Founded in the 7th century B.C., Samarkand is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia. Located on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean region, this historic town was the melting pot of the world's cultures. Under the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his descendants from the 14th to the 15th centuries, the city reached its peak as the capital of the Empire. Today Gur-Emir, the Timur family mausoleum and Ulugh-Beg's Observatory, built by the conqueror's grandson, stand as testimony to the city's glory. Other major monuments include Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, and Shakhi-Zinda necropolis.