The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Vii. The City of Samarkand

Samarkand trade

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The city is so large, and so abundantly supplied, that it is wonderful; and the name of Samarkand or Cimes-quinte is derived from the two words cimes great, and quinte a town. The supplies of this city do not consist of food alone, but of silks, satins, gauzes, tafetas, velvets, and other things. The lord had so strong a desire to ennoble this city, that he brought captives to increase its population, from every land which he conquered, especially all those who were skilful in any art. From Damascus he brought weavers of silk, and men who made bows, glass, and earthenware, so that, of those articles, Samarkand produces the best in the world. From Turkey he brought archers, masons, and silversmiths. He also brought men skilled in making engines of war: and he sowed hemp and flax, which had never before been seen in the land. There was so great a number of people brought to this city, from all parts, both men and women, that they are said to have amounted to one hundred and fifty thousand persons, of many nations, Turks, Arabs, and Moors, Christian Armenians, Greek Catholics, and Jacobites, and those who baptize with fire in the face {Brahmins ? or Parsees ?}, who are Christians with peculiar opinions. There was such a multitude of these people that the city was not large enough to hold them, and it was wonderful what a number lived under trees, and in caves outside.