part of the Turkmen SSR. Formed Dec. 14, 1970 (existed earlier from Nov. 21, 1939, through Jan. 10, 1963). Located in the northern part of the republic. Area, 73,600 sq km. Population, 472,000 (1975). The oblast is divided into six administrative raions and has one city and seven urban-type settlements. The administrative center is Tashauz. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Jan. 10, 1974.
Natural features. Tashauz Oblast is located along the left bank of the lower Amu Darya, in the Karakum desert. Most of the oblast is a plain. The northern part is occupied by old beds of the Amu Darya (including the Kuniadar’ia and the Budzhuniu-Dau-dan), the ancient delta of the Amu Darya, the Sarykamysh Basin with the Sarykamysh Lakes, and the southeastern edge of the Ustiurt Plateau. The climate is sharply continental. Summers are hot and dry, and winters are comparatively warm, with little snow. The average July temperature in the city of Tashauz is 27°C, and the average January temperature is –5.5°C. Annual precipitation is 100–150 mm, with most of it falling in winter and spring. The growing season in the Tashauz area is 200 days, the shortest in the republic. Extensive areas are occupied by sands; sierozems predominate, with takyrs on the ancient alluvial plains, solonchaks in the lowlands, and various meadow soils on the Amu Darya floodplain. The saxaul Haloxylon persicum, cherkez (Salsola paletzkiana), trees and shrubs of the genus Ammodendron, and sedges, wormwoods, halophytes, and numerous ephemerals grow on the sands. In the Amu Darya floodplain are meadow vegetation and gallery forests of Euphrates poplar (Popula diversifolia) and willows; along the Amu Darya and around the few lakes are thickets of reeds and bulrushes (genus Scirpus). Among the animals living in the desert are the corsac, wolf, goitered gazelle, cape hare, and such rodents as the suslik and jerboas (family Dipodidae). There are also birds and such reptiles as tortoises, lizards, and snakes. Carp, sheatfish, and pike perch are among the important commercial fish.
Population. Tashauz Oblast is inhabited mainly by Turkmen, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and Russians. The average population density is 6.4 persons per sq km (1975); 69 percent of the population is rural. Most of the population is concentrated in the Amu Darya valley, along the railroad and in adjoining regions, where the population density is 100 and more persons per sq km. Scattered around the desert are small settlements, mainly seasonal places of residence for livestock raisers.
Economy. A prominent place in Tashauz Oblast’s economy is occupied by light industry and by the food industry, which is associated with the processing of agricultural raw materials. The oblast is one of the primary cotton-growing and livestock-raising regions of the Turkmen SSR. The main branches of industry are cotton ginning, vegetable-oil extraction and fat production, meat packing, dairying, metalworking (primarily repair enterprises), and the production of building materials. The largest enterprises are located in Tashauz. In addition, there are cotton-ginning plants in the settlements of Kalinin, Takhta, H’ialy, Kunia-Urgench, Bol’shevik, and Leninsk and a milk plant in Kunia-Urgench. The oblast obtains electric power from the Takhiatash State Regional Electric Power Plant in the Uzbek SSR.
Plowland accounts for 2.1 percent of oblast’s land and pasture-land for more than 40 percent. In 1974 there were 79 kolkhozes and four sovkhozes. The cultivated land is irrigated. Water from the Amu Darya is brought to the fields through the large Tash-Saka, Klych-Niiazbai, Dzhumabai-Saka, Kipchak-Bozsu, and Sovet-Iab irrigation systems and through the old Shavat and Gazavat main canals. The construction of the Takhiatash Hydroengineering Complex made possible the regular supply of water to the irrigation canals. Saline waters are discharged into the Saryk-amysh Basin using a main drainage collector and sections of an old bed of the Amu Darya. The area under crops is 162,900 hectares (ha; 1974), of which 108,000 ha are planted in cotton. The oblast has the highest cotton production in the republic—32.4 quintals per ha in 1974, as against 23.1 quintals per ha for Turkmenia as a whole. The oblast produces almost one-third of the raw cotton in the Turkmen SSR. Perennial grasses, including alfalfa, which has great value in crop rotations with cotton, take up 11 percent of the sown area. Such grain crops as rice, barley, and dzhugara (Sorghum cernuum) are planted on 13,300 ha (1974). Of the oil plants, sesame is grown. Vegetable and melon crops (5,300 ha) and potatoes are also cultivated. There are vineyards and apricot, apple, peach, quince, and pear orchards.
Livestock are raised in Tashauz Oblast for meat, wool, and lamb pelts. Cattle and horses (mainly Iomuds) are raised in the oases; sheep (primarily karakul) and camels are raised in the desert regions. As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 123,500 head of cattle, including 51,700 cows, and 301,700 sheep and goats in the oblast. The oblast has 24 percent of the republic’s cattle and 7 percent of the sheep and goats. Silkworms are raised in the regions of irrigated land cultivation, producing about one-fifth of the republic’s cocoon supply.
A 72-km section of the Chardzhou-Kungrad-Makat railroad line passes through the northeastern part of the oblast. There are 1,060 km of roads (1974), including 923 km of hard-surfaced roads; the most important are the Tashauz-Chardzhou, Tashauz-Kunia-Urgench, and Tashauz-Takhiatash-Nukus highways. Tashauz is connected by air with Moscow and with many cities of Middle Asia and the Caucasus. A system of gas pipelines to the Urals, the Central Zone, and other regions of the country passes through the oblast.
P. E. SEMENOV
Cultural construction and public health. In the 1974–75 academic year there were about 131,500 students in 539 general-education schools of all types, 2,100 students in six vocational and technical schools under the State Vocational-Technical Education System of the USSR, and 1,800 students in three secondary specialized educational institutions. In 1975, 9,200 children were attending 98 preschool institutions. As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 292 public libraries with 1.217 million books and journals, a regional Turkmen music and drama theater in Tashauz, 163 clubs, 153 motion-picture projection units, and 24 extracurricular institutions, including the palace of Pioneers in Tashauz, seven houses of Pioneers, seven children’s sports schools, three young technicians’ stations, and three young naturalists’ stations. Among the oblast’s publications are the oblast newspapers Kommunizm ely (Path of Communism, in Turkmen, since 1932) and Tashauzskaia pravda (Tashauz Pravda, since 1941) and the Uzbek-language raion newspaper Pakhtakor (Cotton Grower, since 1933). The oblast receives the programs of the All-Union Radio (8 hours a day) and the republic radio (12 hours) and the Vostok and Orbita broadcasts from the Central Television Studio (13 and 8 hours, respectively). Republic television programs are broadcast from Ashkhabad twice weekly, and local television transmissions are shown for 5 hours a day in Turkmen and Russian. As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 46 hospitals, with 3,700 beds (7.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), and 639 physicians (one physician per 739 inhabitants). The oblast has one sanatorium and one house of rest.
REFERENCESTurkmenistan. Moscow, 1969. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Turkmenistan za 50 let: Statisticheskii sbornik. Ashkhabad, 1974.