Tashkent (//; Uzbek: Toshkent, Тошкент, تاشكېنت, [tɒʃˈkent]; Russian: Ташкент, [tɐʂˈkʲent]) is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan, as well as the most populated city in ex-Soviet Central Asia (though the larger urban centers of Urumqi in China and Kabul in Afghanistan lie well within the geographic region of Central Asia) with a population in 2018 of 2,485,900. It is located in the north-east of the country close to the Kazakhstan border.
Tash (A rock)
("Strength is in Justice!")
|Settled||5th to 3rd centuries BC|
|• Type||City Administration|
|• Hakim (Mayor)||Jahongir Ortiqhojaev|
|• Total||334.8 km2 (129.3 sq mi)|
|Elevation||455 m (1,493 ft)|
|• Density||7,400/km2 (19,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5 ( )|
Tashkent was influenced by the Sogdian and Turkic cultures in its early history, before Islam in the 8th century AD. After its destruction by Genghis Khan in 1219, the city was rebuilt and profited from the Silk Road. From 18th to 19th century, the city became an independent city-state, before being re-conquered by the Khanate of Kokand. In 1865, it fell to the Russian Empire, and became the capital of Russian Turkestan. In Soviet times, Tashkent witnessed major growth and demographic changes due to forced deportations from throughout the Soviet Union.
During its long history, Tashkent has had various changes in names and political and religious affiliations.
Tashkent was settled by ancient people as an oasis on the Chirchik River, near the foothills of the West Tian Shan Mountains. In ancient times, this area contained Beitian, probably the summer "capital" of the Kangju confederacy. Some scholars believe that a "Stone Tower" mentioned by Ptolemy and by other early accounts of travel on the Silk Road referred to this settlement ("Tashkent" means "stone city"). This tower is said to have marked the midway point between Europe and China. Other scholars, however, disagree with this identification, though it remains one of four most probable sites for the Stone Tower.
History as ChachEdit
In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the town and the province were known as Chach. The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi also refers to the city as Chach.
The principality of Chach had a square citadel built around the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, some 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south of the Syr Darya River. By the 7th century AD, Chach had more than 30 towns and a network of over 50 canals, forming a trade center between the Sogdians and Turkic nomads. The Buddhist monk Xuanzang (602/603? – 664 AD), who travelled from China to India through Central Asia, mentioned the name of the city as Zhěshí (赭時. The Chinese chronicles Book of Sui from the History of Northern Dynasties and Old Book of Tang, mention a possession called Shí 石 or Zhěshí 赭時 with a capital of the same name since the fifth century AD.
In the early 8th century, the region was conquered by Muslim Arabs.
In the mid-seventh century, the Sasanian Persian Empire collapsed as a result of the Arab Muslim conquest of Persia. Under the Samanid dynasty (819–999), whose founder Saman Khuda was a Persian Zoroastrian convert to Islam, the city came to be known as Binkath. However, the Arabs retained the old name of Chach for the surrounding region, pronouncing it ash-Shash instead. Kand, qand, kent, kad, kath, kud—all meaning a city—are derived from the Persian/Sogdian کنده kanda, meaning a town or a city. They are found in city names such as Samarkand, Yarkand, Panjakent, Khujand etc.). After the 16th century, the name evolved from Chachkand/Chashkand to Tashkand. The modern spelling of "Tashkent" reflects Russian orthography and 20th-century Soviet influence.
Mongol conquest and aftermathEdit
The city was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1219 and lost much of its population as a result of the Mongols' destruction of the Khwarezmid Empire in 1220. Under the Timurid and subsequent Shaybanid dynasties, the city's population and culture gradually revived as a prominent strategic center of scholarship, commerce and trade along the Silk Road.
In 1809, Tashkent was annexed to the Khanate of Kokand. At the time, Tashkent had a population of around 100,000 and was considered the richest city in Central Asia. It prospered greatly through trade with Russia but chafed under Kokand’s high taxes. The Tashkent clergy also favored the clergy of Bukhara over that of Kokand. However, before the Emir of Bukhara could capitalize on this discontent, the Russian army arrived.
In May 1865, Mikhail Grigorevich Chernyayev (Cherniaev), acting against the direct orders of the tsar and outnumbered at least 15-1, staged a daring night attack against a city with a wall 25 kilometres (16 mi) long with 11 gates and 30,000 defenders. While a small contingent staged a diversionary attack, the main force penetrated the walls, led by a Russian Orthodox priest armed only with a crucifix. Although the defense was stiff, the Russians captured the city after two days of heavy fighting and the loss of only 25 dead as opposed to several thousand of the defenders (including Alimqul, the ruler of the Kokand Khanate). Chernyayev dubbed the "Lion of Tashkent" by city elders, staged a "hearts-and-minds" campaign to win the population over. He abolished taxes for a year, rode unarmed through the streets and bazaars meeting common people, and appointed himself "Military Governor of Tashkent", recommending to Tsar Alexander II that the city is made an independent khanate under Russian protection.
