besides beautiful and great achievements, they are also responsible of very repulsive barbarian acts. The dispute could not end on an agreement so the debate was stopped for the benefit of all, who were more interested in cultural achievements than in the barbarian hit parade. One thing is for sure: Amir Timur ruled over an empire that extended at a certain point in time from Constantinople to Delhi, he had many enemies and opponents, the majority of whom died before him. He realized when he should stop, whether towards China or Moscow, knew how to deceive them, which he demonstrated during the multiple battles he fought.
After a second ride to the Timur Necropolis, Shah-i-Zinda. As Otabek put it during his explanations, coming to pray in such holy location and making sacrifices is believed by some to increase the chance of the prayer to be heard by God of every religion. Our driver between the two sites gave us the impression to be willing to sacrifice his car, because he was driving it as if it was his last act on earth. Although the car touched the ground because speed and road condition were not appropriately chosen and despite moments with speed above 100 km/h downtown Samarkand, we arrived alive and were happy to wait on the others. Little Sabrina was eating an ice-cream on the next bench and her mother asked us to take a picture with her. The people here are extremely friendly.
When Otabek and André arrived, their arguments stored away, we walked up the 40 steps to the many mausoleums built by Amir Timur. The site undergone massive restoration and still needs more. Today, the cemetery around it is still accessible to those who have the proper connections to the right persons. One mausoleum after the other, Otabek took us through the stories and legends. He makes the visits very lively with his "Stalinian" way to motivate the "proletariat": "Reisen und Kultur: Attacke !" is the formula he favors to boost our group, when it is somewhat lacking dynamism.
We had dinner in a caravanserai and went to see a « son et lumière « projection on The Registan square, the heart of Samarkand. It was a show about the importance of Usbekistan in history and in the future. The technical quality was very good.