A report on Uzbekistan and Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
Female statuette wearing the kaunakes. Chlorite and limestone, Bactria, beginning of the second millennium BC
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
Family tree of the Achaemenid rulers.
Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus. Mosaic in the National Archaeological Museum, Naples.
Map of the expansion process of Achaemenid territories
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).
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.
Russian troops taking Samarkand in 1868, by Nikolay Karazin.
The tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. At Pasargadae, Iran.
Two Sart men and two Sart boys in Samarkand, c. 1910
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent, c. 500 BC
Map of Uzbekistan, including the former Aral Sea.
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
Uzbekistan map of Köppen climate classification
Map showing events of the first phases of the Greco-Persian Wars
Cotton picking near Kyzyl-Kala, Karakalpakstan.
Greek hoplite and Persian warrior depicted fighting, on an ancient kylix, 5th century BC
Map of flooded areas as a result of the collapse of the Sardoba Reservoir
Achaemenid king fighting hoplites, seal and seal holder, Cimmerian Bosporus.
Comparison of the Aral Sea between 1989 and 2014
Achaemenid gold ornaments, Brooklyn Museum
The Legislative Chamber of Uzbekistan (Lower House).
Persian Empire timeline including important events and territorial evolution – 550–323 BC
Islam Karimov, the first President of Uzbekistan, during a visit to the Pentagon in 2002
Relief showing Darius I offering lettuces to the Egyptian deity Amun-Ra Kamutef, Temple of Hibis
President Islam Karimov with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Samarkand in November 2015
The 24 countries subject to the Achaemenid Empire at the time of Darius, on the Egyptian statue of Darius I.
Leaders present at the SCO summit in Ufa, Russia in 2015
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
Political Map of Uzbekistan
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
A proportional representation of Uzbekistan exports, 2019
Frataraka dynasty ruler Vadfradad I (Autophradates I). 3rd century BC. Istakhr (Persepolis) mint.
Yodgorlik silk factory
Dārēv I (Darios I) used for the first time the title of mlk (King). 2nd century BC.
Bread sellers in Urgut
Winged sphinx from the Palace of Darius in Susa, Louvre
Population pyramid 2016
Daric of Artaxerxes II
Newlywed couples visit Tamerlane's statues to receive wedding blessings.
Volume of annual tribute per district, in the Achaemenid Empire, according to Herodotus.
Uzbek children
Achaemenid tax collector, calculating on an Abax or Abacus, according to the Darius Vase (340–320 BC).
Shakh-i Zindeh mosque, Samarkand
Letter from the Satrap of Bactria to the governor of Khulmi, concerning camel keepers, 353 BC
Mosque of Bukhara
Relief of throne-bearing soldiers in their native clothing at the tomb of Xerxes I, demonstrating the satrapies under his rule.
Bukharan Jews, c. 1899
Achaemenid king killing a Greek hoplite. c. 500 BC–475 BC, at the time of Xerxes I. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A page in Uzbek language written in Nastaʿlīq script printed in Tashkent 1911
Persian soldiers (left) fighting against Scythians. Cylinder seal impression.
Central Station of Tashkent
Color reconstruction of Achaemenid infantry on the Alexander Sarcophagus (end of 4th century BC).
The Afrosiyob high-speed train
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.
Uzbek troops during a cooperative operation exercise
Achaemenid calvalryman in the satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia, Altıkulaç Sarcophagus, early 4th century BC.
Traditional Uzbek pottery
Armoured cavalry: Achaemenid Dynast of Hellespontine Phrygia attacking a Greek psiloi, Altıkulaç Sarcophagus, early 4th century BC.
Navoi Opera Theater in Tashkent
Reconstitution of Persian landing ships at the Battle of Marathon.
Embroidery from Uzbekistan
Greek ships against Achaemenid ships at the Battle of Salamis.
Silk and Spice Festival in Bukhara
Iconic relief of lion and bull fighting, Apadana of Persepolis
Palov
Achaemenid golden bowl with lioness imagery of Mazandaran
Uzbek manti
The ruins of Persepolis
Milliy Stadium in Tashkent.
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 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.

- Uzbekistan

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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Overall

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.

Tajikistan

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Landlocked country in Central Asia.

Landlocked country in Central Asia.

