Samarkand

Samarkand

Like the other ancient centers of human civilizations like Babylon and Memphis, Athens and Rome, Alexandria and Byzantium - Samarkand was also destined to survive the turbulent events and upheavals.The history of Samarkand goes back more than 2500 years. According to archaeological works and chronicles of ancient historians allowed to establish with certainty that human lived in the territory of the modern city thousands of years before Christ’s birth. Archaeologists have found traces of Paleolithic age in the center of Samarkand. A large number of tools made of quartz and flint and animal bones were found. In areas Muminobod were found human bones inside a clay vessel, bronze ornaments belonging to the Bronze Age.

The historical books of ancient time the name of Samarkand mentioned as Marakanda. Those were the times when the city was conquered by the warriors of Alexander the Great. When the Greeks came, the city was a big and defensed with a huge wall by length of about ten and a half kilometers. Marakanda was a city with crowded population, developed crafts, trade and culture. Since that time the city has seen on its streets and squares, the tribes of Saks and Massagetae warriors, iron "phalanx" of Greco-Macedonians, hordes of cruel Karakitais, violence of Arab invasion and the bloody hordes of Genghis Khan.  Hill of Afrasiab (7th c. B.C) occupied the territory which rose to the north of modern Samarkand. 

When Samarkand was conquered by the Mongols the ancient water supply system was destroyed, and life in Afrasiab ended. When conqueror Timur created his strong empire stretching from the Indus River to Bosporus, Samarkand became the capital of world’s strongest empire of that time. When Timur’s grandson Ulugbek, the great astronomer became the ruler of the city, Samarkand acquired fame as one of the prominent centers of culture and science of the Middle Ages."Eden of the East", "precious jewel of the Islamic world", "Rome of the East", "Face of the Earth" - these magnificent names of Samarkand were given by poets, historians, medieval geographers of India, China, Byzantium and Egypt. To present day there preserved amazingly beautiful monuments of medieval architecture, which are unique in the architectural forms. In XIV-XV centuries., In the territory of the Central Asian, in Mavaraunnahr and its capital Samarkand were created works of special synthetic style, incorporating the highest achievements of Russian artistic culture of the Middle East nations.

Its history is connected with the names of well-known prominent scholars and poets of the East –like Rudaki, Alisher Navoi, Jami, and especially with the martyr of science, great scientist Ulugbek. Like many other countries, Samarkand was also added to Soviet Union and in 1868 it became the administrative center of Zarafshan district. During soviet rule, Russian scientist paid great attention to this region, especially historical treasures. Most of them were discovered and reconstructed at that time.  All architectural monuments of Samarkand are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to the abundance of material and spiritual values. Unique monuments of ancient architecture, heritage of scientific and arts schools, artisans’ workshops are well-known around the world. Although, Islam has been main religion since Arabs conquered the area, people are becoming more westernized rather than keeping their ancestors' tradition and culture. Especially young people. Now, Samarkand is nation’s second largest city, with the population of 800.000. Like capital city Tashkent, it’s divided into two parts: Old town, where you can visit many interesting sights, monuments of historical value, it’s also old private houses and little shops.