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Nurata region

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Phone: (998 71) 237 45 33,
(998 71) 237 45 34   
Fax: (998 71) 237 51 10
E-mail: gts-travel@sarkor.uz


"All I heard about the beauty of marakanda is true, except fact, that it was more beautiful than I could imagine" Alexander the Great (329 B.C.)

None of the words evokes memories about Great Silk Road as Samarkand. To most people it is a fairy tale like Atlantis. Many western poets and writers wrote about Samarkand. You can see minarets and blue domes of ancient architectural monuments from plane board. If you drive from Tashkent to Samarkand you can see "Tamerlane Gates", natural gates formed by mountain rocks. Samarkand is situated at an oasis and is washed by waters of Zarafshan River (Kyzylkum desert), which flows between two ranges of mountains.

The ancient name of Samarkand is Marakanda (in Greek). Founded in the 5th B.C. the city was surrounded with fortifications and it was the capital of ancient Sogdiana Empire. Alexander the Great conquered it in 329 B.C.

According to different sources, Samarkand was named as Afrasiab at first. The first mosque in Samarkand was built in the western part near the remains of Afrasiab city. The city was part of Khurasan (with the center in Marv), and in the 9th century AD it was part of Samanids Empire (with its center in Bukhara). Samarkand then remained as the largest city of Transoksianiya with big bazaars, blocks of inhabited areas, bathhouses and caravan-sarays.

At the end of the 10th century AD Samarkand was seized by Karahanids (Turks). Nowadays 404,000 people reside in Samarkand. The city is situated at an altitude of 710 meters above sea level in Zarafshan river valley (the third big river in Uzbekistan after Amudarya and Syrdarya). Samarkand is the second big city in Uzbekistan after Tashkent.

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