The Samanid ruler Mansur I (961–976)
19th-century painting of lake Zorkul and a local Tajik inhabitant
Soviet negotiations with basmachi, 1921
Soviet Tajikistan in 1964
Spetsnaz soldiers during the civil war, 1992
The Palace of Nations in Dushanbe
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon has ruled the country since 1994.
Supreme Assembly in Dushanbe.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Satellite photograph of Tajikistan
Tajikistan map of Köppen climate classification
Mountains of Tajikistan
Karakul lake
A proportional representation of Tajikistan exports, 2019
A Tajik dry fruit seller
The TadAZ aluminium smelting plant, in Tursunzoda, is the largest aluminium manufacturing plant in Central Asia, and Tajikistan's chief industrial asset.
Real GPD per capita development of Tajikistan
Tajikistan: trends in its Human Development Index indicator 1970–2010
Group of Tajik women
Nowruz celebrations in Tajikistan
Tajik traditional dress
A mosque in Isfara, Tajikistan
A hospital in Dushanbe
Tajik National University in Dushanbe
Tajikistan is a popular destination amongst mountaineers. 1982 expedition to Tartu Ülikool 350.
Ambassador to the Tang dynasty, coming from Kumedh (胡密丹), Tajikistan. Wanghuitu (王会图) circa 650 CE.

It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north and China to the east.

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

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.

Most infamously, Alexander personally killed the man who had saved his life at Granicus, Cleitus the Black, during a violent drunken altercation at Maracanda (modern day Samarkand in Uzbekistan), in which Cleitus accused Alexander of several judgmental mistakes and most especially, of having forgotten the Macedonian ways in favour of a corrupt oriental lifestyle.

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 Persian Samanid Empire (819–999) centered in Bukhara (Uzbekistan) continued the trade legacy of the Sogdians.

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.

Sasanian Empire

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The last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the.

The last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the.

