Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
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Tashkent History

Tashkent History

Tashkents earliest incarnation may have been as the settlement of Ming-Uruk (Thousand Apricot Trees) in the 2nd or 1st century BCE. Known variously since then as Chach, Shash, Shashkent and Binkent, by the time the Arabs took it in 751 CE it was a major caravan crossroads. It got the name Toshkent or Tashkent (City of Stone in Turkic) in about the 11th century.

The Khorezmshahs and Jenghiz Khan stubbed out Tashkent in the early 13th century, though it slowly recovered under the Mongols and under Timur (who in 1404 bequeathed the town to his grandson Ulughbek). Despite the general decline of the cities of the Silk Road, the town once again grew prosperous under the Shaybanids in the late 15th and 16th centuries, and most of its surviving architectural monuments date from this period.

The khan of Kokand annexed Tashkent in 1809. In 1865, as the Emir of Bukhara was preparing to snatch it away, the Russians under General Mikhail Grigorevich Chernyayev beat him to it, against the orders of the tsar and despite being outnumbered is to one. They found a proud town, enclosed by a 2Skm-long wall with 11 gates (of which not a trace remains today). Installing General Konstantin Kaufman as governor general, the tsar made Tashkent the capital of his new Turkistan satrapy (territory), building a cantonment and town across the Ankhor (or Bozsu) canal from the Uzbek town and filling it with Russian settlers and merchants.

From Tashkent, General Kaufman was to gradually widen the imperial net around the other Central Asian khanates Tashkent also became the tsarists (and later the Soviets) main centre for espionage in Asia, during the protracted imperial rivalry with Britain known as the Great Game (see History in the Facts about Central Asia chapter)

The citys bondage became literally ironclad with the arrival of the Trans-Caspian Railway in 1889, and Russian workers on the railway were at the front of the revolution of 1917. With Osipovs treachery and Bolshevik reprisals this was a bloody place during the Russian Civil War. Peter Hopkirks Setting the East Ablaze and FM Baileys Mission to Tashkent document the cruelty, duplicity and mayhem at this time, as the Bolsheviks fought to get a grip on the region in the face of local and White Russian resistance.

Tashkent became the capital of the Turkestan Autonomous SSR, declared in 1918. When this was further split, the capital of the new Uzbek Autonomous SSR was Samarkand until 1930, when this status was restored to Tashkent. The city acquired industrial muscle with construction of the agricultural machinery combine, Tashselmash, in the 1920s, and the wholesale relocation of factories from western Russia to Central Asia during WWII. On April 26 1966, Tashkent was destroyed by a huge earthquake (7.5 on the Richter scale) and over 300,000 were left homeless.

At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Tashkent was the fourth largest city in the country and a center of learning in the science and engineering fields.

Tashkent was a very Soviet city, with few reminders of its position on the Silk Road or its 2000+ years of history. At the moment, it is the most cosmopolitan city in Uzbekistan, with large ethnic Russian minority. The city is noted for its tree lined streets, numerous fountains, and pleasant parks. As capital of the nation, it has also been the target of several terrorist attacks since Uzbekistan gained independence, which the government has attributed to Islamic fundamentalists.

Since 1991, the city has changed economically, culturally, and architecturally. The largest statue ever erected for Lenin was replaced with a globe, complete with a geographic map of Uzbekistan over it. Buildings from the Soviet era have been replaced with new, modern buildings. One example is the "Downtown Tashkent" region, which includes the 22-storey NBU Bank building, an Intercontinental Hotel, International Business Center, and the Plaza Building. In 2007, Tashkent was named the cultural capital of the Islamic world as the city is home to numerous historic mosques and religious establishments.

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