Although a Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 and the Arab conquest (except at the time of early Sassanids
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

, such as Shapur I
Shapur I
Shapur I or also known as Shapur I the Great was the second Sassanid King of the Second Persian Empire. The dates of his reign are commonly given as 240/42 - 270/72, but it is likely that he also reigned as co-regent prior to his father's death in 242 .-Early years:Shapur was the son of Ardashir I...

). In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 kingdom of the Göktürks.

At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came under Arab control. Under Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 rule, the legend goes, the secret of papermaking
Papermaking is the process of making paper, a substance which is used universally today for writing and packaging.In papermaking a dilute suspension of fibres in water is drained through a screen, so that a mat of randomly interwoven fibres is laid down. Water is removed from this mat of fibres by...

 was obtained from two Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 prisoners from the Battle of Talas
Battle of Talas
The Battle of Talas in 751 AD was an especially notable conflict between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty for control not only of the Syr Darya region, but even more...

 in 751, which led to the first paper mill
Paper mill
A paper mill is a factory devoted to making paper from vegetable fibres such as wood pulp, old rags and other ingredients using a Fourdrinier machine or other type of paper machine.- History :...

 in the Islamic world being founded in Samarkand. The invention then spread to the rest of the Islamic world, and from there to Europe.

From the 6th to the 13th century it grew larger and more populous than modern Samarkand and was controlled by the Western Turks
Western Turkic Khaganate
The Western Turkic Khaganate was formed as a result of the internecine wars in the beginning of the 7th century after the Göktürk Khaganate had splintered into two politiesEastern and Western.The Western Turks initially sought friendly relations with the Byzantine Empire in order to expand their...

, Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s (who converted the area to Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

), Persian Samanid
The Samani dynasty , also known as the Samanid Empire, or simply Samanids was a Persian state and empire in Central Asia and Greater Iran, named after its founder Saman Khuda, who converted to Sunni Islam despite being from Zoroastrian theocratic nobility...

s, Kara-Khanid
Kara-Khanid Khanate
The Kara-Khanid Khanate was a confederation of Turkic tribes ruled by a dynasty known in literature as the Karakhanids or Ilek Khanids, . Both dynastic names represent titles with Kara Kağan being the most important Turkish title up till the end of the dynasty.The Khanate ruled Transoxania in...

 Turks, Seljuk Turks, Kara-Khitan
Kara-Khitan Khanate
The Kara-Khitan Khanate, or Western Liao was a Khitan empire in Central Asia. The dynasty was founded by Yelü Dashi, who led the remnants of the Liao Dynasty to Central Asia after fleeing from the Jurchen conquest of their homeland in North and Northeast of modern day China...

, and Khorezmshah before the Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 under Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 sacked the city in 1220. A small part of the population survived, but Samarkand suffered at least one other Mongol sack by Khan Baraq
Baraq (Chagatai Khan)
Baraq was a khan of the Chagatai Khanate. He was the son of Yesünto'a, and a grandson of Chagatai Khan. A convert to Islam, he took the name Ghiyas-ud-din.-Background:...

 to get treasure he needed to pay an army. The town took many decades to recover from these disasters.

The Travels
The Travels of Marco Polo
Books of the Marvels of the World or Description of the World , also nicknamed Il Milione or Oriente Poliano and commonly called The Travels of Marco Polo, is a 13th-century travelogue written down by Rustichello da Pisa from stories told by Marco Polo, describing the...

of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

, where Polo records his journey along the Silk Road, describes Samarkand as a "a very large and splendid city..." Here also is related the story of a Christian church in Samarkand, which miraculously remained standing after a portion of its central supporting column
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...

 was removed.

14th century

In 1365, a revolt against Mongol control occurred in Samarkand.

In 1370, Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 the Lame decided to make Samarkand the capital of his empire, which extended from India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 to Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. During the next 35 years he built a new city and populated it with artisans and craftsmen from all of the places he had conquered. Timur gained a reputation as a patron of the arts and Samarkand grew to become the centre of the region of Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

. During this time the city had a population of about 150,000.

