display | more...
Overview

Known as Toshkent in Uzbek, the city is the cultural and economic center of Central Asia and the capital of the new nation of Uzbekistan. With well over 2 million people (1991 estimate of 2,113,000) within its massively sprawling bounds, the city comprises the largest population of any of the cities in the ex-Soviet republics that make up the region. Four fifths of the people living in the city are Russians or Uzbeks, but there are notable minorities of Tatars, Ukrainians and Jews as well. Sitting at an elevation of more than 450 meters or roughly 1,500 feet above sea level, the city is surrounded by rich farmlands and intersected by numerous canals which flow from the Chirchiq River.

Modern Tashkent is a leading producer in all things cotton. Though wheat, rice, vegetables of various types and even silkworms are grown in the surrounding area, the majority of the farming and even the industry revolves around the cotton industry. These industries range from manufacturers of textile machinery or agriculture items to textiles. The surrounding areas though, as well as the other nearby cities, make up the most industrialized area in Uzbekistan, as well as the most industrialized area of the new republics.

The city is rich in its institutions, and contains numerous colleges and research institutes, including the Uzbek Academy of Sciences, which was established in 1943. Among its cultural buildings Tashkent includes a large array of theatres, stadiums, libraries, museums and parks. Notable among these are the Navoi Public Library and the Navoi Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Also one can find, among the museums, one of the two remaining Usmani Qurans. Unfortunately a 1966 earthquake destroyed most of the few remaining ancient structures left in Tashkent, leaving very few left standing, though one among that number is the Barakkhan Madrasah.

History

Tashkent is believed to have been first established around the first or second centuries BC. Originally mentioned in Persian chronicles as Chach (the city was known in China as Yuni), it would not gain its present name of Tashkent (meaning “Stone Village”) until roughly the 11th century AD. From its establishment onwards the city quickly grew to be an important stopping point on the trade routes between the east and west and eventually into a supplier of trade itself, along these routes. The city was conquered during the Arab expansion of the 8th century AD and would be ruled by a secession of various Muslim kingdoms for the better part of 500 years, becoming a major stronghold against the Turkic incursions from Transoxania.

In the early 13th century, the city fell to the Mongol armies and remained under their sway for many a year. It would be a major city in the empire of Timur (Tamerlane) but eventually fell to the control of the Shaybanids. It was during this time that the star of Tashkent would fall though. As the European explorers brought more and more trade over the oceans, the importance of the old land routes, including Tashkent, fell considerably. And so Tashkent found itself isolated and nowhere near as robust a city as it once was. And though the people managed to claim their independence for a short time, the city was but a shadow of its former self. In 1809 the city was annexed by the Khanate of Kokand, but by this time the Russians were on the doorstep and the city would change hands again in 1865, when the Russian armies conquered the area. From here Tashkent would become one of the main supply points for the Russian push towards the Indian Ocean.

By the time of the Russian conquest, Tashkent was already well known by the Russian Empire, being a leading center of trade with them and an important city of about 70,000 people. It would only take two years, for the Russians to make Tashkent the leading city of the new province of Turkistan and the city leapt forward in growth, with a massive influx of Russian colonists and entrepreneurs into the area. The new colonists set up almost a dual city format, with the new European design city springing up alongside the former city and providing the base from which the Russians administrated and integrated their Central Asian conquests.

During the Russian revolution a short lived bid for independence was made, but Tashkent was re-integrated into the USSR in 1917 and became the capital of the Soviet Republic of Turkistan. When Turkistan was split into multiple Soviet Republics in 1924 Tashkent lost its status to Samarkand though. That status would be regained in 1930 when Tashkent became the capital of the Uzbekistan SSR. Over the next few decades Tashkent swelled in size and in importance, becoming the fourth largest city in the USSR, trailing only Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev.

Following the independence of Uzbekistan on December 29, 1991, the city would become a true capital in its own right. Modern Tashkent seems to taken some of the best from its time within the USSR, having a massive and well developed administrative structure to the city and a large amount of universities and other institutes of higher learning. The earthquake of 1966, while devastating both to the population, of which 300,000 were left homeless, and to the older parts of the city, has allowed the people of Tashkent to improve their city in many ways. These include parks and a modern metro rail system, making Tashkent the only city in Central Asia to be able to boast of their own rail system. Along with this, the Uzbeks in a stirring show of respect named various streets after great people in the nations who came to their assistance following the earthquake.

Sources
"Tashkent." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service 11 June 2005 .
“Tashkent.” Working Papers on Central Asia and Iran. 1996. University of Minnesota – Department of Slavic and Central Asian Languages and Literature June 11, 2005 http://www.iles.umn.edu/faculty/bashiri/Tashkent%20folder/Tashkent.html
“Tashkent.” Uzbekistan – History 2003. Uzland. June 11, 2005 http://www.tashkent.org/uzland/index.html
Thanks to mr100percent for pointing out the existance of an Usmani Quran in Tashkent

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.