A report on Tajikistan and Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
The Samanid ruler Mansur I (961–976)
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
Family tree of the Achaemenid rulers.
19th-century painting of lake Zorkul and a local Tajik inhabitant
Map of the expansion process of Achaemenid territories
Soviet negotiations with basmachi, 1921
Cyrus the Great is said, in the Bible, to have liberated the Hebrew captives in Babylon to resettle and rebuild Jerusalem, earning him an honored place in Judaism.
Soviet Tajikistan in 1964
The tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. At Pasargadae, Iran.
Spetsnaz soldiers during the civil war, 1992
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent, c. 500 BC
The Palace of Nations in Dushanbe
The Persian queen Atossa, daughter of Cyrus the Great, sister-wife of Cambyses II, Darius the Great's wife, and mother of Xerxes the Great
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon has ruled the country since 1994.
Map showing events of the first phases of the Greco-Persian Wars
Supreme Assembly in Dushanbe.
Greek hoplite and Persian warrior depicted fighting, on an ancient kylix, 5th century BC
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Achaemenid king fighting hoplites, seal and seal holder, Cimmerian Bosporus.
Satellite photograph of Tajikistan
Achaemenid gold ornaments, Brooklyn Museum
Tajikistan map of Köppen climate classification
Persian Empire timeline including important events and territorial evolution – 550–323 BC
Mountains of Tajikistan
Relief showing Darius I offering lettuces to the Egyptian deity Amun-Ra Kamutef, Temple of Hibis
Karakul lake
The 24 countries subject to the Achaemenid Empire at the time of Darius, on the Egyptian statue of Darius I.
A proportional representation of Tajikistan exports, 2019
The Battle of Issus, between Alexander the Great on horseback to the left, and Darius III in the chariot to the right, represented in a Pompeii mosaic dated 1st century BC – Naples National Archaeological Museum
A Tajik dry fruit seller
Alexander's first victory over Darius, the Persian king depicted in medieval European style in the 15th century romance The History of Alexander's Battles
The TadAZ aluminium smelting plant, in Tursunzoda, is the largest aluminium manufacturing plant in Central Asia, and Tajikistan's chief industrial asset.
Frataraka dynasty ruler Vadfradad I (Autophradates I). 3rd century BC. Istakhr (Persepolis) mint.
Real GPD per capita development of Tajikistan
Dārēv I (Darios I) used for the first time the title of mlk (King). 2nd century BC.
Tajikistan: trends in its Human Development Index indicator 1970–2010
Winged sphinx from the Palace of Darius in Susa, Louvre
Group of Tajik women
Daric of Artaxerxes II
Nowruz celebrations in Tajikistan
Volume of annual tribute per district, in the Achaemenid Empire, according to Herodotus.
Tajik traditional dress
Achaemenid tax collector, calculating on an Abax or Abacus, according to the Darius Vase (340–320 BC).
A mosque in Isfara, Tajikistan
Letter from the Satrap of Bactria to the governor of Khulmi, concerning camel keepers, 353 BC
A hospital in Dushanbe
Relief of throne-bearing soldiers in their native clothing at the tomb of Xerxes I, demonstrating the satrapies under his rule.
Tajik National University in Dushanbe
Achaemenid king killing a Greek hoplite. c. 500 BC–475 BC, at the time of Xerxes I. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Tajikistan is a popular destination amongst mountaineers. 1982 expedition to Tartu Ülikool 350.
Persian soldiers (left) fighting against Scythians. Cylinder seal impression.
Ambassador to the Tang dynasty, coming from Kumedh (胡密丹), Tajikistan. Wanghuitu (王会图) circa 650 CE.
Color reconstruction of Achaemenid infantry on the Alexander Sarcophagus (end of 4th century BC).
Seal of Darius the Great hunting in a chariot, reading "I am Darius, the Great King" in Old Persian (𐎠𐎭𐎶𐏐𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁𐎴 𐏋, "adam Dārayavaʰuš xšāyaθiya"), as well as in Elamite and Babylonian. The word "great" only appears in Babylonian. British Museum.
Achaemenid calvalryman in the satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia, Altıkulaç Sarcophagus, early 4th century BC.
Armoured cavalry: Achaemenid Dynast of Hellespontine Phrygia attacking a Greek psiloi, Altıkulaç Sarcophagus, early 4th century BC.
Reconstitution of Persian landing ships at the Battle of Marathon.
Greek ships against Achaemenid ships at the Battle of Salamis.
Iconic relief of lion and bull fighting, Apadana of Persepolis
Achaemenid golden bowl with lioness imagery of Mazandaran
The ruins of Persepolis
A section of the Old Persian part of the trilingual Behistun inscription. Other versions are in Babylonian and Elamite.
A copy of the Behistun inscription in Aramaic on a papyrus. Aramaic was the lingua franca of the empire.
An Achaemenid drinking vessel
Bas-relief of Farvahar at Persepolis
Tomb of Artaxerxes III in Persepolis
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven wonders of the ancient world, was built by Greek architects for the local Persian satrap of Caria, Mausolus (Scale model)
Achamenid dynasty timeline
Reconstruction of the Palace of Darius at Susa. The palace served as a model for Persepolis.
Lion on a decorative panel from Darius I the Great's palace, Louvre
Ruins of Throne Hall, Persepolis
Apadana Hall, Persian and Median soldiers at Persepolis
Lateral view of tomb of Cambyses II, Pasargadae, Iran
Plaque with horned lion-griffins. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid Empire, Sasanian Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Samanid Empire and the Mongol Empire.

