Greetings from … Samarkand


Auckland geocacher and Tours Direct owner Mandy Page (GC handle: PageNZ) clearly loves to combine her work and hobby. When not organising geocaching tours to foreign lands, she’s exploring lesser known parts of the world. Here, she shares her latest geo-adventure:

“Today I am in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where it certainly is not about the numbers because until today there was not a single cache here. In fact, there are only eight in the whole country and most of those in are in the NATO-protected zone. I ask you: What were those geocachers thinking? It’s hardily accessile to mere mortals like myself.

“However, I have now placed a cache in the Registan. And I do hope those cachers after me respect this UNESCO World Heritage Site and don’t destroy it trying to find a rather inexpensive piece of modern life.


Registan Square


“At the heart of Samarkand, this magnificent collection of buildings is a must-see on any traveller’s to-do list.

“Placed at the crossroads of Tamberlane’s capital, this square is both beautiful and imposing. The three buildings line the sides of an open square; each facade unique and yet complimentary. Turquoise domes glisten in the sun, bright behind the tall walls covered in graceful Islamic tiles. If you listen carefully you can hear the thousands who have stood and sighed as they took in this beauty.

“But being a devoted geocacher (and there not being a cache to find), I decided that the situation needed some improvement. I circle the whole ensemble looking for somewhere not too public, above the water and snow level, something easy to find when you are on a limited time schedule as well as safe. Such a place was found and I hope the cache lives for many years to delight the heart of cachers as the Registan will delight the eye.”

Thanks, Mandy – it looks like an amazing place!

For those interested, the name Registan means ‘sandy place’ in Persian. Our friend Wikipedia also tells us:

On the Registan: “The Registan was a public square, where people gathered to hear royal proclamations, heralded by blasts on enormous copper pipes called dzharchis – and a place of public executions. It is framed by three madrasahs (Islamic schools) of distinctive Islamic architecture.”

On Samarkand: “Samarkand (Uzbek: Samarqand; Tajik: Самарқанд; Persian: سمرقند‎; from Sogdian: ‘Stone Fort’ or ‘Rock Town’) is the second-largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of Samarqand Province. The city is most noted for its central position on the Silk Road between China and the West, and for being an Islamic centre for scholarly study. In the 14th century it became the capital of the empire of Timur (Tamerlane) and is the site of his mausoleum (the Gur-e Amir). The Bibi-Khanym Mosque remains one of the city’s most notable landmarks.”

On Uzbekistan: “Uzbekistan i/ʊzˌbɛkɨˈstɑːn/, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: O‘zbekiston Respublikasi orЎзбекистон Республикаси) is the only doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan andTurkmenistan to the south. Before 1991, it was part of the Soviet Union.”

*Have YOU placed a cache in lesser known parts? We’d love to hear about it! 


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