Samarkand Navrus Festival


Visit Guide to Samarkand Navrus Festival

Samarkand’s Navruz celebrations are an ancient Persian celebration of the end of winter, marking the spring equinox on 21 March. Lively city fairs and traditional sports competitions create a festive atmosphere. An abundance of delicious food is central to the festivities. Sumalak, a taffy-like treat, holds special significance.

Getting There

Samarkand can be reached directly from abroad through its international airport. High-speed rail links to Tashkent (two hours) and Bukhara (four hours) are a good alternative.

What to Expect

During the Navruz festival in Samarkand, the celebration is a time of togetherness with family and friends. The festive spirit is reflected in the preparation and beautification of cities and neighbourhoods through joint work activities called khashars. One of the unique traditions is the gulgardoni, where boys gather flowers and visit neighbours, exchanging congratulations and receiving treats.

The main highlight is the preparation of sumalak, a special treat made from sprouted wheat. This ritual involves women stirring the grains for 24 hours in a large pot while singing and dancing. Sumalak is believed to bring physical and spiritual strength, and the patterns that appear on its surface are thought to foretell the upcoming year’s fortune.


The significance of sumalak dates back to the ancient inhabitants of Central Asia, who relied on this dish during harsh winters to sustain themselves. It is believed to have provided nourishment and vitality. Today, sumalak continues to be a cherished tradition and a symbol of unity, prosperity, and the enduring spirit of Navruz.