- Tajikistan

By the 5th century BC, the Kings of Persia were either ruling over or had subordinated territories encompassing not just all of the Persian Plateau and all of the territories formerly held by the Assyrian Empire (Mesopotamia, the Levant, Cyprus and Egypt), but beyond this all of Anatolia and Armenia, as well as the Southern Caucasus and parts of the North Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Bulgaria, Paeonia, Thrace and Macedonia to the north and west, most of the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of Central Asia as far as the Aral Sea, the Oxus and Jaxartes to the north and north-east, the Hindu Kush and the western Indus basin (corresponding to modern Afghanistan and Pakistan) to the far east, parts of northern Arabia to the south, and parts of eastern Libya (Cyrenaica) to the south-west, and parts of Oman, China, and the UAE.

- Achaemenid Empire

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Alexander riding Bucephalus on a Roman mosaic

Alexander the Great

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King of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.

King of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.

Alexander riding Bucephalus on a Roman mosaic
Alexander III riding Bucephalus on a Roman mosaic
Map of The Kingdom of Macedon in 336 BC, birthplace of Alexander
Roman medallion depicting Olympias, Alexander's mother
Archaeological Site of Pella, Greece, Alexander's birthplace
Philip II of Macedon, Alexander's father
Battle plan from the Battle of Chaeronea
Pausanius assassinates Philip II, Alexander's father, during his procession into the theatre
The emblema of the Stag Hunt Mosaic, c. 300 BC, from Pella; the figure on the right is possibly Alexander the Great due to the date of the mosaic along with the depicted upsweep of his centrally-parted hair (anastole); the figure on the left wielding a double-edged axe (associated with Hephaistos) is perhaps Hephaestion, one of Alexander's loyal companions.
The Macedonian phalanx at the "Battle of the Carts" against the Thracians in 335 BC
Map of Alexander's empire and his route
Gérard Audran after Charles LeBrun, 'Alexander Entering Babylon,' original print first published 1675, engraving, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC.
Alexander Cuts the Gordian Knot (1767) by Jean-Simon Berthélemy
Name of Alexander the Great in Egyptian hieroglyphs (written from right to left), c. 332 BC, Egypt. Louvre Museum.
Site of the Persian Gate in modern-day Iran; the road was built in the 1990s.
Administrative document from Bactria dated to the seventh year of Alexander's reign (324 BC), bearing the first known use of the "Alexandros" form of his name, Khalili Collection of Aramaic Documents
The Killing of Cleitus, by André Castaigne (1898–1899)
Silver tetradrachm of Alexander the Great found in Byblos (ca 330-300 bc.) (BnF 1998–859; 17,33g; Byblos, Price 3426b)
The Phalanx Attacking the Centre in the Battle of the Hydaspes by André Castaigne (1898–1899)
Alexander's invasion of the Indian subcontinent
Porus surrenders to Alexander
Asia in 323 BC, the Nanda Empire and the Gangaridai of the Indian subcontinent, in relation to Alexander's Empire and neighbours
Alexander (left) and Hephaestion (right): Both were connected by a tight friendship
Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1796)
A Babylonian astronomical diary (c. 323–322 BC) recording the death of Alexander (British Museum, London)
19th-century depiction of Alexander's funeral procession, based on the description by Diodorus Siculus
Detail of Alexander on the Alexander Sarcophagus
Kingdoms of the Diadochi in 301 BC: the Ptolemaic Kingdom (dark blue), the Seleucid Empire (yellow), Kingdom of Pergamon (orange), and Kingdom of Macedon (green). Also shown are the Roman Republic (light blue), the Carthaginian Republic (purple), and the Kingdom of Epirus (red).
A coin of Alexander the Great struck by Balakros or his successor Menes, both former somatophylakes (bodyguards) of Alexander, when they held the position of satrap of Cilicia in the lifetime of Alexander, circa 333-327 BC. The obverse shows Heracles, ancestor of the Macedonian royal line and the reverse shows a seated Zeus Aëtophoros.
The Battle of the Granicus, 334 BC
The Battle of Issus, 333 BC
Alexander Cameo by Pyrgoteles
Alexander portrayal by Lysippos
Alexander (left), wearing a kausia and fighting an Asiatic lion with his friend Craterus (detail); late 4th century BC mosaic, Pella Museum
A Roman copy of an original 3rd century BC Greek bust depicting Alexander the Great, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
A mural in Pompeii, depicting the marriage of Alexander to Barsine (Stateira) in 324 BC; the couple are apparently dressed as Ares and Aphrodite.
The Hellenistic world view: world map of Eratosthenes (276–194 BC), using information from the campaigns of Alexander and his successors
Plan of Alexandria c. 30 BC
Dedication of Alexander the Great to Athena Polias at Priene, now housed in the British Museum
Alexander's empire was the largest state of its time, covering approximately 5.2 million square km.
The Buddha, in Greco-Buddhist style, 1st to 2nd century AD, Gandhara, northern Pakistan. Tokyo National Museum.
This medallion was produced in Imperial Rome, demonstrating the influence of Alexander's memory. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
Alexander in a 14th-century Armenian manuscript
Alexander in a 14th-century Byzantine manuscript
Alexander conquering the air. Jean Wauquelin, Les faits et conquêtes d'Alexandre le Grand, 1448–1449
Folio from the Shahnameh showing Alexander praying at the Kaaba, mid-16th century
Detail of a 16th-century Islamic painting depicting Alexander being lowered in a glass submersible
A Hellenistic bust of a young Alexander the Great, possibly from Ptolemaic Egypt, 2nd-1st century BC, now in the British Museum
A fresco depicting a hunt scene at the tomb of Philip II, Alexander's father, at the Archaeological Site of Aigai, the only known depiction of Alexander made during his lifetime, 330s BC

