Sogdiana, c. 300 BC.
Sogdiana or Sogdia (; ; ) was the ancient civilization of an Iranian people and a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great (i. 16). Sogdiana is "listed" as the second of the "good lands and countries" that Ahura Mazda created. This region is listed second after Airyanem Vaejah, "homeland of the Aryans", in the Zoroastrian book of Vendidad, indicating the importance of this region from ancient times. Sogdiana, at different times, included territory located in present-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Khujand, Panjikent and Shahrisabz).
The Sogdian states, although never politically united, were centered on the main city of Samarkand. Sogdiana lay north of Bactria, east of Khwarezm, and southeast of Kangju between the Oxus ( Amu Darya) and the Jaxartes ( Syr Darya), embracing the fertile valley of the Zeravshan (ancient Polytimetus). Sogdian territory corresponds to the modern provinces of Samarkand and Bokhara in modern Uzbekistan as well as the Sughd province of modern Tajikistan. During the High Middle Ages Sogdian cities included sites stretching towards Issyk Kul such as that at the archeological site of Suyab.