HISTORIANS AREN’T EVEN SURE how old Samarkand is, but it may have been there 300 years when Alexander The Great took it from its Persian-Sogdian rulers.
Genghis Khan left little evidence of the Turkic and Persian cities which followed, but the city came into its own under two of his descendants, and became one of the grandest cities of the silk roads, and capital of one of the greatest empires ever.
In the 1300s, despite a leg unjury from battle, rose a man who conquered everything between Delhi, Baghdad, Tblisi and Turkey: Timur, known in the west as Timurlane, if at all.
Much of the cultural legacy seen in this glittering jewel of the steppe is due to his grandson, Ulugh Beg, an astronomer, scholar as well as great Khan.
Stories of these glorious eastern cities were dismissed as fantasy by European minds. Samarkand shows the reality.