The Land of Tajiks
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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.

Old town
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.

old town

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 Genghis Khan.
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   .

In 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 claim.      
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