Samarkand is one of the ancient cities of the world, with a 2750 year history; it is the contemporary of Rome, Athens and Babylon. Samarkand is located on the left bank of the middle course of the Zarafshan river, in the center of the Republic of Uzbekistan. In ancient times it was the capital of the powerful state Sogd. At the entrance to the city the forking of Afrasiab remained, where old Marakand, with the name of which Central Asian campaigns of Alexander of Macedon are associated.
Its for a long time has been the most catching object to the eyes of politicians, businessmen and travelers. It reached the prosperity and grandeur in the time of Timur the great. The city had an advantageous geographical situation; it was an important crossroad on the Great Silk Road. This epoch left the most significant marks in the historical and architectural appearance of the city.
Magnificent samples of medieval architecture affecting the perfection of forms and riot of color, were kept in Samarkand.
Settled: 8th century BC, Population: ~520 000, Area: 120 km2 (50 sq mi)
Sights of Samarkand
Samarkand ensemble of mausoleums Shakhi – Zinda on the slope of Afrosiab is the place of interest of whole Central Asian architecture. Its formation began in the XII century, the main building was in XIV- XV centuries in Timur’s time. Burial vaults of women of Timur’s clan prevail in the ensemble. All buildings differ by the rich architectural decor: carving composing mosaic, carving casting terra cotta, relief and painted majolica.
Registan is the combination of grateful majolica and sky-blue mosaic.
Gur-Emir mausoleum (XV century). Timur with his sons and grandsons was buried here. The burial vault of Gur Amir became the prototype of Taj Mahal in Agra.
As “a scientist on the throne ”, patron of science and education, Timur’s grandson Mirzo Ulugbek, went down in history. He gathered outstanding scientists. In 1420 during Ulugbek government, the observatory, which had no equal, was build. Star tables “Zidji-Gurgani” formed here have kept their scientific significance till our days. Only the foundation and a part of the astronomical instrument – sextant have remained of the observatory.
The greatest prosperity of the construction of the necropolis was in the last quarter of the XIV century, the time, when the construction of mausoleums of Timur's family members, military leaders and nobles began. Several buildings of the ensemble "Shakhi -Zinda" belong to the first half of the XV century, time of Ulugbek.
In 1997, on the decision of UNESCO the 1225-year anniversary of the outstanding scientist and scholar of the East of Imam al-Bukhari was widely celebrated. By the anniversary date in the village Khortang near Samarkand, where the great mukhaddis was buried, the memorial was restored.
Ancient Samarkand generously gives its guests the unique historical and architectural monuments, the inimitable craftsmanship of artisans, folk customs and holidays, the secrets of oriental cuisine.
Modern Samarkand is a well-planned city. There are many parks and gardens. The city became one of the most important cultural centers of Uzbekistan, it has the university, other educational establishments, scientific institutions, opera and drama theaters, and numerous museums.
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