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Tashkent (tăshkĕntˈ, –kĕndˈ) or Toshkent (tŏsh–), city (1992 pop. 2,133,000), capital of Tashkent region and of Uzbekistan, in the foothills of the Tian Shan mts.; the name is also spelled Dashkent. The largest and one of the oldest cities of Central Asia, it is the economic heart of the region. It is also a major cultural center, a rail and highway junction, and an important air terminal. The city lies in a great oasis along the Chirchik River and on the Trans-Caspian RR. There is extensive trade in grain and raw cotton. Tashkent, which is the center of the most industrialized area of Uzbekistan, has one of the largest cotton textile mills in Asia. Other industries include railroad workshops, food- and tobacco-processing plants, and factories that manufacture agricultural machinery and consumer goods. The Tashkent oasis produces cotton and fruit. Irrigation canals on the Chirchik River supply power for several hydroelectric plants.

Among the city's educational and cultural facilities are Tashkent State Univ. and the Uzbek Academy of Sciences. There are many museums and parks, a Muslim university, and several theater companies. Tashkent is also a military center. The modern section of the city coexists with the old quarter (partly reconstructed), with its narrow, twisting streets, numerous mosques, and bazaars; Tashkent lost most of the old town in a 1966 earthquake that heavily damaged the city. Once the preserve of Russian bureaucrats and settlers, the modern section filled with Uzbeks in the early 1990s, as Russians left for homes in Russia.

First mentioned in the 1st cent. B.C., Tashkent came under Arabic rule in the 7th cent. A.D. and passed to the Turkish shahs of Khwarazm in the 12th cent. It developed as a commercial center on the historic trade route from Samarkand to Beijing. Tashkent was captured in the 13th cent. by Jenghiz Khan and in the 14th cent. by Timur. With the breakup of the Timurid empire, the city passed to the khanate of Kokand.

Captured by Russian forces in 1865, Tashkent became (1867) the administrative seat of Russian Turkistan. It remained active in the caravan trade between Central Asia and W Russia and gained new prosperity with the construction (1898) of the Trans-Caspian RR. From 1918 to 1924, Tashkent was the capital of the Turkistan Autonomous SSR, and in 1930 it replaced Samarkand as capital of the Uzbek SSR, subsequently becoming independent Uzbekistan's capital.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the capital of the Uzbek SSR and administrative center of Tashkent Oblast; a major industrial, transportation, and cultural center of the USSR. Situated in the northeastern part of the Uzbek republic in the Tashkent Oasis and Chirchik River valley at an elevation of 440–480 m. The mean January temperature is –1.1°C; the mean July temperature is 27.5°C. The annual precipitation is 360–390 mm. Area, 250 sq km. Tashkent is the fourth largest city in the USSR in population, after Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev. Population, 1,595,000 (Jan. 1, 1975; 156,000 in 1897, 314,000 in 1926, 556,000 in 1939, 927,000 in 1959, 1,385,000 in 1970). Uzbeks account for 37 percent of the population (1970), and Russians account for 40.8 percent. There are also Tatars (7 percent), Jews (4 percent), and Ukrainians (2.9 percent). Tashkent is divided into nine urban raions.

Historical survey. Tashkent is one of the most ancient cities in the USSR; the exact date of its founding is not known. Artifacts dating from the Stone Age have been found within the city. Burial mounds have yielded bronze mirrors and coins from countries existing during the first several centuries B.C. An urban settlement arose in the area of what is now Tashkent during the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. At this time, Tashkent was first mentioned in historical sources, by the name Chach (Shash). The city was located in the center of a cultivated oasis, at the crossroad of trade routes between Europe and the Orient. In the sixth century the city became part of the Turkic Kaganate; in the eighth and ninth centuries it was called Binkent and was the administrative center of the independent domain of Chach (Shash). Early in the eighth century the city was conquered by the Arabs. During the period of nomadic incursions it was often destroyed.