The Sasanian Empire at its greatest extent c. 620, under Khosrow II
Initial coinage of founder Ardashir I, as King of Persis Artaxerxes (Ardaxsir) V. c. 205/6–223/4 CE. Obv: Bearded facing head, wearing diadem and Parthian-style tiara, legend "The divine Ardaxir, king" in Pahlavi. Rev: Bearded head of Papak, wearing diadem and Parthian-style tiara, legend "son of the divinity Papak, king" in Pahlavi.
The Sasanian Empire at its greatest extent c. 620, under Khosrow II
1840 illustration of a Sasanian relief at Firuzabad, showing Ardashir I's victory over Artabanus IV and his forces.
Rock relief of Ardashir I receiving the ring of kingship by the Zoroastrian supreme god Ahura Mazda.
Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rostam of Persian emperor Shapur I (on horseback) capturing Roman emperor Valerian (standing) and Philip the Arab (kneeling), suing for peace, following the victory at Edessa.
The Humiliation of Valerian by Shapur (Hans Holbein the Younger, 1521, pen and black ink on a chalk sketch, Kunstmuseum Basel)
The spread of Manichaeism (300–500)
Rome and satellite kingdom of Armenia around 300, after Narseh's defeat
Bust of Shapur II ((r. 309 – 379))
Early Alchon Huns coin based on the coin design of Shapur II, adding the Alchon Tamgha symbol Alchon_Tamga.png and "Alchono" (αλχοννο) in Bactrian script on the obverse. Dated 400–440.
Bahram V is a great favourite in Persian literature and poetry. "Bahram and the Indian princess in the black pavilion." Depiction of a Khamsa (Quintet) by the great Persian poet Nizami, mid-16th-century Safavid era.
A coin of Yazdegerd II
Plate of Peroz I hunting argali
Plate of a Sasanian king hunting rams, perhaps Kavad I ((r. 488 – 496)).
Plate depicting Khosrow I.
15th-century Shahnameh illustration of Hormizd IV seated on his throne.
Coin of Khosrow II.
The Siege of Constantinople in 626 by the combined Sassanid, Avar, and Slavic forces depicted on the murals of the Moldovița Monastery, Romania
Queen Boran, daughter of Khosrau II, the first woman and one of the last rulers on the throne of the Sasanian Empire, she reigned from 17 June 629 to 16 June 630
Extent of the Sasanian Empire in 632 with modern borders superimposed
Umayyad Caliphate coin imitating Khosrau II. Coin of the time of Mu'awiya I ibn Abi Sufyan. BCRA (Basra) mint; "Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, governor". Dated AH 56 = 675/6. Sasanian style bust imitating Khosrau II right; bismillah and three pellets in margin; c/m: winged creature right / Fire altar with ribbons and attendants; star and crescent flanking flames; date to left, mint name to right.
The Walls of Derbent, part of the Sasanian defense lines
Sasanian army helmet
A Sassanid king posing as an armored cavalryman, Taq-e Bostan, Iran
Sassanian silver plate showing lance combat between two nobles.
A fine cameo showing an equestrian combat of Shapur I and Roman emperor Valerian in which the Roman emperor is seized following the Battle of Edessa, according to Shapur's own statement, "with our own hand", in 260
Sassanian fortress in Derbent, Dagestan. Now inscribed on Russia's UNESCO world heritage list since 2003.
Egyptian woven pattern woolen curtain or trousers, which was a copy of a Sassanid silk import, which was in turn based on a fresco of King Khosrau II fighting Axum Ethiopian forces in Yemen, 5–6th century
Persian ambassador at the Chinese court of Emperor Yuan of Liang in his capital Jingzhou in 526-539 CE, with explanatory text. Portraits of Periodical Offering of Liang, 11th century Song copy.
Coin of the Kushanshah Peroz II Kushanshah ((r. 303 – 330))
Foreign dignitary drinking wine, on ceiling of Cave 1, at Ajanta Caves, possibly depicting the Sasanian embassy to Indian king Pulakesin II (610–642), photograph and drawing.
Taq-i Kisra, the facade of the Sasanian palace in the capital Ctesiphon. The city developed into a rich commercial metropolis. It may have been the most populous city of the world in 570–622.
Plate of a Sasanian king, located in the Azerbaijan Museum in Iran.
A bowl with Khosrau I's image at the center
Horse head, gilded silver, 4th century, Sasanian art
A Sasanian silver plate featuring a simurgh. The mythical bird was used as the royal emblem in the Sasanian period.
A Sasanian silver plate depicting a royal lion hunt
The remains of the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sasanian silk twill textile of a simurgh in a beaded surround, 6th–7th century. Used in the reliquary of Saint Len, Paris
Sasanian sea trade routes
Seal of a Sassanian nobleman holding a flower, ca. 3rd–early 4th century AD.
Ruins of Adur Gushnasp, one of three main Zoroastrian temples in the Sassanian Empire
The Sasanians developed an accurate, phonetic alphabet to write down the sacred Avesta
Sasanian-era cornelian gem, depicting Abraham advancing towards Isaac with a knife in his hands. A ram is depicted to the right of Abraham. Middle Persian (Pahlavi) inscription ZNH mwdly l’styny. Created 4th-5th century AD
A Sasanian fortress in Derbent, Russia (the Caspian Gates)
"Parsees of Bombay" a wood engraving, c. 1873

After defeating the last Parthian shahanshah, Artabanus IV, at the Battle of Hormozdgan in 224, he established the Sasanian dynasty and set out to restore the legacy of the Achaemenid Empire by expanding Iran's dominions.

In 427, he crushed an invasion in the east by the nomadic Hephthalites, extending his influence into Central Asia, where his portrait survived for centuries on the coinage of Bukhara (in modern Uzbekistan).

Bibi Khanym Mosque

Samarkand

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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

Samarkand (Самарқанд, Samarqand, ; Самарқанд; ;, , smʾrknδH), also known as Samarqand, is a city in southeastern Uzbekistan and among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia.

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

Iranian peoples

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The Iranian peoples or Iranic peoples are a diverse grouping of Indo-European peoples who are identified by their usage of the Iranian languages and other cultural similarities.

The Iranian peoples or Iranic peoples are a diverse grouping of Indo-European peoples who are identified by their usage of the Iranian languages and other cultural similarities.

