Samarqand City is the second largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital city of Samarqand State. Located in the Zeravshan River Valley in the southeastern border, the city covers an area of 51.9 square kilometers with a population of 500,000. The popular language is Tajik Language.
As a renowned world ancient city, Samarqand is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. Its history of more than 2,500 years is of similar age to Rome, Athens and Babylon with the earliest retrievable history as the 5th century BC. In ancient times it was called Marakanda and was the capital of ancient empires including the Timurid Dynasty. It was the administrative center of Uzbekistan and was called “the shining oriental pearl” in ancient Arabian documents. It was the important political, scientific and cultural centers as well as one of the ancient junctions on the Silk Road.
Samarqand is composed of the new city and the old city with the old city abundant in historical sites. From the 11th century, a city wall was built and the streets led to the 6 gates from the very center of the city. After the Russian occupation, the city walls and the gates were destroyed. Nowadays there are still many famous buildings left from the 14th to the 17th centuries including mosques and mausoleums, of which the most splendid are the palaces and mausoleums built in the Timurid Empire.
The industries mainly include cotton ginning, silk weaving and food processing in addition to machine manufacturing and chemical engineering. The export products include raisins, dry fruits, cotton, rice, silk and leather. Ethnic handicraft is famous for hand-woven carpets and hand-made potteries.
As the cultural center of Uzbekistan, Samarqand has a number of institutions of higher learning. The archaeological institute and Karakol Sheep Raising Institute (which is quite famous in Central Asia and is known as the only breeding institute for big Karakol lambs of the CIS) are established in Samarqand.
Samarqand established sister-city relationship with Xian on November 29th, 2013.
[Source:Foreign Affairs and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Xi’an City]