15th century

Between 1424 and 1429, the great astronomer Ulugh Beg
Ulugh Beg
Ulugh Bek was a Timurid ruler as well as an astronomer, mathematician and sultan. His commonly-known name is not truly a personal name, but rather a moniker, which can be loosely translated as "Great Ruler" or "Patriarch Ruler" and was the Turkic equivalent of Timur's Perso-Arabic title Amīr-e...

 built the Samarkand Observatory
Ulugh Beg Observatory
The Ulugh Beg Observatory is an observatory in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer Ulugh Beg, it is considered by scholars to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world at the time and the largest in Central Asia before it was destroyed in 1449...

. The sextant
A sextant is an instrument used to measure the angle between any two visible objects. Its primary use is to determine the angle between a celestial object and the horizon which is known as the altitude. Making this measurement is known as sighting the object, shooting the object, or taking a sight...

 was 11 metres long and once rose to the top of the surrounding three-storey structure, although it was kept underground to protect it from earthquakes. Calibrated along its length, it was the world’s largest 90-degree quadrant at the time. However, the observatory was destroyed by religious fanatics in 1449.

Modern history

In 1500 the Uzbek Turks took control of Samarkand. The Shaybanids emerged as the Uzbek leaders at or about this time.

In the second quarter of 16th century, the Shaybanids
The Shaybanids were a Persianized dynasty of Mongolian origin in central Asia. They were the patrilineal descendants of Shiban, the fifth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. Until the mid-14th century, they acknowledged the authority of the descendants of Batu Khan and Orda Khan, such as...

 moved their capital to Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

 and Samarkand went into decline. After an assault by the Persian king, Nadir Shah, the city was abandoned in the 18th century, about 1720 or a few years later.

From 1599 to 1756, Samarkand was ruled by the Ashtarkhanid dynasty of Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...


From 1756 to 1868, Samarkand was ruled by the Manghyt emirs of Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...


The city came under Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n rule after the citadel had been taken by a force under Colonel Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman
Konstantin Petrovich Von Kaufman
Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman was the first Governor-General of Russian Turkestan.-Early life:His family was Austrian in origin, but had been in the service of the Tsars for over 100 years, and had long since converted to Orthodoxy...

 in 1868. Shortly thereafter the small Russian garrison of 500 men were themselves besieged. The assault, which was led by Abdul Malik Tura, the rebellious elder son of the Bukharan Emir
Emirate of Bukhara
The Emirate of Bukhara was a Central Asian state that existed from 1785 to 1920. It occupied the land between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, known formerly as Transoxiana. Its core territory was the land along the lower Zarafshan River, and its urban centres were the ancient cities of...

, and Bek
Bey is a title for chieftain, traditionally applied to the leaders of small tribal groups. Accoding to some sources, the word "Bey" is of Turkish language In historical accounts, many Turkish, other Turkic and Persian leaders are titled Bey, Beg, Bek, Bay, Baig or Beigh. They are all the same word...

of Shahrisabz
Shakhrisabz , is a city in Uzbekistan located approximately 80 km south of Samarkand with the population of 53,000 . It is located at the altitude of 622 m. Once a major city of Central Asia, it is primarily known today as the birthplace of 14th century Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur...

, was beaten off with heavy losses. Alexander Abramov, became the first Governor of the Military Okrug
Okrug is an administrative division of some Slavic states. The word "okrug" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "district", or "region"....

 which the Russians established along the course of the Zeravshan River, with Samarkand as the administrative centre. The Russian section of the city was built after this point, largely to the west of the old city.