The Bistun Inscription of Darius the Great describes itself to have been composed in Arya [language or script].
Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC). The Andronovo, BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with it. The GGC (Swat), Cemetery H, Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for the same associations.
According to Allentoft (2015), the Sintashta culture probably derived from the Corded Ware culture.
The Andronovo culture's approximate maximal extent, with the formative Sintashta-Petrovka culture (red), the location of the earliest spoke-wheeled chariot finds (purple), and the adjacent and overlapping Afanasevo, Srubna, and BMAC cultures (green).
Scythian horseman, Pazyryk, from a carpet, c. 300 BCE
Extent of Iranian influence in the 1st century BCE. The Parthian Empire (mostly Western Iranian) is shown in red, other areas, dominated by Scythia (Eastern Iranian), in orange.
Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BCE to 486 BCE)
Persepolis: Persian guards
The Eastern Iranian and Balto-Slavic dialect continuums in Eastern Europe, the latter with proposed material cultures correlating to speakers of Balto-Slavic in the Bronze Age (white). Red dots = archaic Slavic hydronyms
Archaeological cultures c. 750 BCE at the start of Eastern-Central Europe's Iron Age; the Proto-Scythian culture borders the Balto-Slavic cultures (Lusatian, Milograd and Chernoles)
Silver coin of the Indo-Scythian king Azes II (reigned c. 35–12 BCE). Buddhist triratna symbol in the left field on the reverse
Hormizd I, Sassanian coin
Nowruz, an ancient Iranian annual festival that is still widely celebrated throughout the Iranian Plateau and beyond, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The ruins at Kangavar, Iran, presumed to belong to a temple dedicated to the ancient goddess Anahita.
Bronze Statue of a Parthian nobleman, National Museum of Iran
A caftan worn by a Sogdian horseman, 8th–10th century
Tajik people from Afghanistan
Tat men from the village of Adur in the Kuba Uyezd of the Baku Governorate of the Russian Empire
Kurdish people celebrating Nowruz, Tangi Sar village.
Population genomic PCA, showing the CIC (Central Iranian cluster) among other worldwide samples.

Later on, in 550 BCE, Cyrus the Great, would overthrow the leading Median rule, and conquer Kingdom of Lydia and the Babylonian Empire after which he established the Achaemenid Empire (or the First Persian Empire), while his successors would dramatically extend its borders.

Currently, most of these Iranian peoples live in Iran, Afghanistan, the Caucasus (mainly Ossetia, other parts of Georgia, Dagestan, and Azerbaijan), Iraqi Kurdistan and Kurdish majority populated areas of Turkey, Iran and Syria, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

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.

Mawara'nnahr, Khwarazm and Greater Khorasan

Khwarazm

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Large oasis region on the Amu Darya river delta in western Central Asia, bordered on the north by the (former) Aral Sea, on the east by the Kyzylkum Desert, on the south by the Karakum Desert, and on the west by the Ustyurt Plateau.

Large oasis region on the Amu Darya river delta in western Central Asia, bordered on the north by the (former) Aral Sea, on the east by the Kyzylkum Desert, on the south by the Karakum Desert, and on the west by the Ustyurt Plateau.

Mawara'nnahr, Khwarazm and Greater Khorasan
Chorasmian frescoe from Kazakly-Yatkan (fortress of Akcha-Khan Kala), 1st century BC-2nd century AD.
Chilpyk Zoroastrian Tower of Silence (Dakhma), 1st century BC – 1st century AD
Xerxes I tomb, Choresmian soldier circa 470 BC.
Location of the main fortresses of the Chorasmian oasis, 4th century BC-6th century AD
Silver bowl from Khwarezm depicting a four-armed goddess seated on a lion, possibly Nana. Dated 658 AD, British Museum. The bowl is similar to that of the Sassanians, who were ruling the region since early 200's. It displays a fusion of Roman-Hellenistic, Indian and Persian cultural influencies.
Khwarezmian Empire
Takash mausoleum in Kunya Urgench, Turkmenistan
Turabek khanum mausoleum in Kunya Urgench, Qunghrat dynasty, 1330, Turkmenistan
Khwarezm (Karasm), on a 1734 French map. The Khanate on the map surrounds the Aral Sea (depicted as much smaller than it actually was in those days) and includes much of the Caspian Sea coast of today's Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan
Emir Timur and his maiden from Khwarezm.
The borders of the Russian imperial territories of Khiva, Bukhara and Kokand in the time period of 1902–1903.
Koi Krylgan Kala fortress (4th-3rd century BC)
Ayaz Kala 1 fortress (4th-3rd century BC)
Toprak-Kala palace city (1st-2nd century AD)
Fortress of Kyzyl-Kala, partially restored (1st-4th century AD)
Ayaz Kala 2 fortress (6th to 8th century AD)
Ossuary Lid, Tok-Kala Necropolis, Alabaster. 7th-8th century AD

Today Khwarazm belongs partly to Uzbekistan and partly to Turkmenistan.

The name also appears in Achaemenid inscriptions as Huvarazmish, which is declared to be part of the Persian Empire.