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Sackvoyage Tour Ltd. » Country profile » Samarkand

Samarkand is the most ancient city of Uzbekistan. It arose in the middle of 1st millennium B.C. as center of agricultural area on the banks of the Zarafshan river - Sogdiana. The city was mentioned in the holy scriptures of Zoroastrians and records of ancient Persian kings from Achaemenid Dynasty. The most authoritative biographer of Alexander the Great - Arrian called the capital of Sogdiana Marakanda. For centuries it was the main city of Sogdiana. During invasion of the Arabs, it was king of Samarkand, who led struggle against conquerors. And later this city played important role in political and financial life of Maverannahr. In 1220 after long siege Genghis Khan took by storm and practically razed it to the ground. The territory of ancient city have left uninhabited since that time - now Afrasiab hills separate modern Samarkand from the Zarafshan river. The revival of the city in the second half of 14 century connected with the name of the prominent state man and commander Amir Temur (Tamerlane), who made the city the capital of his empire. By Amir Temur's intention Samarkand must have been the most beautiful city in the Orient. To the south of ruins of Afrasiab arose Tamerlane's Samarkand - now old part of the city. Splendid buildings of world famous monuments of Middle Age architecture, some of them remained, were situated inside irregular rectangle, surrounded by fortress walls with six gates. The center of the city was famous Reghistan square. The monuments of Samarkand and its outskirts amaze with its splendor. Remarkable blue glazed tiles of the wall coverings, elegant architectural forms, and complex floriated and geometrical ornamental design beautify these erections.

"Once you have become the companion of the road,
it calls you again. The road lies outside the door
of your house full of charm and mystery".

Graham, Stephen
Through Russian Central Asia (1916)