In 1886 the city became the capital of the newly formed Samarkand Oblast
Oblast is a type of administrative division in Slavic countries, including some countries of the former Soviet Union. The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region"...

 of Russian Turkestan
Russian Turkestan
Russian Turkestan was the western part of Turkestan within the Russian Empire , comprising the oasis region to the south of the Kazakh steppes, but not the protectorates of the Emirate of Bukhara and the Khanate of Khiva.-History:-Establishment:Although Russia had been pushing south into the...

 and grew in importance still further when the Trans-Caspian railway
Trans-Caspian railway
The Trans-Caspian Railway is a railway that follows the path of the Silk Road through much of western Central Asia. It was built by the Russian Empire during its expansion into Central Asia in the 19th century. The railway was started in 1879, following the Russian defeat of Khokand...

 reached the city in 1888. It became the capital of the Uzbek SSR
Uzbek SSR
The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic , also known as the Uzbek SSR for short, was one of the republics of the Soviet Union since its creation in 1924...

 in 1925 before being replaced by Tashkent
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

 in 1930.

Main sights

  • The Registan
    The Registan was the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand, now in Uzbekistan. The name Registan means "Sandy place" in Persian....

    , one of the most relevant examples of Islamic architecture. It consists of three separate buildings:
    • Madrasa of Ulugh Beg (1417–1420)
    • Sher-Dor Madrasah (Lions Gate) (1619-1635/36).
    • Tilya-Kori Madrasah (1647-1659/60).
  • Bibi-Khanym Mosque
    Bibi-Khanym Mosque
    Bibi-Khanym Mosque is a famous historical Friday mosque in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, whose name comes from the wife of 14th-century ruler, Amir Timur.-Features:...

  • Gur-e Amir
    Gur-e Amir
    The Gūr-e Amīr or Guri Amir is a mausoleum of the Asian conqueror Tamerlane in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. It occupies an important place in the history of Persian Architecture as the precursor and model for later great Mughal architecture tombs, including Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in...

     Mausoleum (1404)
  • Observatory of Ulugh Beg (1428–1429)
  • Shah-i-Zinda
    Shah-i-Zinda is a necropolis in the north-eastern part of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.The Shah-i-Zinda Ensemble includes mausoleums and other ritual buildings of 9-14th and 19th centuries. The name Shah-i-Zinda is connected with the legend that Kusam ibn Abbas, the cousin of the prophet Muhammad was...

  • Historical site of Afrasiyab
    Afrasiyab (Samarkand)
    Afrasiyab is an ancient site of northern Samarkand, Uzbekistan which was occupied from c 500 BC to 1220 AD. Today it is a hilly grass mound located near the Bibi Khanaum Mosque....

     (13th-7th centuries BC)


Samarkand features a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 BSk) with hot, dry summers and relatively wet, cool winters. July and August are the hottest months of the year with temperatures reaching, and exceeding, 40 °C (104 °F). Most of the sparse precipitation is received from December through April.

Notable people

  • Amoghavajra
    Amoghavajra was a prolific translator who became one of the most politically powerful Buddhist monks in Chinese history, acknowledged as one of the eight patriarchs of the doctrine in Shingon lineages.-Life:Born in Samarkand of an Indian father and Sogdian mother, he went...

    , an 8th century Buddhist monk who translated Vajrayana
    Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

     scripture, became a powerful figure in the Tang court, and is remembered as one of the three founders of Chinese esoteric Buddhism.
  • Muhammad Abu Mansur al-Maturidi
    In Islam, a Maturidi is one who follows Abu Mansur Al Maturidi's theology, which is a close variant of the Ash'ari theology . The Maturidis, Ash'aris and Atharis are all part of Sunni Islam, which makes up the overwhelming majority of Muslims...

  • Islam Karimov, 1st President of Uzbekistan.
  • Nizami Aruzi Samarqandi, poet and writer of the 12th century
  • Suzani Samarqandi
    Suzani Samarqandi
    Shams al-Din Muhammad b. *Ali was a Persian poet born in Samarqand or its vicinity. He is more often known by his name, Suzani or "needle maker". According to one theory, the name is said to have arisen because of his violent passion for a needle-maker's apprentice under whose influence he...

