Conquerors of Samarkand

Sogdians (650 B.C.): The first occupiers of Samarkand may have been an Iranian people called the Sogdians, who later, from the third to the eighth century A.D., controlled much of what is present-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Persians (550 B.C.): The Achaemenid king Cyrus II conquered a territory that extended from the Aegean to Central Asia, where he made Samarkand an administrative center.

Macedonian Greeks (329 B.C.): After the arrival of Alexander the Great, the Greeks ruled Samarkand and its environs for two centuries.

Sarmatians (150 B.C.): The fierce, nomadic Sarmatians, a people of Iranian descent, not only conquered Samarkand but clashed with the Romans near the Black Sea.

Umayyads (712 A.D.): Arab armies conquered Samarkand under the Umayyad caliphate, the first Islamic dynasty, which had its capital at Damascus.

Abbasids (749 A.D.): This second Islamic dynasty ruled from Baghdad; in Samarkand, the Abbasids built two large palaces and a mosque.

Samanids (850 A.D.): Local land-owners seized control of Samarkand, establishing the region as a center of Muslim learning.

Karakhanids (1000 A.D.): A Turkish people, the Karakhanids ruled a vast empire from Central Asia to China.

Khwarazmshahs (1200 A.D.): This Iranian people briefly ruled Samarkand before the Mongol invasion.

Mongols (1220 A.D.): Genghis Khan’s army overwhelmed the Khwarazmshah garrison at Samarkand, which lay in ruins for the next 150 years.

Timurids (1371 A.D.): The conqueror Tamerlane (Timur), who was born south of Samarkand, rebuilt the city and made it the capital of his empire. His descendants, the Timurids, ruled Samarkand for the next three centuries, erecting the city’s famous gardens and blue-domed mosques.