The development of this urban center continued apace under Tamerlane's grandson Ulughbeg, who ruled the city for much of the first half of the fifteenth century until he was assassinated in 1449. major aqueducts into the city can be seen on the left. } margin: auto; A vague idea that one day they might traipse halfway across the world to lay eyes on this masterpiece of ancient architecture. The lapis and turquoise colored Registan of Samarkand historic center is synonymous with the Silk Road. Poets and writers have immortalized Samarkand’s flesh in literature, and with its rich history, labyrinthine streets and Islamic architecture, it’s easy to see why this city has seduced travellers over the centuries. This brought great wealth to the city, and Samarkand prospered from the trade that passed through its gates. The Silk Road city of Samarkand has long lured travellers and conquerors in search of wealth and the exotic in Central Asia. located on Afrasiab, seen here as a dusty mound in the distance as one looks west toward the Researchers at the Institute of Archaeology of Samarkand date the city's founding to the 8th–7th centuries BCE. The Zerafshan is fed by the snow melt from mountains to the south and east (shown here from the air) and flows into the Oxus (Amu Darya). photographs of the actual paintings in the Afrasiab Museum are modern artists' The historic town of Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world's cultures. Located at the geographical heart between Changan in China and the eastern fringes of Europe, Samarkand’s position on the Silk Road made it a hub of trade, science, technology and culture. In fact there was a Christian Nestorian bishopric in Samarkand as early as the sixth century. Osh was the main intermediate trade point whence caravans went further to Kashgar across the Torugart Pass. Trade on the Silk Road played a big part in the growth of the ancient cultures of China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, India, and Rome, and helped to make the beginning of today's world. It was one of the easternmost administrative centers for Achaemenid Persia and had a citadel and strong fortifications. Alexander's conquests introduced into Central Asia Classical Greek culture; at least for a time the Greek models were followed closely by the local artisans. Named after the trade which sprang up in response to the demand for Chinese silk, its origins can be traced back over 3000 years. text-align: center; Aristocratic residences dating to between the 6th and 8th centuries AD have been excavated at Samarkand, and attest to the city’s wealth during that period of time. palace of the pre-Muslim Sogdian rulers. then the paradise of this world is Samarkand. From Central Asia and further to China the famous “Heavenly racers” (Fergana horses), carpets, linen and woolen fabrics, semiprecious stones were exported. A group of Samanid memorial stones can be seen today on a platform just in back of the Registan. Plov is the signature dish of Uzbekistan, and varies from region to region. As we know from the authors of historic accounts, its surroundings also provided pastureland, something that is evident even today if we look south from the highlands to the east of the city. China also received Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism (from India) via the route. Soghdian letters dating from 313-314 CE have been discovered there; they provide evidence about a network of Soghdian merchants in various places in China, whose commercial interests included precious metals, spices and cloth. The first three, on the Amid the ostensibly stark ruins of Panjikent are houses whose walls were decorated with murals portraying a religious ceremonies, scenes from the famous Persian epics and much more evidence of the cosmopolitan cultural connections of the last Sogdian state. The Silk Road (or Silk Route) is one of the oldest routes of international trade in the world. Samarkand was in a decline during the Kushan period, and only experienced a revival many centuries later. Wools, gold, and silver went east. modern city. #gallery-1 img { In time, trade routes carried the secret west to replace parchment and papyrus. width: 50%; The Silk Road is one of the world’s most famous and evocative routes. The Silk Road was never one “road”, rather a connection of trade routes. The last refuge of the Sogdians was a fortress upstream at Mt. 4. Sogdian colonies were established all along the trade routes and Sogdian letters have been discovered from 313-314 AD, providing evidence about a network of merchants from Samarkand, reaching various places as far as China, in order to trade precious metals, spices and cloth. Another painting shows a /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */. illustrated with many photos, see Mark Dickens'. During the Kushan era the city declined though; it did not really revive until the fifth century CE. The Travels of Marco Polo, where Polo records his journey along the Silk Road, describes Samarkand as “a very large and splendid city…” The Silk Road peaks here. Samarkand Non is a local flatbread known for its inimitable taste and features. Photo Gallery Set out for an immersive two-week adventure through the fascinating collage of Central Asia. fortified area of the city provides a vivid impression of a very substantial town. HISTORY OF THE HEART OF THE SILK ROAD Samarkand’s location in the Zerafstan River valley, at the intersection of the Silk Road trade routes to Persia, China and India has led to it seeing both destruction by foreign invaders and triumphant revival. There is no direct evidence of when it was founded. Highly appreciated in Ancient China were Parthian tapestries and carpets. float: left; 5. Central Asia exported camels which were very appreciated in China, military equipment, gold and silver, semi-precious stones and glass items. This was once the commercial center of the city and the beating heart of Silk Road trade. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Downstream is Bukhara. murals, whose fragments shown here seem to illustrate a wedding procession, attended by Samarkand is one of the oldest and most important cities amongst the many in the historic region of Central Asia known as Transoxiana. Ulughbeg is well known for his scientific investigations, supported by the Observatory he built on the hills to the east of Afrasiab and the madrasa (school) he erected on the Registan. Firm Arab control in the region was not established before the middle of the eighth century (CE), and a century after that, Samarkand came under the control first of the Samanid and then the Karakhanid states. Samarkand, located in present-day Uzbekistan, is perhaps the oldest extant city in Central Asia. The Silk Road did not just carry silk. already available on Silk Road Seattle. --quoted by 'Ata-Malik Juvaini (Boyle transl.). Known by Arab conquerors as Umm-al-belad, the ‘mother of cities’, Balkh lay on the major Silk Road routes that ran between east and west. Trade was particularly robust during the Tang dynasty, as well as the later Mongol empire, when Genghis Khan and his successors unified most of Asia under one rule. Timur had a great interest in trade and wanted to reactive and restore the Silk Road. Those who ruled Samarkand developed a complex network of irrigation channels, as shown in this map. If it is said that a paradise is to be seen in this world, First called the Silk Road in the 19th century, the 4,500-kilometer (2,800 miles) route is actually a web of caravan tracks which actively funneled trade goods between Chang'an (now the present-day city of Xi'an), China in the East and Rome, Italy in the West at least between the … 2. Xuanzang's biographer reports that during the monk's visit in 631, Zoroastrian priests chased two of his Buddhist followers. Damaged during a rebellion which Alexander had to suppress, the city revived; in the third and second centuries BCE, it contained some very impressive buildings. Many of the Central Asian cities quickly recovered from the Mongol invasion. From legendary Tashkent and Samarkand in Uzbekistan to historic Bishkek and the spectacular Chon-Kemin Valley in Kyrgyzstan, journey to the fabled cities that once bustled with caravans seeking respite along the world’s most famous trade route, the Silk Road. Such evidence points clearly to the importance of Zoroastrianism, which we know was widespread especially in areas which had been under Persian control. They were written in Sogdian — a language that nobody in the modern world had ever seen before — and addressed to Samarkand. It’s usually prepared for the most important events, and is a rice dish made with meat, spices and vegetables. P.D. While the phrase "Silk Road" conjures up an image of a single road traversing across the Eurasian continent, historically the Silk Road was actually a network of multiple trade routes.. On land, the routes were divided into the northern route and the southern route.Starting in the capital city Chang'an (now Xi'an), the northern route traveled northwest through the Shaanxi … During the 7th century AD, the Silk Road was reopened by China’s Tang Dynasty. China. The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir … Although Xuanzang claimed some success in preaching Buddhism, there were apparently only two Buddhist temples left in the city at that time. The city is a diverse mix, combining Uzbek people with those of Tajik ethnicity. We know that some of the exotic products popular later in Tang China were imported from Samarkand. Camels were uniquely suited to crossing the roughest terrain in an extremely difficult climate because they could go for days without food or water by living off the fat stroed in their humps. margin-left: 0; Fragments of a Karakhanid-era minaret and mausoleum may be seen in the oldest of the shrines of the Shah-i Zinde (see the photographs and discussion there). It remained part of the Chagatai Khanate (one of four Mongol successor realms) until 1370. The Persian chronicler Juvaini's encomium to Samarkand and other Central Asian cities reflects his dismay at the destruction wrought by the Mongols when Chingis Khan invaded the area in 1220. In the early twentieth century, an Indiana Jones-ish archaeologist named Aurel Stein was exploring some of the more remote stretches on the trade routes in Western China. Along with Bukhara, Samarkand is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia, prospering from its location on the trade route between China and the Mediterranean (Silk Road). 3. Ulugbek was one of the more famous astronomers, even though he was a ruler he is more remembered for his stargazing. procession may be the Sogdian ruler, and scenes from the royal hunt. Historically, Chinese gourmets on the Silk Road praised the city for its sweet peaches and delicious plov and lamb. This cultural-educational tour along the famous cities of the Great Silk Road will acquaint you with the ancient history and culture of Uzbekistan. By signing up, you'll get thousands of step-by-step solutions to your homework questions. © 2012 Copyright by Silk Road Society. Located in the Zerafshan River valley, the city enjoys the benefits of abundant natural resources and occupies as well a key place on the trade routes of Central Asia. We know, however, that Soghdians were among the translators of Buddhist scriptures in China, presumably because they had linguistic skills honed by life at the crossroads of major trade routes connecting China with India via Central Asia. Historically speaking, Samarkand was the crossroads between the East and West on the Silk Road. Merchants exchanged goods such as horses, furs, jade and ivory for silk. Sogdian