In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Persian Empire and began a series of campaigns that lasted for 10 years.

Alexander founded a series of new cities, all called Alexandria, including modern Kandahar in Afghanistan, and Alexandria Eschate ("The Furthest") in modern Tajikistan.

Approximate extent of Sogdia, between the Oxus and the Jaxartes.

Sogdia

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Approximate extent of Sogdia, between the Oxus and the Jaxartes.
Sogdian soldier circa 338 BCE, tomb of Artaxerxes III.
Sogdians on an Achaemenid Persian relief from the Apadana of Persepolis, offering tributary gifts to the Persian king Darius I, 5th century BC
Head of a Saka warrior, as a defeated enemy of the Yuezhi, from Khalchayan, northern Bactria, 1st century BCE.
A Yuezhi (left) fighting a Sogdian behind a shield (right), Noin-Ula carpet, 1st century BC/AD.
Local coinage of Samarkand, Sogdia, with the Hepthalite tamgha Hephthalite_tamgha.jpg on the reverse.
Relief of a hunter, Varahsha, Sogdia, 5th-7th century CE.
The Sogdian merchant An Jia with a Turkic Chieftain in his yurt. 579 AD.
Ambassadors from various countries (China, Korea, Iranian and Hephthalite principalities...), paying hommage to king Varkhuman and possibly Western Turk Khagan Shekui, under the massive presence of Turkic officers and courtiers. Afrasiab murals, Samarkand, 648-651 AD.
Coin of Turgar, the last Ikhshid of Sogdia. Excavated in Penjikent, 8th century CE, National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan.
Chinese silk in Sogdia: Tang Dynasty emissaries at the court of the Ikhshid of Sogdia Varkhuman in Samarkand, carrying silk and a string of silkworm cocoons, circa 655 CE, Afrasiab murals, Samarkand.
A lion motif on Sogdian polychrome silk, 8th century AD, most likely from Bukhara.
Sogdian Huteng dancer, Xiuding temple pagoda, Anyang, Hunan, China, Tang dynasty, 7th century.
Two Buddhist monks on a mural of the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves near Turpan, Xinjiang, China, 9th century AD. Albert von Le Coq (1913) assumed the blue-eyed, red-haired monk was a Tocharian, modern scholarship however identified similar Caucasian figures of [[:File:BezeklikSogdianMerchants.jpg|the same cave temple]] (No. 9) as ethnic Sogdians, who were a minority in Turpan during the Tang Dynasty in 7th–8th century and Uyghur rule (9th–13th century).
Sogdians having a toast, with females wearing Chinese headdresses. Anyang funerary bed, 550–577 AD.
A Tang Dynasty Chinese ceramic statuette of a Sogdian merchant riding on a Bactrian camel
Details of a replication of the Ambassadors' Painting from Afrasiyab, Samarkand, showing men on a camel, 7th century AD
Sogdians in a religious procession, a 5th–6th-century tomb mural discovered at Tung-wan City.
Sogdian donors to the Buddha
A Sogdian gilded silver dish with the image of a tiger, with clear influence from Persian Sasanian art and silverwares, 7th to 8th centuries AD
Silk road figure head, probably Sogdian, Chinese Sui Dynasty (581–618), Musée Cernuschi, Paris
A minted coin of Khunak, king of Bukhara, early 8th century, showing the crowned king on the obverse, and a Zoroastrian fire altar on the reverse
Pranidhi scene, temple 9 (Cave 20) of the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Turfan, Xinjiang, China, 9th century AD, with kneeling figures praying in front of the Buddha who Albert von Le Coq assumed were Persian people (German: "Perser"), noting their Caucasian features and green eyes, and comparing the hat of the man on the left (in the green coat) to headgear worn by Sasanian Persian princes. However, modern scholarship has identified [[:File:BezeklikSogdianMerchants.jpg|praṇidhi scenes of the same temple]] (No. 9) as depicting Sogdians, who inhabited Turfan as an ethnic minority during the phases of Tang Chinese (7th–8th century) and Uyghur rule (9th–13th century).
Central Asian foreigner worshipping Maitreya, Cave 188
The tomb of Wirkak, a Sogdian official in China. Built in Xi'an in 580 AD, during the Northern Zhou dynasty. Xi'an City Museum.
A Tang Dynasty sancai statuette of Sogdian merchants riding on a Bactrian camel, 723 AD, Xi'an.
Epitaph in Sogdian by the sons of Wirkak, a Sogdian merchant and official who died in China in 580 CE.
Sogdians, depicted on the Anyang funerary bed, a Sogdian sarcophagus in China during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550–577 AD). Guimet Museum.
Shiva (with trisula), attended by Sogdian devotees. Penjikent, 7th–8th century AD. Hermitage Museum.
Contract written in Sogdian for the purchase of a slave in 639 CE, Astana Tomb No. 135.
Sogdian musicians and attendants on the tomb of Wirkak, 580 AD.
Dragon-King Mabi saving traders, Cave 14, Kizil Caves
Two-headed dragon capturing traders, Cave 17
Sab leading the way for the 500 traders, Kizil Cave 17.

