Kashkadaria Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kashkadar’ia Oblast


a part of the Uzbek SSR. Formed on Feb. 7, 1964. Located in southern Uzbekistan. Area, 28, 400 sq km; population, 857, 000 (1972). The oblast is divided into ten raions and has three cities and four urban-type settlements. Its center is the city of Karshi. Kashkadar’ia Oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Sept. 14, 1967.

Natural features. Kashkadar’ia Oblast is situated in the basin of the Kashkadar’ia river and on the western edge of the Pamir-Alai mountain system. Most of the oblast consists of a plain: the Karshi Steppe in the northwest, the Nishan Steppe in the south, and the sands of the Sundukli in the southwest. On the northeast and the southeast the steppe is bounded by the spurs of the Zeravshan and Gissar mountains. The climate is sharply continental and desert. The winters are warm with an average temperature in January on the plain varying from —0.2° to 0.8°C. The summers are hot, dry, and long, with an average temperature in July of 31.5°C. Such a temperature cycle is favorable for cultivating fine-fibered varieties of cotton. However, during the spring and autumn there are occasional frosts; during the summer there are hot dry winds (the garmsil’). Precipitation falls mostly during the spring and winter; the amount on the plain varies from 200 to 250 mm; in the mountains and foothills it reaches as much as 500 mm per year. The principal river is the Kashkadar’ia with its many tributaries, which flow down from the mountains; the largest of these are the Aksu, Iakkabagdar’ia (Kyzyldar’ia), and Guzardar’ia. These rivers are fed by snow and have their high-water periods in the spring and early summer. To use the river water for irrigation more fully, reservoirs have been constructed: the Chim Kurgan on the Kashkadar’ia, the Kamashi on the Iakkabagdar’ia, and the Pachkamarskoe on the Guzardar’ia. Stretching from the Kashkadar’ia and most of its tributaries are irrigation canals, which form oases for irrigated agriculture: the Kitab-Shakhrisabz, the Guzar-Kamashi, and the largest—the Karshi.

In southern Kashkadar’ia Oblast there is a predominance of sandy expanses (the sands of the Sundukli), as well as many takyrs; in the north are clay plains and solonchaks. The Kashkadar’ia valley has light and typical sierozems, solonchaks, and meadow and other soils. Altitudinal zonality may be observed in the mountains: typical sierozems, dark sierozems, brown soils, and mountain-meadow soils. The desert section is poor in vegetation (mostly ephemeral plants and wormwood). There is tugai vegetation (a bottomland complex with forests, bushes, and meadows) in the valleys of the Kashkadar’ia and its tributaries. The mountains are covered with scrub brush and woody vegetation; within the forests there is a predominance of savin. The lower mountain slopes are used for pastures. In the mountains live argali, roe deer, and various predators—the brown bear, wolf, jackal, and fox. Birds are represented by the rock partridge and steppe eagle. The desert is inhabited by rodents, Persian gazelles, and foxes, as well as reptiles and arachnids.

Population. Most of the oblast’s population is Uzbek (85 percent, according to the 1970 census); also living in the oblast are Tadzhiks, Russians, Tatars, and Turkmens. The average population density is 30.2 persons per sq km (1972). The most densely populated areas are the Kitab-Shakhrisabz and Karshi oases; the least are the high-mountain and desert-steppe regions. The urban population increased from 41,000 in 1939 to 144, 000 by 1972. Cities include Karshi, Shakhrisabz, and Kasan.

Economy. From a backward province of the Bukhara Emirate, Kashkadar’ia Oblast has become during the Soviet period a region with a well-developed socialist economy. In industry, created during the five-year plans, the most developed branches are building materials, light industry, food processing, and natural gas. In agriculture cotton growing and the raising of Karakul sheep are most significant.

The total industrial output in 1971 had increased ninefold in comparison with 1940. Industry is represented, for the most part, by building-materials enterprises, with plants producing reinforced-concrete structural components, bricks, and limestone; there is extraction of nonmetallic materials like sand and gravel. A combine producing materials for wall construction is being built. The oblast also has a food-processing industry (flour-milling and baked goods combines, vegetable-oil extraction and canning plants, a winery, meat combines, and a dairy combine), and light industry (cotton mills, garment factories, and other enterprises). Ancient artistic crafts have been developed, such as the making of tiubeteikas (embroidered skullcaps) and siuzane (embroidered squares of cotton). The most important industrial enterprises are concentrated in Karshi and Shakhrisabz. During the 1960’s the natural gas and petroleum industries of the Mubarek group of deposits went into operation; they were connected with the main gas pipeline running through Tashkent to Frunze and Alma-Ata. The oblast has been made a part of the unified energy system of Middle Asia.

Productive land totals 2.4 million hectares (ha), of which 1.9 million ha are occupied by pastures and 0.5 million ha by arable lands (1971). In 1971 there were 72 kolkhozes and 42 sovkhozes. The area of irrigated lands amounts to 176, 900 ha. Projects are being carried out to irrigate the Karshi Steppe. Most of the arable lands are occupied by grain crops on dry and occasionally irrigated lands in the foothills. In 1971 there were 284, 000 ha (about two-thirds of all sown areas) under grain crops (for the most part, wheat and barley) and 110, 000 ha (340 percent more than in 1940) under cotton. Some 252, 000 tons of raw cotton were produced (5.6 percent of the republic’s total harvest). The average yield of cotton is 22.9 quintals per ha. Vegetable and melon crops occupy 9, 000 ha.

The pastures of the Karshi Steppe and the foothills of the Gissar Mountains serve as the base for the development of livestock raising, including that of Karakul sheep. As of Jan. 1, 1972, the oblast had 260, 000 cattle (including 104, 000 cows), 1, 267, 000 sheep and goats, 25, 000 swine, and 14, 000 horses. The raising of Karakul sheep has been developed in the desert regions. In the foothills there is a predominance of fat-rumped sheep and goats. Cattle are widespread throughout all the oblast’s raions. Horses, mostly of the Karabair breed, are raised. Kashkadar’ia Oblast provides about 6 percent of the cocoon harvest in Uzbekistan (1, 252 tons in 1971).

The total length of railroads is 344 km (1971). The Kagan-Karshi-Dushanbe railroad line cuts through the oblast in its western part. There is a branch line from Karshi to the settlement of Oktiabr’skii. In 1970 the Samarkand-Karshi railroad line (with a length of 142 km) went into operation. There are 1, 804 km of paved highways (1971). The eastern part of the oblast is intersected by the Greater Uzbek Route from Tashkent to Termez (150 km of which are within Kashkadar’ia Oblast).


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. Prior to the October Revolution there was not a single educational institution in Kashkadar’ia Oblast. During the 1971–72 academic year there were 259, 000 pupils enrolled at 786 general-education schools, 9, 300 students at 11 specialized educational institutions, and 6, 600 students at the Karshi State Pedagogical Institute. In 1972 some 16, 500 children were enrolled in 168 preschool institutions.

In the oblast as of Jan. 1, 1972, there were 445 public libraries (with 1, 833, 000 copies of books and journals), 250 clubs, and 317 film-projection units.

The oblast newspaper Kashkadare khakikati (Kashkadar’ia Pravda) has been published since 1925 in Uzbek, and Kashkadar’inskaia pravda has appeared in Russian since 1943. The oblast radio carries broadcasts in Uzbek and Russian on one program, and broadcasts are relayed from Tashkent and Moscow.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, there were 95 hospital institutions, with 7, 800 beds (9.1 beds per 1,000 inhabitants); 1, 100 physicians were working in the oblast (one physician per 747 inhabitants).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.