The Tsar liberally rewarded Chernyayev and his men with medals and bonuses, but regarded the impulsive general as a "loose cannon", and soon replaced him with General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman. Far from being granted independence, Tashkent became the capital of the new territory of Russian Turkistan, with Kaufman as first Governor-General. A cantonment and Russian settlement were built across the Ankhor Canal from the old city, and Russian settlers and merchants poured in. Tashkent was a center of espionage in the Great Game rivalry between Russia and the United Kingdom over Central Asia. The Turkestan Military District was established as part of the military reforms of 1874. The Trans-Caspian Railway arrived in 1889, and the railway workers who built it settled in Tashkent as well, bringing with them the seeds of Bolshevik Revolution.
Effect of the Russian revolutionEdit
With the fall of the Russian Empire, the Russian Provisional Government removed all civil restrictions based on religion and nationality, contributing to local enthusiasm for the February Revolution. The Tashkent Soviet of Soldiers' and Workers' Deputies was soon set up, but primarily represented Russian residents, who made up about a fifth of the Tashkent population. Muslim leaders quickly set up the Tashkent Muslim Council (Tashkand Shura-yi-Islamiya) based in the old city. On 10 March 1917, there was a parade with Russian workers marching with red flags, Russian soldiers singing La Marseillaise and thousands of local Central Asians. Following various speeches, Governor-General Aleksey Kuropatkin closed the events with words "Long Live a great free Russia".
The First Turkestan Muslim Conference was held in Tashkent 16–20 April 1917. Like the Muslim Council, it was dominated by the Jadid, Muslim reformers. A more conservative faction emerged in Tashkent centered around the Ulema. This faction proved more successful during the local elections of July 1917. They formed an alliance with Russian conservatives, while the Soviet became more radical. The Soviet attempt to seize power in September 1917 proved unsuccessful.
In April 1918, Tashkent became the capital of the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkestan ASSR). The new regime was threatened by White forces, basmachi; revolts from within, and purges ordered from Moscow. In 1930, Tashkent fell within the borders of the Uzbek SSR, and became the capital of the Uzbek SSR, displacing Samarkand.
The city began to industrialize in the 1920s and 1930s.
Violating the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. The government worked to relocate factories from western Russia and Ukraine to Tashkent to preserve the Soviet industrial capacity. This led to great increase in industry during World War II.
It also evacuated most of the German communist emigres to Tashkent. The Russian population increased dramatically; evacuees from the war zones increased the total population of Tashkent to well over a million. Russians and Ukrainians eventually comprised more than half of the total residents of Tashkent. Many of the former refugees stayed in Tashkent to live after the war, rather than return to former homes.
During the postwar period, the Soviet Union established numerous scientific and engineering facilities in Tashkent.
On 10 January 1966, then Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistan President Ayub Khan signed a pact in Tashkent with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin as the mediator to resolve the terms of peace after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. On the next day, Shastri died suddenly, reportedly due to a heart attack. It is widely speculated that Shastri was killed by poisoning the water he drank.
On 26 April 1966, much of the old city was destroyed by an earthquake. More than 300,000 residents were left homeless. Some 78,000 poorly engineered homes were destroyed, mainly in the densely packed areas of the old city, where traditional adobe housing predominated. The Soviet republics, and some other countries such as Finland, sent "battalions of fraternal peoples" and urban planners to help rebuild devastated Tashkent. They created a model Soviet city of wide streets planted with shade trees, parks, immense plazas for parades, fountains, monuments, and acres of apartment blocks. About 100,000 new homes were built by 1970, but the builders occupied many, rather than the homeless residents of Tashkent. Further development in the following years increased the size of the city with major new developments in the Chilonzor area, north-east and south-east of the city.
At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Tashkent was the fourth-largest city in the USSR and a center of learning in the fields of science and engineering.
Due to the 1966 earthquake and the Soviet redevelopment, little architectural heritage has survived of Tashkent's ancient history. Few structures mark its significance as a trading point on the historic Silk Road.
Capital of UzbekistanEdit
Tashkent is the capital of and the most cosmopolitan city in Uzbekistan. It was noted for its tree-lined streets, numerous fountains, and pleasant parks, at least until the tree-cutting campaigns initiated in 2009 by the local government.
Since 1991, the city has changed economically, culturally, and architecturally. New development has superseded or replaced icons of the Soviet era. The largest statue ever erected for Lenin was replaced with a globe, featuring a geographic map of Uzbekistan. Buildings from the Soviet era have been replaced with new modern buildings. The "Downtown Tashkent" district includes the 22-story NBU Bank building, an Intercontinental Hotel, the International Business Center, and the Plaza Building.