The name of Tashkent is first encountered in historical sources dating from the 11th century. In the ninth and tenth centuries the city belonged to the Samanid state, and from the late tenth to the early 13th century it was part of the Karakhanid and Karakitai states. In the early 13th century, Tashkent was taken by Muhammad II Ala’-al-din, the shah of Khwarazm, at whose order the city was destroyed in 1214 and its inhabitants resettled. In the 14th century, Tashkent was conquered by Tamerlane and became a major fortress of the Timurid Empire. In the second half of the 16th century, the city was incorporated into the Bukhara Khanate; it was occupied several times during the 17th and 18th centuries by the Kazakhs and Kalmyks. In 1809, Tashkent became part of the Kokand Khanate. By the mid-19th century it was a major center for trade with Russia.

In 1865, Tashkent was incorporated into the Russian empire, becoming the capital of the Turkestan governor-generalship and of the Syr Darya Oblast in 1867. In 1899 the Transcaspian railroad line was extended to Tashkent, and in 1906 the Orenburg-Tashkent line was completed. Tashkent became the main railroad junction, commercial center, and transit point of Middle Asia. In 1913 the city had 111 small industrial enterprises and 3,500 handicrafts enterprises; there were 22 Russian and foreign firms in operation.

A Social Democratic circle was founded in Tashkent in 1904–05, and Lenin’s newspaper Iskra was distributed in the city beginning in 1904. Between 1905 and 1907, Tashkent became a center of the revolutionary movement in Middle Asia. The first regional conference of the Social Democratic organizations of Turkestan was held in Tashkent in 1906. The Turkestan Sappers’ Revolt of 1912 took place at military camps near Tashkent.

In 1917 the proletariat of Tashkent headed the revolutionary movement in Turkestan Krai. On Oct. 25 (Nov. 7), 1917, the Tashkent Soviet began preparations for an armed uprising, and on Oct. 28 (Nov. 10), 1917, a revolutionary committee was formed and an uprising began whose aim was to establish the power of the Soviets. On Nov. 1 (14), 1917, the military fortress defended by troops of the Provisional Government was taken, and Soviet power was established in Tashkent. In April 1918, Tashkent became the capital of the Turkestan ASSR. The First Congress of the Communist Party of Turkestan was held in Tashkent in June 1918.

During the Civil War of 1918–20, Tashkent was the focal point of the struggle waged by the peoples of Middle Asia against Basmachi and foreign military intervention. The Turkestan Commission of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR, founded in 1919, operated in Tashkent. In 1924 the city’s proletariat was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. In that year, Tashkent became part of the Uzbek SSR; it became the republic’s capital in 1930. During the prewar five-year plans, machine-building and metalworking plants were built, primarily to serve the cotton-processing industry, but light industry remained the leading sector, accounting for approximately 40 percent of output in 1940.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), many industrial enterprises and educational and cultural institutions were evacuated from the western regions of the USSR and relocated in Tashkent. After the war, Tashkent became a center of heavy industry, primarily of the machine-building industry, accounting for 80 percent of the Uzbek republic’s output of machines.

Many meetings and symposia of leading representatives of Asian and African countries have been held in Tashkent. The signing of the Tashkent Declaration of 1966 by leaders of India and Pakistan took place in the city.

Economy. The volume of industrial production in Tashkent in 1974 exceeded that of 1941 by a factor of 23. There are more than 200 industrial enterprises in the city. In 1974, Tashkent produced 23 percent of the gross industrial output of Uzbekistan. The entire production of cotton-picking machines, tractors, textile machinery, excavators, cotton seeders, and hoisting cranes is centered in Tashkent, together with 87 percent of the production of cotton fabrics and 51 percent of the production of knitted outerwear. Tashkent holds a leading place in the USSR in the manufacture of a number of machines used in cotton cultivation and cotton processing, producing 100 percent of the cotton-picking machines, tractors adapted for cotton cultivation, cotton gins, cotton seeders, and roving frames. The city manufactures 90.6 percent of the USSR’s cotton-ginning equipment, 28 percent of the weaving machines, and 17.9 percent of the electric bridge cranes.

