I have had a number of students from Uzbekistan while working in Almaty, and three of them had advised me to make sure I try both Samarkand plov and Tashkent plov. The main difference between the two, in theory, is that Samarkand plov is cooked with the rice separate from the meat and carrots, whereas in Tashkent plov it is all cooked together. Blinded by the incredible goodness from the Samarkand bazaar plov, Saranna, Eli and I anxiously ordered bowls of plov in the Chorsu bazaar. The Tashkent plov was notably different, probably because no one else in the complex was eating it, unlike in Samarkand where we had to wait for a table because everyone within a mile radius was eating the delicious concoction.
The next day, we met up with Eli and tried to walk from The Registan to Afrosiab. Along the way, we stopped by the Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-I-Zinda, or the Avenue of Mausoleums. Both of these stops were incredibly impressive, the Bibi-Khanym was simply massive and beautiful, and the intricacies of the Shah-I-Zinda were astounding.
Portals of Bukhara
The relative shine and newness of the Kalon Minaret area was not present only a few blocks away at the Ulugbek Medressa and the painted Adbul Aziz Khan Medressa. These two massive schools have remained mostly untouched for the last 500+ years, giving a much clearer picture of what it might have been like to study the Koran there in 1417.