Khorezm Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Khorezm Oblast


an oblast in the northwestern part of the Uzbek SSR, on the left bank of the lower course of the Amu Darya. Formed on Jan. 15, 1938. Area, 4,500 sq km. Population, 688,000 (Jan. 1, 1977). Khorezm Oblast is divided into nine raions and has three cities and two urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Urgench. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Dec. 12, 1963, and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor on Jan. 7, 1971.

Natural features. Khorezm Oblast is a low-lying plain, with elevations of approximately 100 m. It is part of the ancient delta of the Amu Darya. In the west and southwest, the oblast adjoins the Karakum Desert. The climate is markedly continental: winters are moderately cold with little snow, and summers are hot and dry. The mean January temperature is – 5°C; the mean July temperature is 27.3°C. Annual precipitation is 80–90 mm, most of which falls in March and April. The frost-free period lasts about 240 days.

Within the oblast, the Amu Darya has a broad floodplain and low banks, which it frequently overflows during high water. Earthen dikes have been built to protect against flooding. The waters of the Amu Darya are used extensively for irrigation. In the southern part of the oblast are numerous small salt lakes, swamps, and salt bottoms, which are filled during the summer by water from canals and by groundwater.

Much of Khorezm Oblast is occupied by irrigated cropland. Natural vegetation has been preserved in the Amu Darya floodplain and in the desert: in the floodplain grow tugai (floodplain forests) of, for example, Euphrates poplar, Elaeagnus, and tamarisk; in the desert are biocenoses of Haloxylon, narrow-leaved shrubs, and leafless shrubs. The fish of the Amu Darya include Siluridae, asp, Barbus, European bream, and carp. The muskrat and coypu have been acclimatized and are found near various bodies of water.

Population. According to the 1970 census, Uzbeks constitute 92.1 percent of the oblast’s population; Russians, 2.4 percent; Kazakhs, 1.6 percent; Tatars, 1.3 percent; and Koreans, 1.2 percent. Khorezm Oblast, one of the republic’s most densely populated oblasts, had a population density of 153 persons per sq km as of Jan. 1, 1977; 20 percent of the population was urban. The cities are Urgench, Khiva, and Druzhba.

Economy. Khorezm Oblast is one of the republic’s cottongrowing regions; livestock raising, rice growing, sericulture, and the processing of local agricultural products are also highly developed.

Industry is dominated by light industry and the food-processing industry. Cotton ginning is the most highly developed light industry, with plants in Urgench, Khiva, Khazarasp, Khanka, Gurlen, Shavat, langiaryk, Iangibazar, Koshkupyr, and Bagat. Urgench has a silk-spinning factory and a garment factory. There is a carpet combine in Khiva. The food-processing industry is represented by such enterprises as a vegetable-oil mill, a winery, a confectionery factory, and a meat-packing, milk, and butter factory at Urgench. The building-materials industry is developing in Urgench, Khiva, and Druzhba. The oblast also has repair shops, and a furniture factory is located in Urgench. Most of the oblast’s electricity comes from the Takhiatash State Regional Hydroelectric Power Plant in the Karakalpak ASSR. Natural gas has been supplied to Khorezm Oblast since 1963.

As of November 1976, agricultural lands totaled 411,600 hectares (ha), including 166,000 ha of plowland and 237,800 ha of pastureland. At the end of 1976 there were 89 kolkhozes and 16 sovkhozes. In 1976 the total sown area was 165,300 hectares, all of which was irrigated. The oblast’s irrigation canals include the Tashsak, Palvan-Gazavat, Shavat, and Klychbai. In 1977 the Tiuia-Muiun Hydroengineering Complex was under construction in the Turkmen SSR, not far from the border of Khorezm Oblast.

Industrial crops, primarily cotton, occupy 62.7 percent (103,700 ha) of the sown area. In 1976, 378,000 tons of raw cotton were harvested, and the oblast’s cotton yield of 36.5 hwt per ha was the republic’s highest. Of the sown area, 18,900 ha are planted to grains, including 12,700 ha to rice; 34,700 to feed crops, including 12,300 ha to greenfeed and Indian corn for silage; and 8,000 ha to potatoes and other vegetables and to melons and gourds. Orchards, vineyards, and other perennial plantings occupy 7,100 ha.

Animal husbandry concentrates on the production of meat and milk. As of Jan. 1, 1977, the livestock population included 245,000 head of cattle, 94,200 sheep, and 7,500 swine. In 1976, 1,802 tons of silkworm cocoons were produced.

Khorezm Oblast is crossed by the Chardzhou-Kungrad-Makat railroad line, which runs for a distance of 133 km within the oblast. In 1976 there were 1,692 km of roads, of which 1,313 km were hard-surface. Urgench is linked by air with such cities as Moscow and Tashkent. The oblast is crossed by two major natural gas pipelines: Bukhara-Urals and Middle Asia-Central Economic Region.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1976–77 academic year Khorezm Oblast had 578 general-education schools of all types, with a total of 196,400 students; 16 vocational-technical educational institutions, with 5,500 students; and seven specialized secondary educational institutions, with 5,700 students. In that year 2,900 students attended the pedagogical institute in Urgench, and 23,400 children were enrolled in 261 preschool institutions.

In 1976, Khorezm Oblast had 445 public libraries, with 2,208,000 copies of books and periodicals. Located in the oblast are the Khorezm Theater of Musical Comedy and Drama in Urgench, and the museum-preserve of Ichan-Kala in Khiva. As of 1976, the oblast had 240 clubs, 292 stationary motion-picture projection units, and 13 extracurricular institutions.

There are two oblast-level newspapers: the Uzbek-language Kharäzm khäkikäti (Khorezm Pravda), published since 1920, and the Russian-language Khorezmskaia Pravda, published since 1941. Program 1 of All-Union Radio is broadcast 19.5 hours daily, the republic program is transmitted 22 hours daily, and local programming is on the air one hour daily; broadcasts are in Russian and Uzbek. With regard to television, Program 1 carries the program East for 13 hours daily, and Program 2 presents republic and local broadcasts, in Russian and Uzbek, for 11 hours and one hour, respectively.

As of Jan. 1, 1977, Khorezm Oblast had 54 hospitals, with 6,600 beds (9.5 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), and 1,500 physicians (one physician per 444 inhabitants). The oblast has three sanatoriums.


Khorezm. Tashkent, 1962.
Khudaibergenov, M. Khorezmskaia oblast. Tashkent, 1975.
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Uzbekskoi SSR za 60 let Sovetskoi vlasti: Iubileinyi statistich. ezhegodnik. Tashkent, 1977.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.