The energy base of Tashkent is provided by the Chirchik-Bozsu Cascade Hydroelectric Power Plant and the Tashkent State Regional Electric Power Plant, which are linked with the Integrated Power Grid of Middle Asia. Heavy industry predominates in the city, accounting for more than 60 percent of total output. The leading sectors are machine building and metalworking; the major industrial enterprises include such agricultural machine-building plants as the Uzbekkhlopkomash plant and the Tashsel’mash plant (the Tashkent Agricultural Machinery Plant), as well as a tractor plant. Other industrial enterprises are the V. P. Chkalov aircraft factory, the Uzbektekstil’mash plant, an excavator plant, the Pod”emnik and Kompressor plants, a bearing repair plant, a tool plant, the Tashgazoapparat plant, an electrical engineering plant, a cable factory, an abrasives factory, an electronics plant, and a plant for cotton-ginning equipment.

Tashkent is also a major center for light industry. The Tashkent Textile Combine produces most of the Uzbek republic’s cotton fabric. In 1974, Tashkent manufactured more than half of the republic’s knitted outerwear, 35 percent of the knitted underwear, and 30 percent of the footwear, in two footwear factories. There is also a kenaf factory and enterprises serving the chemical, building-materials, and food-processing industries.

Tashkent is an important transit point for shipping. The main railroad lines are the Tashkent-Orenburg-Moscow line and the Tashkent-Krasnovodsk line, which has a branch line to the Fergana Valley. There are branch lines from Tashkent to the city of Angren and the settlement of Charvak. Many automobile roads lead from Tashkent; the main one is the Great Uzbekistan Highway, which goes from Tashkent to Termez% Regular flights link Tashkent by air with foreign countries and with the other Union republics. Tashkent has a well-developed municipal transport system, and in 1972 construction began on a subway system.


Architecture. Until 1865, Tashkent was limited to the bounds of the old city, whose flat-roofed houses were dominated by the domed structures of madrasas and mausoleums. The landmarks that have been preserved include the Barak Khan and Kukel’-dash madrasas (both dating from the 16th century), the tombs of Sheikhantaur and of Iunus Khan (both built in the 15th century and later rebuilt), and the tomb of Imam Kaffal Shashi (16th century). Beginning in 1865 a new city with regular planning, European-style houses, and tree-lined streets with parallel irrigation ditches arose to the east of the old city, which had developed haphazardly.

After the October Revolution of 1917, Tashkent gradually became a well-built, modern city with unified planning and with many parks and gardens. After the 1966 earthquake, the work of restoration and new construction was undertaken on an immense scale. All the Union republics aided greatly in the rebuilding of Tashkent. New construction is carried out according to an overall plan formulated in 1970 by the Tashgenplan and Tashgiprogor institutes and by other collectives. The plan provides for a complete reconstruction of the old city. The central area has been rebuilt, and a system of architectural groupings has been erected along a meridional esplanade 2 km in length, extending from Akhunbabaev Square in the old city to October Revolution Boulevard in the new city.

The central area of Tashkent is dominated by a group of buildings at Lenin Square (1966–72, architects B. S. Mezentsev, B. A. Zaritskii, E. G. Rozanov, V. N. Shestopalov, A. V. Iakushev, and L. T. Adamov). The structures include the Government House of the Uzbek SSR (1931–32, architect S. N. Polupanov; reconstruction in 1951–55, architect S. I. Rozenblium), as well as the building of the Council of Ministers of the Uzbek SSR (1965–67) and a 20-story administrative building (1974; architects of both buildings B. S. Mezentsev and others). The monument to Lenin (granite, 1974) is the work of the sculptor N. V. Tomskii and the architect S. R. Adylov. Other structures are the buildings of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan (1964, architects V. E. Berezin, A. I. Fainleib, and others) and the Tashkent Branch of the Lenin Central Museum (1970, architects E. G. Rozanov, V. N. Shestopalov, and Iu. A. Boldychev).

To the southeast of Tashkent are Privokzal’naia Square and the railroad station (1957, architects L. K. Travianko and others) and a monument to the 14 Turkestan commissars (granite, 1962, sculptor D. V. Riabichev, architects N. N. Milovidov and S. S. Ozhegov). The modern buildings in Tashkent include the A. Navoi Bolshoi Theater of Opera and Ballet (1938–47, architect A. V. Shchusev), the Jubilee Sports Palace (1970, architects G. M. Aleksandrovich and others), the Uzbekistan Hotel (1974, architects I. A. Merport and others), and the House of the Press (1975, architect R. V. Blaze).

