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Uzbekistan (UK: /ʊzˌbɛkɪˈstɑːn, ʌz-, -ˈstæn/, US: /ʊzˈbɛkɪstæn, -stɑːn/; Uzbek: Oʻzbekiston, pronounced [ozbekiˈstɒn]), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: Oʻzbekiston Respublikasi/Ўзбекистон Республикаси), is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. It is surrounded by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the south-west. Its capital and largest city is Tashkent. Uzbekistan is part of the Turkic world, as well as a member of the Organization of Turkic States. The Uzbek language is the majority-spoken language in Uzbekistan; other languages include the Russian language and the Tajik language, in the region of Samarkand and Bukhara. Islam is the predominant religion in Uzbekistan, most Uzbeks being Sunni Muslims.

The first recorded settlers in what is now Uzbekistan were Eastern Iranian nomads, known as Scythians, who founded kingdoms in Khwarazm (8th–6th centuries BC), Bactria (8th–6th centuries BC), Sogdia (8th–6th centuries BC), Fergana (3rd century BC – sixth century AD), and Margiana (3rd century BC – sixth century AD). The area was incorporated into the Iranian Achaemenid Empire and, after a period of Macedonian rule, was ruled by the Iranian Parthian Empire and later by the Sasanian Empire, until the Muslim conquest of Persia in the seventh century. The Early Muslim conquests and the subsequent Samanid Empire converted most of the people, including the local ruling classes, into adherents of Islam. During this period, cities such as Samarkand, Khiva, and Bukhara began to grow rich from the Silk Road, and became a center of the Islamic Golden Age, with figures such as Muhammad al-Bukhari, Al-Tirmidhi, al Khwarizmi, al-Biruni, Avicenna and Omar Khayyam. (Full article...)

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Registan square Samarkand.jpg

Samarkand (/ˈsæmərkænd/; Uzbek: Samarqand, pronounced [samarqand, –qant]; Tajik: Самарқанд; Persian: سمرقند; Sogdian: *smā́rkąθ, 𐼑𐼍𐼀𐼘𐼋𐼎𐼌𐼆‎, 𐼼𐼺𐼰𐽀𐼸𐼻𐼹𐼳smʾrknδH), also known as Samarqand, is a city in southeastern Uzbekistan and among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia. There is evidence of human activity in the area of the city from the late Paleolithic Era, though there is no direct evidence of when Samarkand was founded; several theories propose that it was founded between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. Prospering from its location on the Silk Road between China and Europe, at times Samarkand was one of the largest cities of Central Asia. Most of the inhabitants of this city are native Persian-speakers and speak the Tajik Persian dialect. This city is one of the historical centers of the Tajik people in Central Asia, which in the past was one of the important cities of the great empires of Iran.

By the time of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, it was the capital of the Sogdian satrapy. The city was conquered by Alexander the Great in 329 BCE, when it was known as Markanda, which was rendered in Greek as Μαράκανδα. The city was ruled by a succession of Iranian and Turkic rulers until it was conquered by the Mongols under Genghis Khan in 1220. Today, Samarkand is the capital of Samarqand Region and a district-level city, that includes the urban-type settlements Kimyogarlar, Farxod and Xishrav. With 551,700 inhabitants (2021), it is the second-largest city of Uzbekistan. (Full article...)
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