One of the greatest cities of ancientry The Mirror of the World, the Oriental Pearl, the Face of the Earth – such names were given to Samarkand by philosophers and poets of the middle ages. This is one of the oldest cities in the world along with Rome, Athens and Babylon. It was known in the middle of the first Millennium BC. Being located between India, Persia, China and Europe, Samarkand for centuries was the central city on the Great Silk Road.
A city with a dramatic history The history of Samarkand is full of drama. In different times it was under the power of invaders. Before our era the city, that Greeks called Marakanda, was conquered by the army of Alexander the Great. In XIII century Samarkand was almost razed to the ground by the hordes of Genghis Khan; Tamerlane later revived the city and established it as a capital of his mighty empire. During the reign of Ulugbek, grandson of Tamerlane, Samarkand became a scientific and cultural capital of the East; there were built many madrasahs, here craftsmen produced the best paper in the world, delicate velvet and silk, unprecedented stained glass. During its long history this legendary city knew the times of death and decline, but it always re-arises from the ash like a phoenix, becoming even more beautiful.
Masterpiece of the world scale Almost all the monuments of the time of Tamerlane in Samarkand are preserved to present day. Today Samarkand gently keeps its main treasure – the unique ancient architectural monuments: Gur-Emir mausoleum (tomb of Tamerlane and his closest relatives), world-known Registan square, the huge mosque Bibi-Khanum, necropolis Shakhi-Zinda and others. Several historical sites are included to UNESCO World Heritage List. The age of Samarkand, its role in world history, science and culture allow to consider even some ordinary buildings and streets of this legendary city as the objects of historic importance.
One of tourist centers of Uzbekistan Samarkand is one of the most visited cities of Central Asia. There are all conditions for comfortable stay of tourists: dozens of modern hotels, luxury restaurants; there take place a number of folklore shows and cooking master-classes; famous monuments are often visited by famous people. Samarkand is connected with Tashkent with speed train "Afrosiab", which allows to get from one city to another for as few as 2 hours.