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History of Samarkand

Ancient Samarkand - the pearl of the East
      source: veresh.ru

Samarkand is attributed to many different and beautiful epithets. But the most philosophical of them - is Mirror of the World. And indeed, in its history it had seen a lot: the greatness of the capital of one of the largest empires the world, and a collapse that devastated the city. All this is Samarkand.
The exact age of this great city can not be established, but many sources point to 742 BC One of the first references were found in the sacred book of Zoroastrians, the Avesta. There is a place called Sughd (Sogdiana), and it is located in the valley Zarafshan (from Persian gold bearing ").
In the VI century BC city with the adjoining areas was conquered by the famous Persian king Cyrus. A hundred years later, here in pursuit of the Persian king Darius, came the army of Alexander of Macedon. Crossing the river Amudatiya, the troops of commander moved into a valley Politimeta (the Greek name Zarafshan) to Marakanda. These place names have become known worldwide thanks to Arrian, Strabon and Quintus Curtius Rufus, the chroniclers and biographers of Macedon.
At the same time here begins the largest rebellion against the Macedonian led by sogdians Spitamenes. Over 2 years his troops were engaged in guerrilla raids on the army of Alexander. But in the end the rebels were betrayed, the rebel leader was killed, and Samarkand was destroyed as a warning to others.
After Alexander's death, his empire splits into three parts. Samarkand goes to Seleucus - one of the best generals of the Greek-Macedonian army. Later, the city becomes part of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom. Then here comes the Chinese dynasty Guyshuan created on the spot Sogda Kushan kingdom. The reason for this change of rulers of Samarkand is its strategic location - the city is located at the crossroads of many trade routes, including the Great Silk Road.
In the middle of V century Samarkand came under the patronage of the Turkic Kaganate, retaining its independence, but giving control over trade routes. This period is characterized by relative stability and gradual development of the infrastructure of the city.
However, in 712 the city was besieged by the Arabs. Within a month it was fired by projectile guns, destroying buildings and walls. The invaders entered the city through the holes in the fortress wall, and after prolonged fighting on the streets still took Samarkand. The Arabs, by introducing a new religion, destroyed all the cultural monuments of Samarkand, written sources and all animal sculptures adorning the city. That is why, it is known very little on the history of Samarkand, before the arrival of the Arabs, only because of archaeological finds and references in written sources from other countries and cities.
But during the period of Arab rule there was constantly rising rebellions, which ended only after the transfer of power to the local nobility. This marks a new cultural revival, the city reached a half-million population, and became a haven for scholars and Sufis of the East.
In 1220 Samarkand was conquered and destroyed by the army of Genghis Khan. The population of the city was partially killed, partly used for military purposes of the Mongols, and 30,000 artisans were deported to Mongolia. After some time the city revived.
The golden era in the history of Samarkand begins with the coming to power of Tamerlane, who chose it as the capital of his empire in 1370. According to the plan of Timur the beauty and majesty of Samarkand were to outshine all the capitals of the world. The great commander collected from around the world masters so that they would work in the capital. In this period there were built Gur Emir, Bibi Khanum, Shokhi-Zinda, which to this day affect with its beauty.
After the death of Tamerlane, the ruler of Samarkand was his 15-year-old grandson Mirzo Ulugbek, who for 40 years of his reign, has transformed the city into a major research center. Under the motto "The pursuit of knowledge - the duty of every Muslim" there were built Ulugbek University and Observatory, for which there was not equal in the world for several centuries.
After the death of Ulugbek the ruler of the city for short time was another scientist Zakhiriddin Bobur, and when his rule completed, there began a gradual decline of the city, and in the XVI century, it has lost the status of the capital.
The new round of urban development occurs when the ruler of Samarkand becomes Yalangtush Bahadur, from 1612 to 1656. It was he who completed the complex in Registan Square, built Tilla-Kori madrasah and Sherdor.
At the end of XVII century because of troubled times people begin to leave the city. The city empties and wild animals begin to roam in the streets. And only in 70-ies of XVIII century, people start returning to the city to restore it.
In May 1868 the troops of the Russian Empire capture Samarkand and make it the center of Zeravshan County, and later of Samarkand region as well. They pave the railroad and the city gets a new impetus to economic development.
After the October Revolution in Russia, the city becomes the part of the Turkestan ASSR, and in the years 1924-1930 is the capital of the Uzbek SSR. In 1938, Samarkand has become the center of the homonymous province.
To this day, Samarkand is one of the largest cities in Uzbekistan and throughout the Central Asia. Now it is a city-museum aged 2750 years. His mosques and madrassas have witnessed the rise and decline of several empires, but they continue to silently rise above the everyday bustle. Such is Samarkand – the Mirror of the World.