With a population of approximately 500,000, Samarkand is the second largest city of Uzbekistan. The real glory of Samarkand began in 329BC when Alexander the Great conquered and destroyed the nearby capital, Macaranda. According to local history, when Alexander first visited here he declared “I heard that Samarkand was beautiful but never thought that it could be so beautiful and majestic”. After Alexander's reign, the city fell under the rule of the Persian Empire, and became the capital of the Mongol Prince Tamerlane in the 13th Century. The finest builders, craftsmen, philosophers and scientists were invited to Samarkand and the reputation of its refined civilisation grew until Samarkand was a city of legend and wonder along the Golden Road. From here, the Silk Road diverged; east to China, south to India and west to Persia.
We all enjoy a good fact or two - here are a few useful ones about Samarkand: