Samarkand is one of the most ancient cities of the world. It is situated deep in Central Asian interfluves (39°40΄N 67°00´ E), in the oasis of the Zarafshan River. This is the only large city of the world that history’s three greatest generals: Alexander the Great, Chingiz-khan and Temur personally fought to make it their own. The name of the city makes it relative to the ancient Israeli capital Samaria (9th–1st centuries B.C.) and the capital of Abbasid Caliphate Samarra (836-892). In Sanskrit language “Samara”, as well as “hamar” in Persian, mean “a meeting place”. In the past Samarkand might have been a special place where priests, heads and chiefs of the local tribes gathered for performing sacred rituals, taking decisions on peace and war. Later the town was founded and got that name.
When Marko Polo travelled there in the 13th century, the age of the town was already over 2000 years. The destiny of many outstanding figures of culture was connected with Samarkand: Omar Hayam and Mirzo Ulugbek, Khadja Ahrar and Abdurrahman Djami, Alisher Navoiy and Zahir ad-Din Babur. Samarkand was the first capital of the state of Samanids and in the 11th-13th centuries it was the capital of Western Qarakhanids. Under Amir Temur Samarkand was honored to be the capital of a world kingdom, and under his grandson Ulugbek, it was a site for astronomical observatory, known around the world. In 1924-1930 Samarkand was the capital of Uzbek Republic in the structure of the USSR. Due to its architectural masterpieces “the town of blue domes” entered in UNESCO’s list of the World Heritage.