Samarkand or Samarqand is perhaps the most famous city of modern Uzbekistan. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Samarkand is derived from Old Persian asmara ("stone, rock") and from Sogdian qand ("fort", "town").
Samarkand literally means "stone fort" or "rock town." Samarkand had a central position on the Silk Road between China and the West. In the 14th century, Timur (Tamerlane) made Samarkand the capital of his empire. Samarkand is a must-see for all travelers visiting Central Asia. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001 as Samarkand - Crossroad of Cultures.
The site of Samarkand was sporadically occupied in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages. A city was founded in pre-Achaemenid times, between 650 and 550 BCE. A wall followed the whole circuit of the plateau (5.5 km), complemented by another one which separates the town from the acropolis, situated in the northern part and itself including a citadel raised on an artificial platform. The massive wall, 7-m thick, was made of coarse mud bricks, all of which bear a mark, an indication that labour was strictly organized in groups of workers.