Currently, Afrasiab is a wide open hill, adjacent to the northern border of modern Samarkand, a total area of 219 hectares. The northern part of the hill borders the ditch Siyab. On the south side Afrasiab is adjacent to the so-called “old town”. July 13, 1996 a special decision of the government of Uzbekistan declared Afrasiab a “State archaeological reserve”. Archaeological materials of VIII-V. BC found in Afrasiab show that Samarkand was formed as one of the urban centres of Sogdiana. During the time of the Kushan Empire (III-I century BC.), the city grew rapidly, it was surrounded by a double defensive wall. Tight cultural layer remained in the north of Afrasiab in the elevated part of the citadel. According to the written sources and archaeological materials in that period the Great Silk Road went through Samarkand, domestic and foreign trade, as well as handicrafts developed rapidly. In the early Middle Ages Samarkand became the main city of Sogdiana, social and economic life were undergoing fundamental changes.
The economies of wealthy landowners developed, the northern part of the city was surrounded by a protective wall.
Carved ganch palaces, houses of noble farmers, landowners, mosques and madrassahs, baths and waterworks, cobbled streets of the Samanid era are found in Afrasiab. Ancient Samarkand was originally called “Khisori Kukhna” (Ancient Khisor), “Kalai Khisor” (castle Hisar), then from the XVII century “fortress Afrasiab” or “Afrasiab”.
In the archaeological excavations in Afrasiab unique examples of monumental paintings and about 30 palatial rooms were found. Most of the rooms are decorated with wall paintings and ornaments. Among them paintings in a large (11 x 11 m) and small (7 x 7 m) rooms are relatively well preserved. One of the rooms depicts a man and a woman sitting at the citadel. The walls of the large room are rich in picturesque details: the wedding ceremony, the process of receiving foreign ambassadors by ruler of Sogd, adventures of ambassadors on the way, battle with predators, hunting panorama, mythical creatures. The monumental painting of Afrasiab gives an idea of the level of development of art of Central Asia in the period before the Arab invasion, and confirms that Samarkand was the centre of art.
The ancient ruins of Afrasiab are valuable to travellers visiting this place by the presence of the living testimony of history of cultural life of our country.
Location: Samarkand, Tashkent Yuli Street, 7.
Working hours: from 08.00 to 18.00.
Tel .: 8 (366) 235-53-36; 99 893 680-40-21