The new Moscow, Leningrad, Ukraina, Karakamysh, and Iunusabad mikroraiony (neighborhood units in urban planning) have been built in the city. Large residential areas have been intensively developed since the 1950’s, including the Chilanzar district. From 1966 to 1970, 5.5 million sq m of residential housing were built, and from 1971 to 1973, another 294,000 sq m. In 1975 the State Prize of the USSR was awarded for the architecture of the center of Tashkent (1966–74) to the architects L. T. Adamov, S. R. Adylov, B. A. Zaritskii, Iu. P. Puretskii, E. G. Rozanov, F. Iu. Tursunov, Iu. A. Khaldeev, V. N. Shestopalov, and A. V. Iakushev, to the engineers V. P. Krichevskii and K. P. Dudin, and to the People’s Artist M. Usmanov.

Education and cultural affairs. In the 1974–75 academic year there were 285,000 pupils in 339 general-education schools of all types, 43,000 students at 31 specialized secondary educational institutions, and more than 16,000 students at the 32 vocational-technical educational institutions of the State Vocational-Technical Education System of the USSR.

There were 130,700 students at 19 higher educational institutions, the most important of which are the University of Tashkent, the Tashkent Medical Institute, the Tashkent Pedagogical Institute, a polytechnic institute, an electrical engineering communications institute, the Tashkent Agricultural Institute, and the Middle Asian Institute of Pediatrics. Other higher educational institutions are an institute for railroad transport engineers, an institute for engineers working in irrigation and the mechanization of agriculture, and an institute for the textile industry and light industry.

In 1975 there were 101,100 children at 541 preschool institutions. There were 26 extracurricular institutions for children, including two palaces of Pioneers, eight houses of Pioneers, 11 sports schools, and a center for young technicians.

The major research institutes in Tashkent include the Academy of Sciences of the Uzbek SSR and its institutes for chemistry, botany, biochemistry, seismology, economics, and history, the Middle Asian Scientific Research and Planning Institute for the Petroleum Industry, and the Middle Asian Regional Scientific Research Institute for Hydrometeorology. Other research institutes are the Middle Asian Scientific Research Institute for Agricultural Economics, the Middle Asian Scientific Research Institute for Geology and Minerals, the Institute of Party History of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Uzbek SSR, the Central Scientific Research Institute of the Cotton-ginning Industry, and the Uzbek Scientific Research Institute for Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The A. Navoi State Library of the Uzbek SSR is located in Tashkent. As of Jan. 1, 1975, Tashkent had 201 public libraries with 3,767,000 books and journals. The city’s museums include the Tashkent Branch of the Lenin Central Museum, the Aibek State Museum of the History of the Peoples of Uzbekistan, the A. Navoi State Museum of Literature, the Republic Nature Museum, the State Museum of the Arts of the Uzbek SSR (with ancient and modern Middle Asian art), the Museum of Military Glory, and the Uzbekistan Museum of Public Health. The permanent Exhibition of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan and the Exhibition of Economic Achievements of the Uzbek SSR are located in Tashkent.

Tashkent’s theaters include the A. Navoi Bolshoi Theater of Opera and Ballet, the Khamza Uzbek Drama Theater, the Mukimi Uzbek Musical Theater, the Operetta Theater, the Esh Gvardiia Uzbek Drama Theater, the Tashkent Drama Theater, the Iu. Akhunbabaev Uzbek Young People’s Theater, the Russian Young People’s Theater, and the Uzbek Puppet Theater. The city also has a circus, the Ia. M. Sverdlov Concert Hall, the Bakhor Concert Hall, the Uzbekfil’m motion-picture studio, the Institute of Theater Arts, a conservatory, 160 clubs, and 144 motion-picture projection units. The International Film Festival of Asian, African, and Latin American Countries is regularly held in Tashkent.

