Asia Pacific

Samarkand, Uzebekistan

CC: Benjamin Goetzinger

Samarkand — described as Rome of the East — is the second largest city in Uzbekistan, with a population of 1 million people. It’s located in the east part of Uzbekistan, with the Zarafshan hills to the north, and shares a border with Tajikistan. It’s an important and highly visited city, owing to its history and impressive monuments, mosques, and mausoleums. Over the centuries, Samarkand was an important crossroads along the Silk Road trade route. There are also numerous historical buildings dating from Samarkand’s role as capital of Timurids Empire. Samarkand is divided into four parts, with most visitors spending time in the Old City (from University Boulevard north to Shah-i-Zinda St.) — now a UNESCO World Heritage site. There’s some nice running in Samarkand’s central area, as well as the ‘Silk Road’ area in the east.

A great way to get oriented is with our Samarkand ‘runseeing’ tour, from Samarkand Running Tours. Also centrally located is a tree-canopied median along University Boulevard, which we recommend combining with Alisher Navoi Central Park. In the eastern section, one of the best places to run in Samarkand is the Samarkand Silk Road area, which includes a 5.7 km loop around a rowing channel.

Notes:  Our thanks to Samarkand Running Tours for their several routes in this Samarkand Running guide! Runners should be aware of Samarkand’s hilly terrain and hot summer temperatures.

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Samarkand has a semi-arid climate with cool winters and hot summers. In summer, average highs are in the 33-35C (90-95F) range, so runners should use extra caution. Nights do cool off some. In winter, daytime temps climb to 7C (45F), with nights dipping below freezing. There can be some snow, but it doesn’t stay long. Samarkand is dry — only receiving 380mm (15 inces) a year, with very little between June and September.


There’s a large selection of accommodations in Samarkand’s central section, with good access to our two main running routes there. The Silk Road area is another good area to stay near good running. There are numerous hotel around the rowing channel/Eternal City/convention center commercial & cultural area.


Samarkand Running Tours offers terrific guided runs in Samarkand.

Samarkand Marathon. Generally the first weekend in November.