Tashkent History

Tashkent History

Tashkent, being known as the most cosmopolitan capital city of Uzbekistan and the most populated city in Central Asia has an ancient history with numerous interesting stories. The first fortifications of the city already existed at the end of I century B.C. - early I century A.D. According to the excavations of archeologists the history of the city can be observed even from late III century B.C. During the rule of different empires, the city played a great role in history. During its long history, Tashkent has had various changes in names.  When Tashkent was part of the state of Kongyuy in 3rd 4th centuries AD, ancient Chinese sources say that the citywas called as Shi.  Chinese word «Shi» means stone.  In 550 when the Turkic Kaganate was established it was renamed as Chach. In the beginning of 8th century, the city was conquered by arabs and Caliph’s rule was established. They started calling the city as Shash. One more written sources of IX-X centuries remind it as Binket, which translated as Citadel. In the late X century in the books of Abu Raykhan Beruni, it was first called as Tashkent, which derived from Turkic word “Tash” – Stone, “Kent” – City. However,during IX-XII centuries it was the era of prospering industry, trade and culture. The city was wrecked by Genghis Khan in 1219.  In XIV century Tashkent was conquered by Timur (Tamerlan) and was made into one of the main fortresses of the state of Timurids. Later it was part of Sheybanid dynasty. In 1809 it became a part of Khanate of Kokand and by the middle of XIX century became one of the largest centers of trade with Russian merchants. All these period the city was one of the largest trading centers along the Silk Road. In 1865, the city of Tashkent was conquered by Russian troops under the command of well-known general Chernyaev. Tashkent became infamous as a seat of espionage in the rival for supremacy between Russia and the United Kingdom over Central Asia. Due to the destruction of most of the ancient city during the 1917 revolution and the 1966 earthquake, very little remains of its ancient history. After that devastating earthquake, large battalion of constructers from Soviet Union republics rushed into the field and rebuilt the city. After that, the look of the city was tremendously changed.

At last, after the independence in 1991 by the order of the present of the Republic of Uzbekistan, there started construction of modern buildings, restoring historical monuments although most of them survived the earthquake of 1966. Tashkent, today with the population of 3 million transformed into a unique sample of the largest Central Asian mega city in which it is extremely instructive for us to try to comprehend mutual relation of an antiquity and the present, to understand spirit of this city.No other Asian city is as diverse as Tashkent. When you walk in the streets of old Tashkent, you will find yourself among the hundreds of years old mud houses, mosques or minarets that goes up into the sky.

Geography and Weather

Tashkent - the capital of the Republic of Uzbekistan, located in the northeastern part of the country, in the valley of the Chirchik River, at an altitude of 440-480 meters above sea level, within sight of the foothills of the western Tian Shan. Tashkent features a Mediterranean climate with strong continental climate influences. As a result, Tashkent experiences cold and often snowy winters not typically associated with most Mediterranean climates and long, hot and dry summers. Winters are cold and often snowy, covering the months of December, January and February. Most precipitation occurs during these months that it frequently falls as snow. The city experiences two peaks of precipitation in the early winter and spring. The slightly unusual precipitation pattern is partially due to its 500 m (roughly 1600 feet) altitude. Summers are long in Tashkent, usually lasting from May to September. Tashkent can be extremely hot during the months of July and August. The city also sees very little precipitation during the summer, particularly from June through September.