Sogdia (Sogdian: soɣd) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian civilization between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, and in present-day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Sogdiana was also a province of the Achaemenid Empire, and listed on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great.

Uzbekistan

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Doubly landlocked country located in Central Asia.

Doubly landlocked country located in Central Asia.

Female statuette wearing the kaunakes. Chlorite and limestone, Bactria, beginning of the second millennium BC
Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus. Mosaic in the National Archaeological Museum, Naples.
Triumphant crowd at Registan, Sher-Dor Madrasah. The Emir of Bukhara viewing the severed heads of Russian soldiers on poles. Painting by Vasily Vereshchagin (1872).
Russian troops taking Samarkand in 1868, by Nikolay Karazin.
Two Sart men and two Sart boys in Samarkand, c. 1910
Map of Uzbekistan, including the former Aral Sea.
Uzbekistan map of Köppen climate classification
Cotton picking near Kyzyl-Kala, Karakalpakstan.
Map of flooded areas as a result of the collapse of the Sardoba Reservoir
Comparison of the Aral Sea between 1989 and 2014
The Legislative Chamber of Uzbekistan (Lower House).
Islam Karimov, the first President of Uzbekistan, during a visit to the Pentagon in 2002
President Islam Karimov with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Samarkand in November 2015
Leaders present at the SCO summit in Ufa, Russia in 2015
Political Map of Uzbekistan
A proportional representation of Uzbekistan exports, 2019
Yodgorlik silk factory
Bread sellers in Urgut
Population pyramid 2016
Newlywed couples visit Tamerlane's statues to receive wedding blessings.
Uzbek children
Shakh-i Zindeh mosque, Samarkand
Mosque of Bukhara
Bukharan Jews, c. 1899
A page in Uzbek language written in Nastaʿlīq script printed in Tashkent 1911
Central Station of Tashkent
The Afrosiyob high-speed train
Uzbek troops during a cooperative operation exercise
Traditional Uzbek pottery
Navoi Opera Theater in Tashkent
Embroidery from Uzbekistan
Silk and Spice Festival in Bukhara
Palov
Uzbek manti
Milliy Stadium in Tashkent.

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.

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.

Bactria

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Ancient region in Central Asia.

Ancient region in Central Asia.

