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While a certain extremist group has been systemically destroying precious ancient monuments in the middle-east, one Islamic city in Central Asia has been carefully restoring and preserving its own. The city is Samarkand, Uzbekistan's third largest city, and one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia.

Found in the 8th or 9th century BCE, Samarkand has a long and tumultuous history starting from the time when Alexander the Great passed through it in the 4th century BCE. Since then the city has been seized and ruled by Persians, Greeks, Turks, Mongols, Chinese and Russians. The Chinese scholar-travellers Faxian and Xuanzang, the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta, and Marco Polo all wrote about the city. In the 13th century, Genghis Khan laid the city to waste. It was Timur, the founder and ruler of the Timurid Empire, who had the city rebuilt.

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The Bibi-Khanym mosque before restoration (left) and after restoration in 1974 (right). Photo credit: RFERL.org

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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