    , poet of the 12th century
  • Najib ad-Din-e-Samarqandi, scholar of the 13th century
  • Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī, scholar
  • Khwaja Abid Siddiqi and Nawab Qaziuddin Siddiqi, Father and grandfather of Mir Qamaruddin Siddiqi Asaf Jah I who ruled Hyderabad Deccan ( INDIA ) from 1724 to 1951 by his seven generations.


  • Chapters 37 and 38 of Jin Yong's Wuxia
    Wuxia is a broad genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists. Although wuxia is traditionally a form of literature, its popularity has caused it to spread to diverse art forms like Chinese opera, manhua , films, television series, and video games...

    novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes
    The Legend of the Condor Heroes
    The Legend of Condor Heroes is a wuxia novel by Jin Yong, and the first part of the Condor Trilogy. It was first serialized between January 1, 1957 and May 19, 1959 in Hong Kong Commercial Daily...

    briefly portray the Mongolian
    Mongol Empire
    The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

     siege of Samarkand in March 1220.
  • Samarkand
    Samarkand (novel)
    Samarkand is a 1988 historical novel by the French-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf. The story is set in Central Asia in the 11th century, and revolves around the mystic and poet Omar Khayyám, and a love affair he has with a female poet at he court of Samarkand...

    is the title of a 1988 novel by Amin Maalouf
    Amin Maalouf
    Amin Maalouf , born 25 February 1949 in Beirut, is a Lebanese-born French author. Although his native language is Arabic, he writes in French, and his works have been translated into many languages. He received the Prix Goncourt in 1993 for his novel The Rock of Tanios...

    , about Omar Khayyám
    Omar Khayyám
    Omar Khayyám was aPersian polymath: philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, climatology and theology....

    's life.
  • The Amulet of Samarkand
    The Amulet of Samarkand
    The Amulet of Samarkand is the first book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy written by Jonathan Stroud. It is well known for its liberal use of footnotes to voice the title character's sarcastic comments, as well as story background.-Plot introduction:...

    is the first book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy
    Bartimaeus Trilogy
    Bartimaeus is a fantasy series by Jonathan Stroud consisting of a trilogy published from 2003 to 2005 and a prequel novel published in 2010. The titular character, Bartimaeus, is a five-thousand-year-old djinni, a spirit of approximately mid-level power...

     written by Jonathan Stroud
    Jonathan Stroud
    Jonathan Anthony Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and young adults.-Biography:Born in 1970 in Bedford, England, Stroud began to write stories at a very young age. He grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories...

  • The Road to Samarcand
    The Road to Samarcand
    The Road to Samarcand is a novel by English author Patrick O'Brian, published in 1954 and set in Asia during the 1930s. Magazine Publisher's Weekly writes about the novel: "Six decades later, O'Brian's richly told adventure saga, with its muscular prose, supple dialogue and engaging characters,...

    is one of Patrick O'Brian
    Patrick O'Brian
    Patrick O'Brian, CBE , born Richard Patrick Russ, was an English novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centred on the friendship of English Naval Captain Jack Aubrey and the Irish–Catalan physician Stephen...

    's early novels (1954) about an American teenage boy, the son of recently deceased missionary parents, who travels from China with a small party on the Silk Road en route to the West.
  • In Corto Maltese
    Corto Maltese
    Corto Maltese is a comics series featuring an eponymous character, a complex sailor-adventurer. It was created by Italian comic book creator Hugo Pratt in 1967...

    graphical novels by Hugo Pratt
    Hugo Pratt
    Hugo Eugenio Pratt was an Italian comic book creator who was known for combining strong storytelling with extensive historical research on works such as Corto Maltese...

     one episode is titled "The Golden House of Samarkand"
  • The fictional city of Zanarkand in the Final Fantasy
    Final Fantasy
    is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and is developed and owned by Square Enix . The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science-fantasy role-playing video games , but includes motion pictures, anime, printed media, and other merchandise...

     series, used Samarkand as inspiration.
  • Samarkand is the name of a continent in the Fable
    Fable (video game series)
    Fable is a series of action role-playing video games for Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows, and Mac OS X platforms. The series is developed by Lionhead Studios and is published by Microsoft Studios.-Setting:...

     fictional universe, though it is more based on Africa and the Orient than Central Asia.
  • For part of the history espoused in Clive Barker
    Clive Barker
    Clive Barker is an English author, film director and visual artist best known for his work in both fantasy and horror fiction. Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short stories which established him as a leading young horror writer...