The Tashkent Business district is a special district, established for the development of small, medium and large businesses in Uzbekistan.
In 2007, Tashkent was named a "cultural capital of the Islamic world" by Moscow News, as the city has numerous historic mosques and significant Islamic sites, including the Islamic University. Tashkent holds the Samarkand Kufic Quran, one of the earliest written copies of the Quran, which has been located in the city since 1924.
1966: earthquake and subsequent redevelopment
Origin of televisionEdit
The first demonstration of a fully electronic TV set to the public and committee was made in Tashkent in summer 1928 by Boris Grabovsky and his team. In his method that had been patented in Saratov in 1925, Boris Grabovsky proposed a new principle of TV imaging based on the vertical and horizontal electron beam sweeping under high voltage. Nowadays this principle of the TV imaging is used practically in all modern cathode-ray tubes. Historian and ethnographer Boris Golender (Борис Голендер in Russian), in a video lecture, described this event. This date of demonstration of the fully electronic TV set is the earliest known so far. Despite this fact, most modern historians disputably consider Vladimir Zworykin and Philo Farnsworth as inventors of the first fully electronic TV set. In 1964, the contribution made to the development of early television by Grabovsky was officially acknowledged by the Uzbek government and he was awarded the prestigious degree "Honorable Inventor of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic".
Geography and climateEdit
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Tashkent is situated in a well-watered plain on the road between Shymkent and Samarkand. Tashkent sits at the confluence of the Chirchiq River and several of its tributaries and is built on deep alluvial deposits up to 15 metres (49 ft). The city is located in an active tectonic area suffering large numbers of tremors and some earthquakes. The local time in Tashkent is UTC/GMT +5 hours.
Tashkent features a Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) with strong continental climate influences (Köppen: Dsa). 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 which 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.
|Climate data for Tashkent (1981–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||22.2
|Average high °C (°F)||6.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.9
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−28
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||57.8
|Average precipitation days||11.1||9.6||11.4||9.5||7.0||3.2||1.3||0.7||1.5||4.8||7.3||9.5||76.9|
|Average snowy days||13||8||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||2||8||32.2|
|Average relative humidity (%)||73||68||62||60||53||40||39||42||45||57||66||73||57|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||117.3||125.3||165.1||216.8||303.4||361.8||383.7||365.8||300.9||224.8||149.5||105.9||2,820.3|
|Source #1: Centre of Hydrometeorological Service of Uzbekistan, World Meteorological Organisation|
|Source #2: Pogoda.ru.net (record low and record high temperatures), NOAA (mean monthly sunshine hours, 1961–1990)|
In 1983, the population of Tashkent amounted to 1,902,000 people living in a municipal area of 256 km2 (99 sq mi). By 1991, (break-up of Soviet Union) the number of permanent residents of the capital had grown to approximately 2,136,600. Tashkent was the fourth most populated city in the former USSR, after Moscow, Leningrad (St. Petersburg), and Kiev. Nowadays, Tashkent remains the fourth most populous city in the CIS and Baltic countries. The population of the city was 2,295,300 people in 2004.
As of 2008[update], the demographic structure of Tashkent was as follows:
Tashkent is currently divided into the following districts (Uzbek: Tuman):
At the time of the Tsarist take over it had four districts (Uzbek daha):
In 1940 it had the following districts (Russian район):
By 1981 they were reorganized into:
- Akmal-Ikramov (Uchtepa)
- Khamza (Yashnobod)
- Lenin (Mirobod)
- Kuybishev (Mirzo Ulugbek)
- Oktober (Shaykhontokhur)
- Sobir Rakhimov (Olmazar)
- Frunze (Yakkasaray)
- Kirov (Yunusabad)
Due to the destruction of most of the ancient city during the 1917 revolution and, later, the 1966 earthquake, little remains of Tashkent's traditional architectural heritage. Tashkent is, however, rich in museums and Soviet-era monuments. They include:
- Kukeldash Madrasah. Dating back to the reign of Abdullah Khan II (1557–1598) it is currently being restored by the provincial Religious Board of Mawarannahr Moslems. There is talk of making it into a museum, but it is currently being used as a madrassah.
- Chorsu Bazaar, located near the Kukeldash Madrassa. This huge open air bazaar is the center of the old town of Tashkent. Everything imaginable is for sale.
- Telyashayakh Mosque (Khast Imam Mosque). It Contains the Uthman Qur'an, considered to be the oldest extant Qur'an in the world. Dating from 655 and stained with the blood of murdered caliph, Uthman, it was brought by Timur to Samarkand, seized by the Russians as a war trophy and taken to Saint Petersburg. It was returned to Uzbekistan in 1924.
- Yunus Khan Mausoleum. It is a group of three 15th-century mausoleums, restored in the 19th century. The biggest is the grave of Yunus Khan, grandfather of Mughal Empire founder Babur.