Bactria between the Hindu Kush (south), Pamirs (east), south branch of Tianshan (north).
Ferghana Valley to the north; western Tarim Basin to the east.
Xerxes I tomb, Bactrian soldier circa 470 BCE.
Pre-Seleucid Athenian owl imitation from Bactria, possibly from the time of Sophytes.
Gold stater of the Greco-Bactrian king Eucratides
Map of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom at its maximum extent, circa 180 BCE.
The founder of the Indo-Greek Kingdom Demetrius I (205–171 BCE), wearing the scalp of an elephant, symbol of his conquest of the Indus valley.
The treasure of the royal burial Tillia tepe is attributed to 1st century BCE Sakas in Bactria.
Zhang Qian taking leave from emperor Han Wudi, for his expedition to Central Asia from 138 to 126 BCE, Mogao Caves mural, 618–712 CE.
Kushan worshipper with Zeus/Serapis/Ohrmazd, Bactria, 3rd century CE.
Kushan worshipper with Pharro, Bactria, 3rd century CE.
Painted clay and alabaster head of a Zoroastrian priest wearing a distinctive Bactrian-style headdress, Takhti-Sangin, Tajikistan, Greco-Bactrian kingdom, 3rd-2nd century BC.

More broadly, Bactria was the area which was located north of the Hindu Kush, west of the Pamirs and south of the Tian Shan, covering modern-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well, with the Amu Darya flowing west through the centre.

One of the early centres of Zoroastrianism and capital of the legendary Kayanian kings of Iran, Bactria is mentioned in the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great as one of the satrapies of the Achaemenid Empire; it was a special satrapy and was ruled by a crown prince or an intended heir.

Woven silk textile from Tomb No. 1 at Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan province, China, dated to the Western Han Era, 2nd century BCE

Silk Road

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Network of Eurasian trade routes active from the second century BCE until the mid-15th century.

Network of Eurasian trade routes active from the second century BCE until the mid-15th century.

Woven silk textile from Tomb No. 1 at Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan province, China, dated to the Western Han Era, 2nd century BCE
Chinese jade and steatite plaques, in the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes. 4th–3rd century BCE. British Museum.
Achaemenid Persian Empire at its greatest extent, showing the Royal Road.
Soldier with a centaur in the Sampul tapestry, wool wall hanging, 3rd–2nd century BCE, Xinjiang Museum, Urumqi, Xinjiang, China.
A ceramic horse head and neck (broken from the body), from the Chinese Eastern Han dynasty (1st–2nd century CE)
Bronze coin of Constantius II (337–361), found in Karghalik, Xinjiang, China
The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism: Mahayana Buddhism first entered the Chinese Empire (Han dynasty) during the Kushan Era. The overland and maritime "Silk Roads" were interlinked and complementary, forming what scholars have called the "great circle of Buddhism".
Central Asia during Roman times, with the first Silk Road
A Westerner on a camel, Northern Wei dynasty (386–534)
Map showing Byzantium along with the other major silk road powers during China's Southern dynasties period of fragmentation.
Coin of Constans II (r. 641–648), who is named in Chinese sources as the first of several Byzantine emperors to send embassies to the Chinese Tang dynasty
A Chinese sancai statue of a Sogdian man with a wineskin, Tang dynasty (618–907)
The empires and city-states of the Horn of Africa, such as the Axumites were important trading partners in the ancient Silk Road.
After the Tang defeated the Gokturks, they reopened the Silk Road to the west.
Marco Polo's caravan on the Silk Road, 1380
Map of Eurasia and Africa showing trade networks, c. 870
The Round city of Baghdad between 767 and 912 was the most important urban node along the Silk Road.
A lion motif on Sogdian polychrome silk, 8th century, most likely from Bukhara
Yuan Dynasty era Celadon vase from Mogadishu.
Map of Marco Polo's travels in 1271–1295
Port cities on the maritime silk route featured on the voyages of Zheng He.
Plan of the Silk Road with its maritime branch
Yangshan Port of Shanghai, China
Port of Trieste
Trans-Eurasia Logistics
The Silk Road in the 1st century
The Nestorian Stele, created in 781, describes the introduction of Nestorian Christianity to China
Fragment of a wall painting depicting Buddha from a stupa in Miran along the Silk Road (200AD - 400AD)
A blue-eyed Central Asian monk teaching an East-Asian monk, Bezeklik, Turfan, eastern Tarim Basin, China, 9th century; the monk on the right is possibly Tocharian, although more likely Sogdian.
Bilingual edict (Greek and Aramaic) by Indian Buddhist King Ashoka, 3rd century BCE; see Edicts of Ashoka, from Kandahar. This edict advocates the adoption of "godliness" using the Greek term Eusebeia for Dharma. Kabul Museum.
A statue depicting Buddha giving a sermon, from Sarnath, 3000 km southwest of Urumqi, Xinjiang, 8th century
Iconographical evolution of the Wind God. Left: Greek Wind God from Hadda, 2nd century. Middle: Wind God from Kizil, Tarim Basin, 7th century. Right: Japanese Wind God Fujin, 17th century.
Caravanserai of Sa'd al-Saltaneh
Sultanhani caravanserai
Shaki Caravanserai, Shaki, Azerbaijan
Two-Storeyed Caravanserai, Baku, Azerbaijan
Bridge in Ani, capital of medieval Armenia
Taldyk pass
Medieval fortress of Amul, Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan
Zeinodin Caravanserai
Sogdian man on a Bactrian camel, sancai ceramic glaze, Chinese Tang dynasty (618–907)
The ruins of a Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) Chinese watchtower made of rammed earth at Dunhuang, Gansu province
A late Zhou or early Han Chinese bronze mirror inlaid with glass, perhaps incorporated Greco-Roman artistic patterns
A Chinese Western Han dynasty (202 BCE – 9 CE) bronze rhinoceros with gold and silver inlay
Han dynasty Granary west of Dunhuang on the Silk Road.
Green Roman glass cup unearthed from an Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE) tomb, Guangxi, southern China

