The Sher-Dor was the one place where we saw cops guarding the door, I think just because it is closest to the ticketed entrance. But true to what our guide book warned us about, one of the cops offered to take us into the closed minarets at the Ulugh Beg Madrassah across the square so we could climb up it, for a fee of course. We read about how the cops will offer to do this but ask for money, usually more than they first say, so we were not about to go with a stranger danger into a tower and then either pay him whatever he wants or risk having him lock us in. nah thanks. Corrupt cops are everywhere!
The Registan grounds were almost as gorgeous as the inside bits. I love loved this sea of flowers tipping out from the vase.
On to the next!
The next mosque on our list was the Bibi Khanum Mosque, which was built to house 10,000 people. That's a lot of praying going on. Luckily there were not that many people inside when we visited, although I did see Lin-Manuel Miranda's Uzbek doppelganger. When the Bibi (HABIBI!) was first built, it didn't last long before it started falling apart at the seams (not seams) (not a robot). Maybe it was too big, maybe it was built too fast, maybe it was seismic activity, maybe Tamerlane (remember we have learned about him in past posts but don't worry we will talk about him again in a few minutes) was just too pissed at the architect for kissing his wife and so he cursed the place -- all of these reasons have been put forward to explain the collapse. Yes even that last one. Apparently the architect fell in love with Tamerlane's wife, whose name was Bibi Khanum so yeah not hard to believe since the mosque just happens to be named after her. So legend goes, Archie kissed Bibi and it permanently scarred her lips, so Tamerlane was suitably pissed and called for the executioner, but Archie climbed to the top of a minaret, sprouted wings, and flew to Persia. I don't believe it, but I am not surprised that yet another ancient tale has only the woman, the one who didn't do anything but get victimized, be the only one who actually suffers punishment. Cool story bros.
Honestly the best meal in Samarkand was our hotel breakfast. And our hotel was the best place in town. I'm so obsessed. L'Argamak was brand spanking new, so everything was super clean and fresh and lovely. And the staff was the nicest, most accommodating I've ever encountered. They bent over backward to make sure we had everything to our liking, which can get really uncomfortable but they were just so goddamn kind that it was great. And the breakfast was gorgeous. They have all these fruits and jams made from fruit growing in their garden. Loves it.