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Samarkand (Samarqand or Самарқанд in Uzbek) (population 400,000) is a city in Uzbekistan, capital of the Samarkand region (Samarqand Wiloyati).

Bibi-Khanym Mosque


The city of Samarkand was founded prior to the 3rd millennium BCE.

As a city on the trade routes (silk road) between China and the Middle East, Samarkand was captured by Alexander the Great in 329 BC (see Afrasiab, Sogdiana).

Under Arab rule (since the 7th century CE), the city flourished as a trade center until the devastation of the city by the Mongols led by Genghis Khan (1220).

Timur (Tamerlane) (1336 - 1405) was born at Kesh situated some 50 miles south of Samarkand. Samarkand became the capital of his empire, which extended from India to Turkey.

Ulugh Beg, grandson of Timur was made the shah's governor in Samarkand in 1409.

In 1868, the city came under Russian rule, and it became the capital of the Uzbek SSR in 1925 before being replaced by Tashkent.