Land of Tajiks
Bokhara Dushanbe Kashgar Khiva Xojand Merv Panjakent Shahrisabz
Samarqand (Samarkand) is the major cultural and industrial centre
of Tajik people. Samarqand is the biggest Tajik
city. The city is situated in the blossoming Zerafshan
Valley. From the northeast, the valley is dominated by the
lofty mountain range, its peaks capped with eternal snow .
A majestic and beautiful city, Samarkand is the city of legends.
When Alexander the Great first time saw Samarkand,
he exclaimed “ I heard that the city was beautiful but never
thought that it could be so beautiful and majestic”. The turquoise
domes of Samarkand is among the world’s most evocative architectural
symbols. The most magnificent landmark in this old city is Registan
Square- a traditional center of the city.Population (1994) 368,000.
Samarkand is part of a region that historically was known
as Sogdia, and whose ethnically Iranian (Tajik) merchants
for centuries seem to have played a key role in the commerce
along the Silk Road.
The site of Samarqand was settled about 2000 BC. Later
known as Maracanda, the city was the capital of Sogdiana,
an ancient Tajik (Iranian) province, and was conquered by Alexander
the Great in 329 BC. It subsequently grew as a trade center
on the route between China and the Mediterranean region.
In the early 8th century AD , it was conquered by the Arabs
and soon became an important center of Muslim culture. In 1220
Samarqand was almost completely destroyed by the Mongol ruler
The Persian chronicler Juvaini's encomium to Samarkand and other Central Asian cities reflects his dismay at the destruction wrought by the Mongols when Chingis Khan invaded the area in 1220.
Tamerlane made it the capital of his empire in 1369. The empire declined in the15th century. In 1784 it was conquered by the emirate of Bukhoro. The city was taken by Russia in 1868 and once again began to assume importance .
October 1924, the Soviet policy of cutting across existing
ethnic and linguistic lines in the region to create Uzbekistan
and the other new republics also sowed tension and strife among
the Central Asian groups that inhabited the region. In particular,
the territory of Uzbekistan was drawn to include the two main Tajik
cultural centers, Bukhara and Samarqand, as well as parts
of the Fergana Valley to which other ethnic groups could lay