Detail of one of the windows of the Registan.
Try walking around early in the morning and late in the evening, the chances are great you'll find pieces of the mosaics that have fallen off.
Maybe this should be in the Shopping Tips: Free Souvenirs
The Registan is amazing. The Registan is the main attraction (of many) in Samarkand. Inside the buildings are various shops selling carpets, trinkets and other Uzbek crafts.
Come back at different times during the day to see the Registan in different lighting conditions. It even looks great at night when illuminated by lights.
'Registan' apparently means 'sandy place' which must be the most under-rating description in the world. It is Samarkand's main square, surrounded on three sides by beautiful and colossal Temurid medressahs. The photograph here is taken at some distance to fit all three in but the details of the tilework really need to be seen closeup.
The medressah on the left is the oldest, the Ulug Beg medressah (built 1417-1420), named after Timur's grandson the astronomer king of Samarkand. On the right is the Sher-dah medressah (1619-1636) of which more in another tip, in the middle is the Tillya Kari (1646-1660).
Inside each medressah the old classrooms and students' quarters are now tourist shops.
Sher-Dah means "lion bearing" and it refers to the two lions (they look more like tigers) above the portal. On the back of each one is a sun with a Mongol face. I find this the most interesting of Samarkand's monuments. The depiction of living things on a Muslim religious school is unusual enough, but it has been suggested that the rising sun on the lion/tiger's back is a symbol of the Zoroastian deity Mithra, the Unconquered Sun. Although this city was once part of Zoroastrian ancient Persia that was a long time before the 17th century when this medressah was built.
Kind of a no-brainer, as it's the reason most people come to Samarqand in the first place. There are three medressas with huge facades forming (along with an open side) a large square. The square starts closing down early (in other words, right when it starts to get to a reasonable temperature). You can go inside the medressas to see their courtyards and further tilework. It is most beautiful and impressive. You can go up the minarets if you help the guards and his buddies out a bit.
The Registan Square is the main landmark of Samarkand and a real beauty, with its blue domes and decorated tiles.
At night there is a wonderful "light and sound" show.