475 BCE), the Royal Road of the Persian Empire ran some 2857 km from the city of Susa on the Karun (250 km east of the Tigris) to the port of Smyrna (modern İzmir in Turkey) on the Aegean Sea.

The Greeks remained in Central Asia for the next three centuries, first through the administration of the Seleucid Empire, and then with the establishment of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (250–125 BCE) in Bactria (modern Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan) and the later Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BCE – 10 CE) in modern Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.

An 8th century Tang dynasty Chinese clay figurine of a Sogdian man wearing a distinctive cap and face veil, possibly a camel rider or even a Zoroastrian priest engaging in a ritual at a fire temple, since face veils were used to avoid contaminating the holy fire with breath or saliva; Museum of Oriental Art (Turin), Italy.

Zoroastrianism

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Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster .

Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster .

An 8th century Tang dynasty Chinese clay figurine of a Sogdian man wearing a distinctive cap and face veil, possibly a camel rider or even a Zoroastrian priest engaging in a ritual at a fire temple, since face veils were used to avoid contaminating the holy fire with breath or saliva; Museum of Oriental Art (Turin), Italy.
Painted clay and alabaster head of a Zoroastrian priest wearing a distinctive Bactrian-style headdress, Takhti-Sangin, Tajikistan, Greco-Bactrian kingdom, 3rd–2nd century BCE
The Tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae, Iran.
A scene from the Hamzanama where Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib Burns Zarthust's Chest and Shatters the Urn with his Ashes
The fire temple of Baku, c. 1860
Fire Temple of Yazd
Museum of Zoroastrians in Kerman
A Special Container Carrying The Holy Fire from Aden to the Lonavala Agiary, India
A modern Zoroastrian fire temple in Western India
Sadeh in Tehran, 2011
Map of the Achaemenid Empire in the 5th century BCE
Reconstruction of the Sassanid model of Fire Temple of Kashmar is located near the historical complex of Atashgah Castle
Faravahar (or Ferohar), one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism, believed to be the depiction of a Fravashi or the Khvarenah.
A Parsi Wedding, 1905
The sacred Zoroastrian pilgrimage shrine of Chak Chak in Yazd, Iran.
Parsi Navjote ceremony (rites of admission into the Zoroastrian faith)

The Histories is a primary source of information on the early period of the Achaemenid era (648–330 BCE), in particular with respect to the role of the Magi.

At the request of the government of Tajikistan, UNESCO declared 2003 a year to celebrate the "3000th anniversary of Zoroastrian culture", with special events throughout the world.

Bibi Khanym Mosque

Samarkand

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City in southeastern Uzbekistan and among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia.

City in southeastern Uzbekistan and among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia.