- Palace of Prince Romanov. During the 19th century Grand Duke Nikolai Konstantinovich, a first cousin of Alexander III of Russia was banished to Tashkent for some shady deals involving the Russian Crown Jewels. His palace still survives in the centre of the city. Once a museum, it has been appropriated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre, built by the same architect who designed Lenin's Tomb in Moscow, Aleksey Shchusev, with Japanese prisoner of war labor in World War II. It hosts Russian ballet and opera.
- Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan. It contains a major collection of art from the pre-Russian period, including Sogdian murals, Buddhist statues and Zoroastrian art, along with a more modern collection of 19th and 20th century applied art, such as suzani embroidered hangings. Of more interest is the large collection of paintings "borrowed" from the Hermitage by Grand Duke Romanov to decorate his palace in exile in Tashkent, and never returned. Behind the museum is a small park, containing the neglected graves of the Bolsheviks who died in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and to Osipov's treachery in 1919, along with first Uzbekistani President Yuldosh Akhunbabayev.
- Museum of Applied Arts. Housed in a traditional house originally commissioned for a wealthy tsarist diplomat, the house itself is the main attraction, rather than its collection of 19th and 20th century applied arts.
- State Museum of History of Uzbekistan the largest museum in the city. It is housed in the ex-Lenin Museum.
- Amir Timur Museum, housed in a building with brilliant blue dome and ornate interior. It houses exhibits of Timur and of President Islam Karimov. The gardens outside contain a statue of Timur on horseback, surrounded by some of the nicest gardens and fountains in the city.
- Navoi Literary Museum, commemorating Uzbekistan's adopted literary hero, Alisher Navoi, with replica manuscripts, Islamic calligraphy and 15th century miniature paintings.
The Russian Orthodox church in Amir Temur Square, built in 1898, was demolished in 2009. The building had not been allowed to be used for religious purposes since the 1920s due to the anti-religious campaign conducted across the former Soviet Union by the Bolshevik (communist) government in Moscow. During the Soviet period the building was used for different non-religious purposes; after independence it was a bank.
Most important scientific institutions of Uzbekistan, such as the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, are located in Tashkent. There are several universities and institutions of higher education:
- The Branch of the Russian State University of Oil and Gas (NRU) named after I.M. Gubkin
- Tashkent Automobile & Road Construction Institute
- Tashkent State Technical University
- Tashkent Institute of Architecture and Construction
- Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration
- International Business School Kelajak Ilmi
- Tashkent University of Information Technologies
- Westminster International University in Tashkent
- Turin Polytechnic University in Tashkent
- National University of Uzbekistan
- University of World Economy and Diplomacy
- Tashkent State Economic University
- Tashkent State Institute of Law
- Tashkent Institute of Finance
- State University of Foreign Languages
- Conservatory of Music
- Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute
- Tashkent State Medicine Academy
- Institute of Oriental Studies
- Tashkent Islamic University
- Management Development Institute of Singapore in Tashkent
- Tashkent Institute of Textile and Light Industry
- Tashkent Institute of Railway Transport Engineers
- National Institute of Arts and Design named after Kamaleddin Bekhzod
- Inha University Tashkent
- Nine Uzbek language newspapers, four in English, and nine in Russian
- Several television and cable television facilities, including Tashkent Tower, the second tallest structure in Central Asia
Moreover, there are digital broadcasting systems available in Tashkent which is unique in Central Asia.
Entertainment and shoppingEdit
There are several shopping malls in Tashkent which are good both for entertainment and shopping. These include Next, Samarqand Darvoza and Kontinent shopping malls.
Next mall is very popular among families and prominent for its Science Lab for kids, Dinosaur’s museum, Ice Rink and Cinema.
Samarqand Darvoza offers a wide range of entertaining including Playground for kids, Game area, bowling and convenient multilayer parking place. It is a good place for kids’ birthday parties and family entertainment.
Kontinent Mall is conveniently located next to the Grand Mir Hotel. It is a smaller place but combines a variety of dining options such as diet cafe, fast food court and a bar.
Football is the most popular sport in Tashkent, with the most prominent football clubs being Pakhtakor Tashkent FK and FC Bunyodkor, both of which compete in the Uzbekistan Super League. Footballers Maksim Shatskikh, Peter Odemwingie and Vasilis Hatzipanagis were born in the city.
Twin towns – sister citiesEdit
Tashkent is twinned with:
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tashkent.|
- Tashkent travel guide from Wikivoyage
- All about capital of Uzbekistan – Tashkent
- Photos of historical monuments and modern buildings in Tashkent
- Recent photos of Tashkent with comments in English
- Disability Information Resource Centre in Tashkent
- Tashkent Directory[permanent dead link]
- [permanent dead link] – Demographics (Taken from the Russian version of this article)