Tashkent has seven publishing houses, including the Uzbekistan, Fan, and Ukituvchi publishing houses. Thirteen republic-wide newspapers are published in Tashkent. The city’s newspapers are the Uzbek-language Toshkent okshomi and the Russian-language Vechernii Tashkent (both since 1966). The Uzbek republic’s radio and television stations, a television studio, and the Uzbek Telegraph Agency (UzTAG) are located in Tashkent. Television programs are broadcast on three channels for a total of 26 hours daily, including 11 hours of local broadcasts and one hour in color. The first channel broadcasts central and republic programs in Uzbek and Russian for 13.3 hours, including 5.3 hours of local programming and eight hours of the Vostok programs. The second channel also broadcasts central and republic programs in Uzbek and Russian, devoting 3.7 hours to local programs and five hours to the Vostok programs, for a total of 8.7 hours. The third channel broadcasts for four hours in Uzbek, Tadzhik, and Kazakh. Radio broadcasts total 35 hours daily, including 28 hours of intrarepublic broadcasting, 22 hours of which are in Uzbek, Russian, Tadzhik, and Kazakh.

Public health. In 1913, Tashkent had 12 hospitals with 276 beds, and 44 physicians to serve the population. As of Jan. 1, 1975, the city had 82 hospitals with 22,800 beds (14.3 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), as compared to 35 hospitals with 5,800 beds (8.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants) in 1940. There were 214 outpatient polyclinics and 16 public health epidemiologic stations. As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 11,300 physicians in Tashkent (one physician per 141 inhabitants), as compared to 1,400 physicians (one physician per 455 inhabitants) in 1940. There were 20,700 medical assistants (2,800 in 1940). Tashkent has 12 medical scientific research institutes, 16 sanatoriums, and one house of rest. The balneological health resort Tashkentskie Mineral’nye Vody is located 20 km from Tashkent.

Tourism. Tashkent is one of Middle Asia’s centers for tourism and excursions. Twelve all-Union tourist routes pass through the city. Intourist and trade union hotels are located in Tashkent.


Dobrosmyslov, A. I. Tashkent v proshlom i nastoiashchem. Tashkent, 1912.
Azadaev, F. Tashkentvo vtoroi polovine XIX v. Tashkent, 1959.
Sokolov, Iu. A. Tashkent, tashkenttsy i Rossiia. Tashkent, 1965.
Rashidov, G. R. Istoriia sotsialisticheskogo Tashkenta, vols. 1–2. Tashkent, 1965–66.
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Uzbekskoi SSR za 50 let: Iubileinyi statistich. ezhegod. Tashkent, 1974.
Räshidav, Gh. Nävkiran Tashkent. Tashkent, 1974.
Adylov, S., P. Maksumov, and F. Tursunov. Gorod, rozhdennyi dvazhdy. Moscow, 1970.
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the leader vessel of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet; distinguished itself during the Great Patriotic War (1941–15). Built in 1939, the Tashkent had a displacement of 2,895 tons and a speed of 44.3 knots (82 km/hr). The vessel was armed with six 130-mm guns in three turrets, six 45-mm guns, six 37-mm guns, and three 533-mm torpedo launchers.

The Tashkent participated in the heroic defenses of Odessa and Sevastopol’, supporting infantry troops with artillery fire.

In 1941 and 1942 it convoyed 17 transport ships without losses, transported more than 19,000 people and 2,500 tons of cargo, conducted 100 bombardments of shore targets, and shot down or damaged 13 enemy airplanes. The commander of the Tashkent, Captain Third Grade V. N. Eroshenko, skillfully used the vessel’s high speed and great maneuverability to evade attacks by enemy airplanes. Especially difficult was the vessel’s last run to besieged Sevastopol’, where it delivered 1,264 soldiers, as well as ammunition and fuel, on June 26, 1942. On the return run, on June 27, 1942, the Tashkent took aboard 2,500 wounded, women, and children, as well as 85 sections of the panoramic canvas The Defense of Sevastopol’, 1854–55, which had been rescued by seamen from a burning building. En route to Novorossiisk, the Tashkent withstood 96 attacks by enemy airplanes, which dropped more than 300 bombs; the ship was damaged, but it reached its destination. On July 2, 1942, the Tashkent received direct hits from aerial bombs and sank at Novorossiisk.


Eroshenko, V. N. Lader “Tashkent.” Moscow, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Uzbekistan: one of the oldest and largest cities in central Asia; cotton textile manufacturing. Pop.: 2 160 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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