Samarkand is located in south-eastern Uzbekistan, in the Zarafshan River valley, and in distance of 135 km away from Karshi, 240 km away from Bukhara, 270 km away from Tashkent. Tajikistan border is about 35 km from Samarkand, whereby the its capital - Dushanbe is 210 km away from Samarkand. Road M39 connects Samarkand to Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan, which is 340 km away from it.
Samarkand, in ancient times referred as Afrasiab, is considered to be one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. Evidence of settlements in the region goes back to 1500 BC, with Samarkand having its most significant development in the Temurid period, from the 14th to the 15th centuries, when it was capital of the powerful Temurid realm.
The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, as well as Ulughbek's Observatory. Being key connecting city on Silk Road between China, Persia and Europe, Samarkand is considered as a cradle for trade, culture and science.
Samarkand is coeval with Rome. The city with its ancient buildings was referred as open-air museum. Splendid portals, vast coloured domes, and remarkable exterior decorations in majolica, mosaic, marble, and gold of the architectural heritage was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. The greatest poets and philosophers of the world have given the city many names – the garden of the soul, the pearl of the east, the mirror of the world and even the face of the earth, and yet not being able to describe the beauty and tincture of Samarkand.