The area is a fertile plain while much of the nearby land is mountains and deserts. Borders have changed over the centuries and the area has not always been united. Today most of it is in Uzbekistan, but parts of the historical region extend into what are now Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
- 1 Samarkand is near the center of the region, one of the great Silk Road trading cities, and was the capital of Tamerlane's empire
- 2 Bukhara is another great Silk Road city, further west
- 3 Panjakent , east of Samarkand, was a fairly important city in ancient times, is a town with interesting ruins nearby today
- 4 Shakhrizabz , south of Samarkand, was Tamerlane's birthplace
See Bactria for cities in that area, the southern part of Sogdia.
The main language of much of the region is Uzbek (in the Turkic language family) but Tajik (a dialect of Persian) is also fairly widely spoken. The region was part of the Soviet Union so Russian is also common.