Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to Rest.


One of the most ancient cities of the world existed under the name Marakanda even by the mid­dle of 1000 B.C. and was capital of Sogdiana.

Later the old part of an­cient Samarkand was renamed Afrosiab. The early chronicles describe it as a prospering and densely pop­ulated city that was surrounded by a wall of I0 km. Samarkand became a trade centre on the Great Silk Road. Because of its location, the city was influenced by the great civilizations of Iran, India, the Arabian world and China, combining spiritual and ma­terial culture. The best heyday Samarkand achieved during Tamerlan's rule. Tamerlane proved himself as the great com­mander and governor creating the biggest world empire In his lime, which expanded from the Tien-Shan mountains as far as the bounda­ries of China in the east, and as far as the Bosporus in (he west and from the Kazakh steppes in the north to Central India in the south.

Tamerlan's main aim was to make Samarkand «the capital of the world». He built a powerful fortress wall, magnificent palaces, mosques, madrassah, and caravan-saraiys. From the central Registan square six broad streets span out like the sun's rays.

There were a plenty of markets but each of which only sold one type of goods. Samarkand produced the best paper in the world and very proud of its fine velvet fabric. Just outside the city were thirteen mag­nificent parks with cascades, foun­tains and palaces. After Tamerlan's death, the empire collapsed, but still for a short period his grandson Ulugbek contin­ued the building work, developing the sciences and crafts.

By the beginning of XIX cen­tury Samarkand was under the aut­hority of the Bukharian Emirate, and later under colonization of Russia. After the Russian revolution in 1917 and civil war from 1924 till 1930 it was capital of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. Under the Soviet regime Samarkand be­came a large industrial and cultu­ral centre of Uzbekistan.

Today Samarkand city has a population of 500 000 the second largest city in Uzbekistan.


Necropolis Shahi-Zinda (XI-XV) is situated on the south­ern decline of Afrosiab. It has mos­ques and madrassah around the mythical burial of the cousin of the prophet Muhammad Hussein Ibn Abbas. Having begun to be built up in the XI century its final appearance was created in XIV-XV. All the mausoleums are finely dec­orated with glazed bricks on facades, cupolas and internal interiors.

Mausoleum Gur-Emir (XIV-XV) («tomb of king» from Turkish) was built for Tamerlan's grandson - Muhammad-sultan, but later became the burial-vault of the male half of Tаmurids clan. Here lie scattered the ashes of Tamerlane himself, his sons and grandsons, in­cluding Ulugbek. The Mausoleum is decorated with blue and gold paint inside, while the walls and cupola are covered with gold orna­ments and inscriptions.

Registan Square (XV-XVII). Architectural ensemble con­sisting of three madrassah: Sher-Dor (1619-1636), Tillya-Kori (1619-1636), and Ulugbek (1417-1420). The square was the public cent­re of Samarkand. Even by 20-30 A.D. restoration works had been started and today tourists can see these masterpieces of medieval architecture in their entire splendor. In the evenings on the square you can see an historical musical show.

The mosque Bibi-Khanum (1399-1404) was built in accord­ance with the order of Tamerlane after his successful Indian cam­paign. Tamerlane intended that the mosque should be the best of all the known monuments of the East Masters - brought against their will from all corners of Tamerlan's Empire, were involved in the con­struction. The unique complex did survive because of mistakes in con­struction and the earthquake. Now its restoration is almost complet­ed.

Ulugbek Observatory (XV) built on the high hill Chupan-Ata. Here Ulugbek together with Giyaseddin Djamshid ibn Kazi-zade Rumi observed the stars and cre­ated the catalogue of 1118 stars with unbelievable accuracy for that time. Archeological works exposed the underground part of the sex­tant and the foundations of the building, which previously was three-storey and cylindrical in shape. 20km away from Samarkand is the complex dedicated to Ismail Al Bukhari, famous in the Moslem world as the scientific the­ologian. The complex is built on the tomb of Al Bukhari and in­cludes Mausoleum Al Bukhari, a mosque and library


To find more about history of Samarkand click here





To find more about history of Samarkand click here