Samarkand, situated in the valley of the Zeravshan River, was on the historic Great Silk Road. Samarkand is one of the oldest cities in the world, as old as Rome and Athens. The history of Samarkand goes back over 2750 years.
Samarkand has always distinguished itself by being a real example of true hospitality of the Orient. Different nationalities have always been able to live together peacefully in Samarkand. Samarkand is generally called the “Babylon of the Orient”.
In Samarkand the way was reflected like in a huge mirror. The way went on for many generations. Rich history of the city, ups and downs, valuable finds and exhibits, old monuments allow us to claim that the first people began to live in this area many thousands of years ago.
According to an old legend, when Samarkand was founded (VIII century B.C.) a leopard descended from the Zarafshan Mountains and blessed the construction of the city. Since then, the citizens of Samarkand have associated themselves with the leopard – they are just as proud, just as brave and just as generous.
The name Samarkand comes from the Sogdian word Smr’kand, which means “stone fortress” or “stone city”. In ancient history, Samarkand was the capital of the ancient state of Sogdiana and was called Afrosiab. The ancient Greeks and in Rome the city was known as Maracanda. During the campaign of Alexander the Great, Samarkand was already a well developed city.
In the IXth century, Samarkand was part of the Samanid state and at the end of the Xth century it was a part of the Kaganat state. At the end of the X century it became a part of the Qarakhanid state. At that time in Samarkand grandiose architectural buildings were erected, unfortunately most of them were destroyed by Genghis Khan. Then Samarkand became a part of the state of Khorezm Shah, which was crushed as a result of the Mongol invasion.
When Amir Temur came to power, Samarkand was greatly changed. The city became the capital again, the restoration of the destroyed buildings began and Samarkand regained its former size. During the rule of the Timurid dynasty Samarkand developed very strongly and scientists and artists from all over the world tried to come here. In the city all the conditions were created for the development of science, education and culture.
In the XVI century after the Timurids came the Shaybanid Dynasty and the city became part of the Bukhara Khanate. Since the XVIII. Since the XVIII century Samarkand was under the rule of the Ashtarkhanids and the Bukhara Khanate was transformed into the Bukhara Emirate. Due to long internal conflicts Samarkand fell into an economic crisis. The first attempts to revive the city were made by the Mangyt Dynasty in the middle of the XVIII century.
In 1868 the city was conquered by Russian occupying forces. One year later Samarkand became the administrative centre of the educated Samarkand region. It is worth noting that Samarkand was again the capital for a short time in 1925-1930.