    's Galilee (novel), the city of Samarkand is held as a shining light of humanity, and one of the characters longs to go there.
  • 'Trębacz z Samarkandy' (The Trumpeter of Samarkand) a short story by Ksawery Pruszyński set during the Second World War, inspired by a Polish legend.
  • In The Venetian Betrayal, Samarkand was the world's most powerful city and the "cradle of civilization".
  • The objective of the fourth mission in the Ghengis Khan campaign of the video game Age of Empires 2 is to destroy the city of Samarkand.
  • Lord of Samarcand is a work of historical fiction by Robert E. Howard
    Robert E. Howard
    Robert Ervin Howard was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. Best known for his character Conan the Barbarian, he is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre....


Poetry, drama and film

  • Samarkand can appear as an archetype of romantic exoticism, notably in the work by James Elroy Flecker
    James Elroy Flecker
    James Elroy Flecker was an English poet, novelist and playwright. As a poet he was most influenced by the Parnassian poets.-Biography:...

    : The Golden Journey to Samarkand (1913).
  • In Islamic literature and discussions, Samarkand has taken on a semi-mythological status and is often cited as an ideal of Islamic philosophy and society, a place of justice, fairness, and righteous moderation.
  • Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka
    Wole Soyinka
    Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, where he was recognised as a man "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence", and became the first African in Africa and...

    , winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature
    Nobel Prize in Literature
    Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

    , explores the metaphysical significance of the marketplace in a volume of poetry entitled Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known, 2002.
  • Samarkand has a large featuring in the originally Russian film Day Watch
    Day Watch
    Day Watch , is a 2006 Russian dark fantasy action film marketed as "the first film of the year", opened in theatres across Russia on January 1, 2006, the U.S. on June 1, 2007 and the UK on October 5, 2007. It is a sequel to the 2004 film Night Watch, featuring the same cast...

    , originally written by Sergei Lukyanenko as part of a Trilogy. Samarkand is the place where the fictional battle for the "Chalk of fate" is experienced.
  • The American musical "Once Upon A Mattress" features a character known as the Nightingale of Samarkand. The bird supposedly sings people to sleep.


  • Ibn Battuta
    Ibn Battuta
    Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta , or simply Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad–Din , was a Muslim Moroccan Berber explorer, known for his extensive travels published in the Rihla...

    , the Muslim 14th century traveler, spent time in Samarkand in the 1330s
  • Murder in Samarkand
    Murder in Samarkand
    Murder in Samarkand is a non-fiction book by British activist and former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. The book forms an account of Murray's controversial ambassadorship at the UK embassy in Tashkent in 2002–04...

    by Craig Murray
    Craig Murray
    Craig John Murray is a British political activist, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and former Rector of the University of Dundee....

     is a book about the UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan's experiences in this role, until he resigned over human rights abuses in the country in October 2004.
  • In her 2010 memoir The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them Elif Batuman
    Elif Batuman
    Elif Batuman is an American author, academic, and journalist.She won a 2010 Whiting Writers' Award.-Life:Born in New York to Turkish parents, she grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from Harvard College, and received her doctorate in comparative literature from Stanford University, where she...

     writes three chapters about her experiences studying the Uzbek language
    Uzbek language
    Uzbek is a Turkic language and the official language of Uzbekistan. It has about 25.5 million native speakers, and it is spoken by the Uzbeks in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia...

     as a graduate exchange student in Samarkand.


