The Garden Guide

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

Timur in Samarkand

Previous - Next

Samarkand, is spelt Samarcand by Clavijo and is also written as Samarquand. It is an oasis town in the valley of the Zerafshan, surrounded by hills. The site has been occupied at least since Palaeolithic. It is possible that the name came from a king Samar. When Alexander the Great came here in 329 BC the city was known as Marakanda. It was the capital of Sogdiana, a district of the Persian Achaemenid empire. The city was built on the hill of Afrosiab.