Bibi Khanym Mosque
Bibi Khanym Mosque
Ancient city walls of Samarkand, 4th century BCE
Alexander Slaying Cleitus in Samarkand
Turkic officers during a audience with king Varkhuman of Samarkand. 648-651 CE, Afrasiyab murals, Samarkand.
Coin of Sogdian ruler Turgar, last Ikhshid of Samarkand, Penjikent, 8th century CE, National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan.
Shah-i Zinda memorial complex, 11th -15th centuries
Ruins of Afrasiab - ancient Samarkand destroyed by Genghis Khan.
Shakhi Zinda mausoleums in Samarkand
Bibi-Khanym Friday Mosque, 1399-1404
Ulugbek's madrasa in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Registan Ensemble and Square
Khazrat Hizr mosque, 1854
Samarkand in 1890
Bazaar in Samarkand, illustration by Léon Benett for a Jules Verne novel
Samarkand, by Richard-Karl Karlovitch Zommer
Samarkand from space in September 2013.
Triumph by Vasily Vereshchagin, depicting the Sher-Dor Madrasa in Registan.
Greeting in two languages: Uzbek (Latin) and Tajik (Cyrillic) at the entrance to one of the mahallahs (Bo'zi) of Samarkand
Downtown with Bibi-Khanym Mosque in 1990s
Provinces of the Church of the East in 10th century
Building the Great Mosque of Samarkand. Illustration by Bihzad for the Zafar-Nameh. Text copied in Herat in 1467–68 and illuminated c. the late 1480s. John Work Garret Collection, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Fols. 359v-36or.
Ulugh Beg Madrasah
Shirdar Madrasa
Tilya Kori Madrasah
Ulugh Beg Madrasah courtyard
Tiger on the Sher-Dor Madrasah iwan
Imam Bukhari Shrine
Imam Maturidi Shrine
Ruhabad Mausoleum
Nuriddin Basir Shrine
Khoja Daniyar Mausoleum
Panjab Shia Mosque
Panjab Madrasa
Murad Avliya Shrine
Orthodox Cathedral of St. Alexiy Moscowskiy
Orthodox Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin
Orthodox Church of St. George the Victorious
Orthodox Church of St. George Pobedonosets
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
Armenian Church Surb Astvatsatsin
Shahi Zinda Ensemble
Gure Amir (Shrine of Timur and Timurids)
Aqsaray Timurids Mausoleum
Bibi Khanum Mausoleum
Ishratkhana Mausoleum
Makhsum Baba Mausoleum
Murad Avliya Shrine
Abdu Darun Complex
Abdu Berun Complex
Chorsu (domed market)
Ulughbek Observatory
Ulughbek Madrasa
Tilla Kari Madrasa
Khoja Ahrar Madrasa
Bibi Khanum Mosque
Namazgah Mosque
Hazrat Hizir Mosque
Khoja Nisbatdar Mosque
Many yellow taxis on the streets of Samarkand
Taxi and tram on Rudaki Street in Samarkand
Tram in Samarkand
Beruni and Rudaki Streets in Samarkand
Taxi and bus on Mirzo Ulughbek Avenue in Samarkand
"Araba" and donkey in Samarkand in 1890
Samarkand railway station in 1890
"Araba" in Samarkand in 1964
"Araba" in Samarkand in 1964
Samarkand railway station
Afrasiyab (Talgo 250) high-speed train in Samarkand railway station
In Samarkand railway station
Afrasiyab (Talgo 250) high-speed train
Khoja Ahrar Madrasa

By the time of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, it was the capital of the Sogdian satrapy.

The Tajikistan border is about 35 km from Samarkand; the Tajik capital Dushanbe is 210 km away from Samarkand.

Pakistan

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Country in South Asia.

Country in South Asia.

Indus Priest King Statue from Mohenjo-Daro.
Standing Buddha from Gandhara, Greco-Buddhist art, 1st–2nd century AD.
Badshahi Mosque, Lahore
Clock Tower, Faisalabad, built by the British government in the 19th century
Queen Elizabeth II was the last monarch of independent Pakistan, before it became a republic in 1956.
Signing of the Tashkent Declaration to end hostilities with India in 1965 in Tashkent, USSR, by President Ayub alongside Bhutto (centre) and Aziz Ahmed (left)
President George W. Bush meets with President Musharraf in Islamabad during his 2006 visit to Pakistan.
The Friday Prayers at the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore
A satellite image showing the topography of Pakistan
Köppen climate classification of Pakistan
Parliament House
Prime Minister's Office
Supreme Court of Pakistan
President of Pakistan Ayub Khan with US President John F. Kennedy in 1961
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the 2019 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit
Pakistan Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai signing the Treaty of Friendship Between China and Pakistan. Pakistan is host to China's largest embassy.
The areas shown in green are the Pakistani-controlled areas.
Hunza Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region is part of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.
Pakistan Air Force's JF-17 Thunder flying in front of the 26660 ft Nanga Parbat
Statue of a bull outside the Pakistan Stock Exchange, Islamabad, Pakistan
Surface mining in Sindh. Pakistan has been termed the 'Saudi Arabia of Coal' by Forbes.
Television assembly factory in Lahore. Pakistan's industrial sector accounts for about 20.3% of the GDP, and is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises.
Rising skyline of Karachi with several under construction skyscrapers.
Lake Saiful Muluk, located at the northern end of the Kaghan Valley, near the town of Naran in the Saiful Muluk National Park.
Badshahi Mosque was commissioned by the Mughals in 1671. It is listed as a World Heritage Site.
Tarbela Dam, the largest earth filled dam in the world, was constructed in 1968.
Pakistan produced 1,135 megawatts of renewable energy for the month of October 2016. Pakistan expects to produce 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy by the beginning of 2019.
The motorway passes through the Salt Range mountains
Karachi Cantonment railway station
Port of Karachi is one of South Asia's largest and busiest deep-water seaports, handling about 60% of the nation's cargo (25 million tons per annum)
Orange Line Metro Train, Lahore
Track of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metrobus with adjoining station
Nagan Chowrangi Flyover, Karachi
Central Library of University of Sargodha
Literacy rate in Pakistan 1951–2018
Malala Yousafzai at the Women of the World festival in 2014.
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Pakistan hosts the second largest refugee population globally after Turkey. An Afghan refugee girl near Tarbela Dam
Kalma Underpass, Lahore
Faisal Mosque, built in 1986 by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay on behalf of King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia
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Havana at Shri Hinglaj Mata temple shakti peetha, the largest Hindu pilgrimage centre in Pakistan. The annual Hinglaj Yathra is attended by more than 250,000 people.
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Sacred Heart Cathedral, Lahore
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Truck art is a distinctive feature of Pakistani culture.
People in traditional clothing in Neelum District
Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan's national poet who conceived the idea of Pakistan
The Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam is part of Pakistan's Sufi heritage.
Minar-e-Pakistan is a national monument marking Pakistan's independence movement.
Located on the bank of Arabian Sea in Karachi, Port Grand is one of the largest food streets of Asia.
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore is the 3rd largest cricket stadium in Pakistan with a seating capacity of 27,000 spectators.
President George W. Bush meets with President Musharraf in Islamabad during his 2006 visit to Pakistan.
Minar-e-Pakistan is a national monument marking Pakistan's independence movement.

