Tilework of the Silk Road: Patterns and Symbols
Stories of the Silk Road tell of camels and caravans, and the treasures they carried. After the 8th century advent of Islam, when travelers stopped to rest along the way at Central Asian oases, they began to see mosques, minarets, and buildings elaborately decorated with brilliant tiles. These tiles were embellished with leaves, vines, and various designs, often in green, blue and turquoise hues – seven main colors in all.
The colors of tiles have their own significance. Blue was the dominant color in Samarkand, symbolizing the world of ideas and intellect during Timur’s era. Over time, those blue tiles came to be the color of mourning in Central Asia – appropriate in the Gur-Emir and other mausoleums.
You can often catch travelers along the Silk Road standing motionless before a mosque or madrassah, struck by the lustrous patterns created by the interlocking tiles, a combination of geometry and artistry.
Travel with MIR Along the Silk Road
MIR has nearly 30 years of travel experience in Central Asia and has an affiliate office in Uzbekistan. We have a roster of contacts that can take you to places that you didn’t even know you wanted to go. Our full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
There are several ways to enjoy the tilework of the Silk Road. All of these tours include time in Samarkand, Uzbekistan:
- Silk Road small group tours
- Silk Road rail journeys by private train
- Travel the Silk Road on an independent journey or on a custom, private tour, handcrafted to your pace, dates and interests.
Contact us about our small group tours or handcrafted itineraries by phone (800-424-7289) or email today.
Top Photo: Intricate tile designs on a Samarkand mosque. Photo Credit: Lindsay Fincher
PUBLISHED: April 5, 2016