  • In 1972, Swedish composer Thorstein Bergman wrote "Om du någonsin kommer fram till Samarkand" ("If you ever reach Samarkand") made notable by Swedish singer Lill Lindfors
    Lill Lindfors
    Lillemor "Lill" Lindfors is a Finland-Swedish/Swedish singer. Born in Helsinki, Finland she has been performing in Scandinavia with minor and major success since the 1960s. She debuted as a revue actress in Uddevalla in 1960 and the following year as a recording artist...

     in 1978.
  • In 1977, the Italian singer and composer Roberto Vecchioni
    Roberto Vecchioni
    Roberto Vecchioni is an Italian singer-songwriter and writer.-Biography:Vecchioni was born in Carate Brianza, province of Milan, to a family of Neapolitan origin. In 1968 he graduated in Classical Literature at the Università Cattolica of Milan, where he remained for two years as assistant...

     issued an LP titled Samarcanda
    Samarcanda (album)
    Samarcanda is an album by Italian singer-songwriter Roberto Vecchioni, released in 1977. The work was highly successful, mostly thanks to the title track, and established him as one of the most popular singer-songwriters in Italy....

  • In 2004, violinist Lucia Micarelli
    Lucia Micarelli
    Lucia Micarelli is an American violinist and actress best known for her collaborations with Josh Groban and classic rock band Jethro Tull, and her role as Annie in Treme.-Early Life:...

     released the album Music from a Farther Room, which includes the song "Samarkand".
  • In 2008, the Norwegian singer and musician Odd Nordstoga
    Odd Nordstoga
    Odd Nordstoga is a musician, actor and editor from Vinje in Telemark, Norway. In 2004, he went from relative obscurity to becoming the country's biggest selling recording artist, with the phenomenal success of his first solo album proper, "Luring"...

     released the album Pilegrim, which includes the song "I byen Samarkand" ("In the city of Samarkhand").
  • In 2011, the Australian/British string quartet BOND
    Bond (band)
    Bond is an Australian/British string quartet that specialises in classical crossover music...

     released the album Play
    Play (Bond album)
    In an interview of Tania Davis by the Birmingham Mail, Davis revealed that they are currently working on their next studio album. She also noted that the next album will have Gypsy, Folk and Eastern European influences...

     featuring the recording "Road to Samarkand".
  • The Uzbek group Yalla made a song in Russian called "The Blue Domes of Samarkand".

Sister cities

Nishapur, Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

Balkh , was an ancient city and centre of Zoroastrianism in what is now northern Afghanistan. Today it is a small town in the province of Balkh, about 20 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, and some south of the Amu Darya. It was one of the major cities of Khorasan...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

Mary, Turkmenistan
Mary is the capital city of Mary Province in Turkmenistan. Former names include Merv, Meru and Margiana. It is located at . The city is an oasis in the Karakum Desert, located on the Murghab river. In 2009, Mary had a population of 123,000 , up from 92,000 in the 1989 census.-History:The ancient...

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 Cuzco, Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

, Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

Lviv is a city in western Ukraine. The city is regarded as one of the main cultural centres of today's Ukraine and historically has also been a major Polish and Jewish cultural center, as Poles and Jews were the two main ethnicities of the city until the outbreak of World War II and the following...

, Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

Kairouan , also known as Kirwan or al-Qayrawan , is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia. Referred to as the Islamic Cultural Capital, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was founded by the Arabs around 670...

, Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

, Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

Khujand , also transliterated as Khudzhand, , formerly Khodjend or Khodzhent until 1936 and Leninabad until 1991, is the second-largest city of Tajikistan. It is situated on the Syr Darya River at the mouth of the Fergana Valley...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 Banda Aceh
Banda Aceh
Banda Aceh is the provincial capital and largest city in the province of Aceh, Indonesia, located on the island of Sumatra, with an elevation of 35 meters. The city regency covers an area of 64 square kilometres and according to the 2000 census had a population of 219,070 people...

, Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

See also

  • Samarkand Airport
    Samarkand Airport
    Samarkand International Airport is an airport of entry in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.-Airlines and destinations:...

  • Semerkand a monthly religious magazine published in Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    , named after this city because Samarkand has long been a major centre for Islamic scholars.

External links

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