inscriptions on the rocks in the valleys of northern Pakistan testify to their activity on the routes south into India. All rights reserved. Solved: Why was Samarkand important to the Silk Road? He wanted results immediately and those assigned to the task, with their lives at stake. Mosque, are Sogdian colonies were established in places such as Dunhuang, one of the important nodes in the trade route. The origins of Samarkand date back to the 5th century BC. His ambition was to keep the Silk Road under his control, even though that ment having to go to war with various nations and empires located along this enormously long route from West to East. With the arrival of the railway in 1888, Samarkand became an important centre for the export of wine, dried and fresh fruits, cotton, rice, silk, and leather. Back in the 600s CE, that route was called simply "the road to Samarkand… Pages will be added for the Gur-i Mir Mausoleum Shah-i Zinde, To get the most out of Samarkand, it’s best to stay for two to three days, those passing through should make a beeline to the Registan, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-i-Zinda. After being conquered by Muslims in the 8th century, it became a centre of Islamic culture and trade. In the first two examples, following As trade along the Silk Road grew, these pack animals bacame greatly valued for their ability to travel long distances over mountains and across deserts. #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { The ethnically Iranian Sogdians who lived in Samarkand and its region played a key role in the commerce along the Silk Road even though they never established a single strong state and more often than not were subjects of powerful Inner Asian empires. They existed along the entire eastern line of the Silk Road from Samarkand to Xi'an in China. important personages reflect the influence of Sasanian (Iranian) designs. Like most successful rulers of the city, the Samanids invested in the irrigation system. #gallery-1 .gallery-item { It does not get stale for a long time, and legend has it that … Unfortunately, little remains of the architecture from this period in Samarkand. For some time after the Muslim conquest of the early eighth century, these eclectic local religious traditions remained the dominant ones. As in Panjikent, the walls were covered with brilliant Silk Road, ancient trade route, linking China with the West, that carried goods and ideas between the two great civilizations of Rome and China. The excavations have revealed fire altars from private homes and fragments of ossuaries (the examples of the latter here are from different sites in Central Asia). Read more about the Silk Road here. The term Silk Road is English for the German word It does not get stale for a long time, and legend has it that it should be eligible for three years. } margin-top: 10px; Fergana line went from Samarkand through Khujand to the city of Osh. ), the town seems to have housed a substantial center of craft production and already boasted an extensive irrigation system. The Silk Road served as THE trade route in this period. ambassadors bearing gifts, a diplomatic ceremony, in which the figure at the head of the Samarkand suffered at least one other Mongol sack by Khan Baraq to get treasure he needed to pay an army. The kinds of products exported from China during the at-least-3,000-year history of the Silk Road changed over time, but silk was generally the most precious export. For UNESCO's inscription of Samarkand on the World Heritage Sites list, with some good photos click, For a documented overview of "Timurid Architecture in Samarkand" but one not The wall paintings at Panjikent depict various goddesses and religious scenes, some even showing influences of Hinduism and others including local Central Asian deities not connected with one of the other major regions. The Greek legacy lived on in the various "Graeco-Bactrian" kingdoms of the area and the Kushan Empire of the first centuries of the Common Era whose territories extended well down into what is today Pakistan and India. During the eighth century, because of their important economic role in the Uighur state which rose to power along the northern borders of Tang China, Sogdians may well have been the ones who persuaded the Uighur rulers to convert to Manichaeism. Uzbekistan might not have the international reputation when it comes to wine, but Persian poet Omar Khayam wrote about Samarkand’s praising them for their quality. Here's a guide to help you explore Samarkand Uzbekistan. Soghdian merchants also went west and seem to have been involved in the development of new routes for the Silk trade with Byzantium in the sixth century. Only with the dissolution of the Mongol empire did the Silk Road begin to fall apart, though trade between East and West continued for centuries. Silk went westward. } The Samanids, who were of Iranian origin, established Bukhara as their capital, and it was under their rule (to about the end of the ninth century) that the cities of Transoxiana became major centers of Muslim learning. the golden road to samarkand Travelling the ancient Silk Road, one of the greatest trade routes in history to Tamerlane's capital, ancient Khiva and Bukhara With a diverse history and positioned at the centre of the ancient Silk Route, Uzbekistan is a … 1. The "home office" for one of the letter writers was Samarkand. You should sprinkle it with water and warm it in a tandyr (a clay stove). Mug, where archaeologists have unearthed a treasure trove of Sogdian documents attesting to the sophistication of their administration and legal system. Soghdian merchants also went west and seem to have been involved in the development of new routes for the Silk trade with Byzantium in the sixth century. There were goods, technology, religions and diseases. Outside