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A city in eastern Uzbekistan, one of the oldest cities of Asia, founded in the 3rd or 4th millennium bc. It grew to prominence as a prosperous centre of the silk trade, situated on the Silk Road, and in the 14th century became the capital of Tamerlane's Mongol empire; it may be taken as the object of an arduous but worthwhile journey, as in Flecker's poem The Golden Journey to Samarkand (1913).

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