It rises in the northern part of the city. In the rainy season it is flooded with rain and covered with a blanket of snow. The winds roam here and remind us of times gone by with their song – Mystery of the Hill Afrasiab. But in early spring, the hill is covered with a carpet of emerald green grass and bright red poppies.
Long ago, in ancient times, the hill was given a noble and sonorous name – Afrasiab. Numerous tourists and guests of the ancient city are always interested in the origin of the hill’s name. The tour guides answer this question readily and the locals with a natural politeness. And here their story is confirmed by the pages of the imperishable history of Samarkand.
The name of this hill goes back to the legendary king of Turan – Afrasiab – in very ancient times. He was mentioned in the remarkable poem “Shahname” – “Book about Kings” – by the famous poet of the East Firdausi.
Afrasiab was the ruler of the vast state of Turan, whose capital was one of the most beautiful cities, later called Samarkand. This ancient city, which suffered from frequent wars and natural disasters (archaeologists call it the settlement of Afrasiab), was hidden under the mystery of the hill for many centuries. Thanks to chroniclers, historians and the meticulous research of archaeologists, we have been able to unravel the mystery of the hill of Samarkand called Afrasiab. Now that we know that this name originally belonged to the legendary ruler of Turan, we should tell about him and his time.
The territory of Turan covered almost all of modern Central Asia and southern Kazakhstan. While Afrasiab ruled the vast country, he was aware of the threat posed by the powerful neighbouring country of Iran, whose borders stretched from the left bank of the Amu Darya to the Persian Gulf. In modern times, the name of this country has survived, but its area has shrunk.
But let us return to our hero. Even in his younger years, Afrasiab proved to be a fearless warrior. When his father declared war on Iran, Afrasiab was put in charge of the army of Turan. The warriors crossed the Amudarya River and headed west to the Caspian Sea in picturesque Dakhistan. According to legend, a fierce battle took place here. Afrasiab won the battle between the two armies and in a personal duel with the leader of the Iranians, Novzer: the defeated leader was given life, but in the next battle he was killed. Encouraged by their victory, Turan’s warriors charged deep into the enemy’s territory.
It was a time when, due to constant rivalry, one Shah after another came to the throne of Iran until a gifted, strong-willed leader of the army of the Iranians, the charming Rustam, emerged. He had already fought against the Turanians. Thanks to his deeds, he became a legendary hero. Rustam was the only one who could resist Afrasiab’s attacks. More than once they had to meet on the battlefield. And these ongoing battles on an equal footing served as the occasion for a truce. On his return from the campaign, Afrasiab advises his retainer, the rich and powerful emir: “It is time to forget the old grudges. We have no reason for enmity.
The Emir then turned to the Shah of Iran, Qai-Kavus, with an offer of peace on condition that the Turanians return the conquered territories. Such a treaty was immediately signed and sealed.
But in the name of truth it must be said that the cronies of the lords of Turan and Iran were busy scheming between the two states and sowing enmity and hatred, which was the cause of new wars. And late in life Afrasiab had a vivid dream as if he were in the desert, where hordes of serpents crawled towards him, flocks of eagles flew and troops of horsemen in black clothes fled from his army. Thrilled by this dream, he immediately called an interpreter friend for such visions. After some hesitation, he advised his king not to wage war against Iran, for in that case the entire army of Turan might be destroyed and Afrasiab himself would suffer an ignominious death. Afrasiab listened to the sage’s opinion and in the following days sent the ambassador to Iran and provided him with innumerable gifts. After some time, after laborious negotiations, the ambassador was sent to Afrasiab with a return visit of thanks. And the son of the King of Iran – the handsome Siyavush – came to Afrasiab to confirm his high trust. This is how Ferdowsi describes the scene in the “Shahnama”.
Afrasiab, the head of the kingdom, heard that Siyavush had arrived.
In the square, he ran on foot to the one for whom his soul was waiting.
The prince dismounted when he suddenly saw the king of Turan on foot.
He kissed the other’s eyes, embraced him and kissed him again.
He said to Afrasiab: “We see that the wickedness of the earth has fallen asleep.
There will be no more wars, and the deer and leopards will come to the watering hole by the common way.
We were in constant fear; war was threatening the two neighbouring countries,
There was no peace in the souls of the people, but you came and gave peace to the land.”
The long and intimate friendship between Afrasiab and Siyavush was sealed when Siyavush married Afrasiab’s daughter, the beautiful Farangis.
And if you, dear reader, want to know more interesting and exciting details of the life of the legendary Afrasiab, take a look at the book of the history of our country, its pages will answer all your questions. The main thing is that you already know that the capital of Turan was located exactly in the area of Samarkand, where an ancient settlement with a mighty wall, rectangular towers and a deep ditch lurked under the mysterious hill for centuries. Archaeologists have helped us determine the date of origin of this city – more than 2500 years.
This is the brief history of the great hill that rises in the northern part of the glorious city of Samarkand.