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City of Merchants

As the caravan approaches the fabled city of Samarkand, the gates swing open. Are you seeking the finest silk brocade? A sable coat, a packet of fragrant musk or a smooth roll of cream-colored paper? Whatever you desire, chances are a Sogdian merchant from Samarkand can deliver it. These shrewd traders have built up a fortune buying and selling in distant countries. The Sogdians are ambitious go-betweens, controlling a network of commerce that extends to India, China and Persia-and the heart of their trading empire is here, deep in Central Asia.

American Museum of Natural History

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