Samarkand is considered to be one of the ancient cities of the world. Its architectural heritage is protected by UNESCO. According to the latest research of the Uzbek and French archeologists, Samarkand was founded 2750 years ago, almost as long ago as Rome. Samarkand was known to the ancient Greeks as Marakanda. The city flourished between the 14th and 15th centuries during the Amir Temur (Tamerlane) era. Amir Temur was a well-known commander and ruler, who proclaimed Samarkand the capital of his vast Empire. In the 19th century Russians captured Samarkand. In 1925, Samarkand was proclaimed the capital of the Uzbek SSR. In 1930, Samarkand lost its capital status to Tashkent. n present days, Samarkand remains the second city after Tashkent for business, culture and education in Uzbekistan. However, the city of Samarkand is unrivalled in the richness and diversity of its architectural and historical heritage in the whole of Central Asia. Samarkand also serves as a hub for travellers continuing from Samarkand to other  ancient cities of Bukhara and Khiva.