Silk Road city marks 2,750 years
The ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand has celebrated its 2,750th anniversary with displays of fireworks and dance. Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who was born in Samarkand, praised the city’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
Less than two decades ago the city had its 2,500th birthday but archaeologists recently found texts showing it to be older than first thought.
Samarkand, now Uzbekistan’s second city, was added to the Unesco World Heritage List in 2001.
It was the capital of the Tamerlane Empire, named after a conqueror whose 14th Century Central Asian realm extended from modern-day Iraq to China.
Mr Karimov marked the occasion in the imposing Registan square with 400 Uzbek officials, diplomats and Unesco representatives.
But the public was banned from attending the celebrations, with security police lining Registan for the occasion.
"When we say Samarkand, we imagine a beautiful and great city which enchants the soul of any person... this is a city which you see once and dream to see again," said the president.
"Samarkand rightly stands in the same rank along with such ancient civilisations such as Rome, Athens, and Babylon."