Ancient and feudal eras
Amoghavajra, 8th-century Buddhist monk, a founder of Chinese esoteric Buddhism.
Abu Mansur Maturidi, Sunni theologist of the 10th century
Nizami Aruzi Samarqandi, poet and writer of the 12th century
Suzani Samarqandi, poet of the 12th century
Fatima bint Mohammed ibn Ahmad Al Samarqandi, a 12th-century ulema (Islamic scholar)
Najib ad-Din-e-Samarqandi, scholar of the 13th century
Jamshd al-Ksh, astronomer and mathematician of the 15th century
Shams al-Dn al-Samarqand, scholar
Nawab Khwaja Abid Siddiqi, general for the Mughal Empire, grandfather of Qamar-ud-din Khan, Asif Jah I
Islam Karimov, first president of Uzbekistan
Irina Viner head coach of the Russian rhythmic gymnastics federation
For centuries, Verdun, on the Meuse river, had played an important role in the defence of the French hinterland. Attila the Hun failed to seize the town in the fifth century and when the empire of Charlemagne was divided under the Treaty of Verdun (843), the town became part of the Holy Roman Empire; the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 awarded Verdun to France. At the heart of the city was a citadel built by Vauban in the 17th century. A double ring of 28 forts and smaller works (ouvrages) had been built around Verdun on commanding ground, at least 150 metres (490 ft) above the river valley, 2.58 km (1.65.0 mi) from the citadel. A programme had been devised by Sr de Rivires in the 1870s to build two lines of fortresses from Belfort to pinal and from Verdun to Toul as defensive screens and to enclose towns intended to be the bases for counter-attacks. Many of the Verdun forts had been modernised and made more resistant to artillery, with a reconstruction programme begun at Douaumont in the 1880s. A sand cushion and thick, steel-reinforced concrete tops up to 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) thick, buried under 14 metres (3.313.1 ft) of earth, were added. The forts and ouvrages were sited to overlook each other for mutual support and the outer ring had a circumference of 45 km (28 mi). The outer forts had 79 guns in shell-proof turrets and more than 200 light guns and machine-guns to protect the ditches around the forts. Six forts had 155 mm guns in retractable turrets and fourteen had retractable twin 75 mm turrets.
In 1903, Douaumont was equipped with a new concrete bunker (Casemate de Bourges), containing two 75 mm field guns to cover the south-western approach and the defensive works along the ridge to Ouvrage de Froidterre. More guns were added from 19031913, in four retractable steel turrets. The guns could rotate for all-round defence and two smaller versions, at the north-eastern and north-western corners of the fort, housed twin Hotchkiss machine-guns. On the east side of the fort, an armoured turret with a 155 mm short-barrelled gun faced north and north-east and another housed twin 75 mm guns at the north end, to cover the intervals between forts. The fort at Douaumont formed part of a complex of the village, fort, six ouvrages, five shelters, six concrete batteries, an underground infantry shelter, two ammunition depots and several concrete infantry trenches. The Verdun forts had a network of concrete infantry shelters, armoured observation posts, batteries, concrete trenches, command posts and underground shelters between the forts. The artillery comprised c.1,000 guns, with 250 in reserve and the forts and ouvrages were linked by telephone and telegraph, a narrow-gauge railway system and a road network; on mobilisation, the RFV had a garrison of 66,000 men and rations for six months.