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Tashkent
   
Tashkent was first mentioned in "Avesta" and in ancient Chinese manuscripts. The city arose in the Chirchik river valley, on the border of the oasis and steppe as the place, where farmers and cattle - breeders, settled population and nomads used to meet for joint trading. And this place proved to be a happy choice, because the city managed to survive in spite of all trials - wars, sieges and invasions. In the ancient chronicles the city was known under such names as Yuni, Chach, Shash:
Judging from the accounts made by Beruni and Makhmud Kashgari, the name" Tashkent" first appeared in the Turkic sources of the 9th - 12th centuries. The city has always served as kind of a link between the countries in the East and the West, in the North and the South. The advantageous geographical location and favorable climate made Tashkent one of the main points on the trade routes of the Great Silk Road.



Samarkand
   
Samarkand is situated in the valley of the river Zarafshan. It is the second largest city of Uzbekistan and is of the same age as the city of Babylon or Rome. The history of Samarkand is about 2,500 years old and has witnessed many upheavals during the times of Alexander the Great, the Arabic Conquest, Genghis-Khan Conquest and lastly Tamerlane's. Hence, the culture of Samarkand was developed and mixed together with the Iranian, Indian, Mongolian and a bit of the Western and Eastern cultures.
Majestic and beautiful city Samarkand has a marvelous and attractive power. Poets and historians of the past called it "Rome of the East, The beauty of sublunary countries, The pearl of the Eastern Muslim World". Its advantageous geographical position in the Zarafshan valley put Samarkand to the first place among cities of Central Asia.



Shahrisabz
   
Shahrisabz is a city in southern Uzbekistan, near Samarkand as well as the border with Tajikistan. Shahrisabz means 'green city' in Persian, probably owing to the vineyard and orchards in the area. Shahrisabz is noted for being the birthplace of the great ruler of Central Asia named Timur, made famous in Western lore as Tamerlane by authors such as Shakespeare. Shahrisabz is an ancient city in Central Asia, having just celebrated its 2700th anniversary. It is near Shahrisabz that
Alexander the Great spent winters and met his wife Roxanna and that the general Ptolemy defeated the Achaemenid Empire. Like many cities in Uzbekistan and Central Asia in general, Shahrisabz was a city along the famed Silk Road. Shahrisabz came under the rule of the city of Bukhara until Russian occupation in the 1800s.



Bukhara
   
All those people who happened to visit Bukhara, most likely paid attention to the strange "shaggy hats" on the top of minarets. These are storks` nests. And the white bird of hope can serve as a city's symbol, symbol of its firmness and stability. More than once throughout its history this rich city suffered the invasions of various enemies. The most devastating invasion was that of Mongols. But each time Bukhara revived; and which is more, it always revived on the same place as if keeping loyalty to its roots.
Over centuries the city was a fertile oasis in the valley of the river Zerafshan on the Great Silk Road, the leading center of science and culture. And foundation of the city goes into the remote ages. In 1997 on UNESCO decision, the whole cultural world celebrated its 2500 jubilee. The legend connects appearance of the city with the name of one of the deity of Zoroastrian pantheon - Siyavush. The most ancient part of Bukhara is its citadel - Ark, where archaeologists excavated the finds dating back to the 3rd century B.C. This is a twenty meters high artificial mound, where the emir`s palace, his harem, treasury, arsenal and casemates for criminals were located. The palace housed throne hall, in the center of which there was a marble throne of the emir. In the upper gallery there was a music pavilion where the court musicians used to play makoms twenty-four hours a day.



Khiva
   
Probably, Khiva is the most peculiar Uzbek city. Its history is inextricably connected with the history of Turkmenistan, because the territory was part of the legendary Khorezmshah's State with its capital in Urgench before. Khiva is a very ancient city.
In the 10th century Khive is mentioned as a major trading center on the Silk Road. All the caravans had a stop here on their way to China and back. From dawn to dusk, until the gates were opened, an endless stream of moving string of camels with baggage passed them.
At the beginning of the 16th century Khorezm State became home for Uzbek nomadic tribes, who founded Khive Khanate here. However, Khiva did not become immediately the Khanate's capital. It happened only after Urgench, an existing capital, had been destroyed due to the change of Amudarya's channel. In 1598 Khiva became the main city of the state.






   
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