Dunhuang, he found a mailbag of eight extremely well-preserved letters. Formally known as Chang’an, it is an … border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; There is considerable evidence in the paintings, other archaeological material and written sources concerning the fact that several religions were practiced in Afrasiab. A sense of its topography is provided by this model of the ruins, viewed from the The real rebuilding of Samarkand as a great city had to await the decision by Timur (Tamerlane) to make it his capital beginning in the 1370s. Its splendor stems from the ancient Silk Road and the Turkish-Mongolian conqueror, Tamerlane, national hero whose tomb is venerated in Samarkand and who consolidated an empire even larger than the Roman. What did Samarkand trade on the Silk Road? When the Arabs invaded Central Asia in the early eighth century, the last of the Sogdian rulers of the many small states in the Zerafshan Valley fled upriver from Panjikent. } A reconstruction of the possible appearance of one of the The main axis of the Timurid city stretched southwest from Afrasiab, passing the Bibi Khanum Mosque and Mausoleum complexes, then the Registan, and ending near the Gur-i Mir Mausoleum. The Silk Road started with the Han Chinese well before this period. The robes of the It seems clear that the Soghdians were quite eclectic in their religious tastes, since motifs on some of the ossuaries mix Zoroastrian and Christian symbolism. Samarkand derived its commercial importance in ancient and medieval times from its location at the junction of trade routes from China and India. Alexander the Great knew it as Maracanda; at the time when it submitted to him in 329 BCE, the city occupied some 13 sq. The third branch passed from Zamin Rabat to Tashkent, Ispedzhab, Taraz, Nuzket (Kara-Balta) and Balasagyn (Buran). Samarkand’s Registan is somewhere that conjures all the mystery of the silk road and for many, it was an image of this very place, dripping in history and glittering mosaics that first laid the seed. For centuries, Uzbekistan was known for its gastronomy, and is said to house the sweetest fruits and most tender lamb in the world. Sogdian inscriptions on the rocks in the valleys of northern Pakistan testify to their activity on the routes south into India. Ulughbeg The Great Silk Road is a famous ancient caravan trade route, which played an important role in the developpement of world civilization, it influenced the developpement of trade, cities, arts, and in addition it contributed to the infiltration, formation and mutual enrichment of cultures, religions and languages, which firms an important part of the heritage today. and the Registan. will be explored on separate web pages. It turned out Sogdian was the lingua franca of its day;The ancient Sogdian letters tel… As early as Han times, when the Chinese first recorded their impressions of Inner Asia, the Sogdians had a reputation as being talented merchants. It has no city wall, and no gates, and there are gardens inside it." The Silk Road Lives On Archaeologists have found in the Uighur cities Manichaean and Nestorian texts written in Sogdian. south, and a schematic map shows the rings of fortifications and the ponds and canal system Samarkand was a key Silk Road city, it sat on the crossroads leading to China, India and Persia, bringing in trade and artisans. Two examples from other palaces in Transoxiana from this same period (the images are reproduction paintings, filmed in substandard light in the Samarkand museum) provide an additional sense of the cultural connections of these prosperous Central Asian states. For centuries, Uzbekistan was known for its gastronomy, and is said to house the sweetest fruits and most tender lamb in the world. Cities like Samarkand and Bukhara were built largely on the trade from the silk route. #gallery-1 { Shah-i-Zinda is still a place of pilgrimage, so treat the shrine with respect when visiting. Triump… Excavations The "home office" for one of the letter writers was Samarkand. and his observatory, and the Bibi Khanum Chinese princess being conveyed across a river in a boat. The famous Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang passed through the city in the early 630s and recorded about it the following: The museum located today on the hill known as Afrasiab, the site of the ancient city, contains numerous examples of pottery from the period of the city's history prior to the Muslim conquest. Voronikhin's drawing reconstructing the upper Ulugbek’s Observatory is an archaeological site of the former observatory built in the 1420s. According to Juvayni, no admirer of the Mongols, Bukhara was one, although by the early 1330s the famous Arab traveler Ibn Battuta noted "at the present time its mosques, colleges and bazaars are in ruins, all but a few"--the result apparently of subsequent wars. But over a millennium ago, it was one of the richest cities on the infamous trade route known as the Silk Road. Balkh is an ancient city, with a 2500-year long history, situated on the plain between the Hindu Kush Mountains and the river Amu Darya (historically known as the Oxus) in the north of Afghanistan. The shrine has held a special place in Samarkand before it was sacked by the Mongols and boasts some of the finest glazed tile work in Central Asia. Historically, Chinese gourmets on the Silk Road praised the city for its sweet peaches and delicious plov and lamb. In the beautiful square of Registan - which today we would call a university campus - with its three imposing madrasahs or Koranic schools … Wine. from some time in the Islamic period. Only fragments of the walls remained, such as these (on the right in the picture), which formed the southern boundary of the city near the mausoleum complex of Shah-i Zinde. 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