It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

The region that comprises the modern state of Pakistan was the realm of multiple empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid; briefly that of Alexander the Great; the Seleucid, the Maurya, the Kushan, the Gupta; the Umayyad Caliphate in its southern regions, the Hindu Shahis, the Ghaznavids, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals, the Durranis, the Sikh Empire, British East India Company rule, and most recently, the British Indian Empire from 1858 to 1947.

Fergana Valley on map showing Sakastan about 100BC

Fergana Valley

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Fergana Valley on map showing Sakastan about 100BC
Probable Greek soldier in the Sampul tapestry, woollen wall hanging, 3rd-2nd century BC, Sampul, Urumqi Xinjiang Museum.
Ancient cities of Bactria. Fergana, to the top right, formed a periphery to these less powerful cities and states.
The tomb of Ali at Shakhimardan
Babur, the Turco-Mongol founder of the Mughal dynasty, was a native of Andijan in the Fergana Valley.
Khan's Palace, Kokand.
Soviet negotiations with basmachi, Fergana, 1921
Confluence of Naryn and Kara Darya seen from space (false color). Many irrigated agricultural fields can be seen.
The Syr Darya river bridge at Khujand, Tajikistan, in the far west of the Fergana Valley.

The Fergana Valley (Фергана өрөөнү; Фарғона водийси/Farg'ona vodiysi; водии Фарғона, Vodii Farg'ona) in Central Asia lies mainly in eastern Uzbekistan, but also extends into southern Kyrgyzstan and northern Tajikistan.

As early as 500 BC, the western sections of the Fergana Valley formed part of the Sogdiana region, which was ruled from further west and owed fealty to the Achaemenid Empire at the time of Darius the Great.

Ancient Persian attire worn by soldiers and a nobleman. The History of Costume by Braun & Scheider (1861–1880).

Persians

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Iranian ethnic group who comprise over half of the population of Iran.

Iranian ethnic group who comprise over half of the population of Iran.

Ancient Persian attire worn by soldiers and a nobleman. The History of Costume by Braun & Scheider (1861–1880).
Map of the Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent.
Ancient Persian and Greek soldiers as depicted on a color reconstruction of the 4th-century BC Alexander Sarcophagus.
A bas-relief at Naqsh-e Rustam depicting the victory of Sasanian ruler Shapur I over Roman ruler Valerian and Philip the Arab.
Old Persian inscribed in cuneiform on the Behistun Inscription.
A Persian carpet kept at the Louvre.
Dancers and musical instrument players depicted on a Sasanian silver bowl from the 5th-7th century AD.
5th-century BC Achaemenid gold vessels. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
Ancient Iranian goddess Anahita depicted on a Sasanian silver vessel. Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland.
Sasanian marble bust. National Museum of Iran, Tehran.
17th-century Persian potteries from Isfahan. Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.
Ruins of the Tachara, Persepolis.
Tomb of Cyrus, Pasargadae.
The Sasanian reliefs at Taq-e Bostan.
Shapur-Khwast Castle, Khorramabad.
Shah Square, Isfahan.
Eram Garden, Shiraz.
Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz.
Shazdeh Garden, Kerman.
One of the first actions performed by Shāh Ismā'īl I of the Safavid dynasty was the proclamation of the Twelver denomination of Shīʿa Islam as the official religion of his newly-founded Persian Empire.

In contemporary terminology, people from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan who natively speak the Persian language are known as Tajiks, with the former two countries having their own dialects of Persian known as Dari and Tajiki, respectively; whereas those in the Caucasus (primarily in the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan and Dagestan, Russia), albeit heavily assimilated, are known as Tats.

Although Persis (Persia proper) was only one of the provinces of ancient Iran, varieties of this term (e.g., Persia) were adopted through Greek sources and used as an exonym for all of the Persian Empire for many years.