Samarcand', a city of western Turkestan, on the Transcaspian railway, 4 miles S. of the Zeraf-shan river, and amongst the western spurs of the Tian-Shan Mountains, 130 miles E. by S. of Bokhara and 150 N. by E. of Balkh. It is the ancient Marcanda, the capital of Sogdiana, which was destroyed by Alexander the Great. It was captured in 712 a.d. by the Arabs, and has ever since been a sacred city in the eyes of the Moslems, especially after Timur made it his capital in the 14th century. It had, however, suffered terribly from Genghis Khan, who took it (1219) and destroyed three-fourths of its 500,000 inhabitants. In Timur's time it had a pop. of 150,000. The Ulug-beg College, the tombs of Timur and his wives, and two other colleges, the Tilla-Kari and Shir-dar, both dating from the beginning of the 17th century, are magnificent structures. In the 15th century Samarcand was renowned as a school of astronomy and mathematics. In 1868 it was taken from Bokhara by the Russians, who have built a citadel on a steep hill 4 miles in circuit, and have laid out a handsome new town to the west of it. On the other side of the citadel is the old city, walled, with dark and narrow streets, and dirty houses. Pop. 55,000.