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Termez (tyĭrmyĕsˈ), city (1991 pop. 99,000), capital of Surkhandaryo region, S Uzbekistan, a port on the Amu Darya River, near the Afghanistan border. It is the center of an agricultural region and has cotton and food processing and brick and tile industries. The major highway between Russia and Afghanistan runs through the city. The temperature rises as high as 122℉ (50℃) in Termez, one of the hottest cities in central Asia. Part of the Bactrian kingdom in the 1st cent. B.C., Termez later developed as a river port and feudal trade center. Termez was a primary transit point during the Soviet occupation (1979–89) of Afghanistan. Remains of a 9th-century fortress and relics of iron, ceramics, and Buddhist pottery have been unearthed there.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city and center of Surkhandar’ia Oblast, Uzbek SSR. Situated on the border with Afghanistan, on the right bank of the Amu Darya at the point where it empties into the Surkhan Darya. Railroad station; international river port. Population, 54,000(1975; 13,000 in 1939).

Termez has a large cotton-ginning plant, a brickyard, a combine for the production of reinforced-concrete items and structural components, and a meat-packing and dairy combine. Its educational institutions include a pedagogical institute, technicums for construction, agriculture, and physical education, and schools of medicine and music. The city has a music and drama theater and a museum of local lore.

Near the modern city, on the Amu Darya, is the site of the ancient fortified town of Termez, which existed as early as the time of the Greco-Bactrian kings (third and second centuries B.C.). The city flourished in the first to fourth centuries A.D., at the time of the Kushana kingdom. Termez was captured by the Arabs in the late seventh century. In the ninth to 12th centuries it was important as a feudal city, administrative and artisan center, and river port.

Termez was sacked by Genghis Khan in 1220, after which it went into decline. It revived in the second half of the 13th century, in a more easterly location, on the right bank of the Surkhan Darya, where it existed until the 18th century. By the mid-19th century the settlement of Pattagissar (Patta-Gisar; now Pakhta-Gisar) arose at the mouth of the Surkhan Darya, near a ford of the Amu Darya; late in the century a Russian border post was built nearby. From these two grew a city that in 1928 was given the ancient name Termez.

Among the many archaeological and architectural monuments in the Termez area, the Buddhist religious center Kara-Tepe is of particular interest; many artifacts of Buddhist culture of the second and third centuries, including ruins of monasteries, stone sculptures, and wall paintings, have been found there. Other noteworthy monuments are the Kyrk-kyz country palace (ninth or tenth century), the mazar of Hakim al-Termezi (11th—12th centuries), and the Sultan-Saadat ensemble of mausoleums of the Termez sayyids (11th to 17th centuries).


Gowda Uzbekistana. Tashkent, 1965.
Akhmedov, E. A., and E. N. Fatakhov. Novye goroda Uzbekistana. Tashkent, 1972.
Kul’tura Vostoka: Sb. Muzeia vostochnykh kul’tur. fases. 1–2. Moscow, 1927–28.
Termezskaia arkheologicheskaia kompleksnaia ekspeditsiia [1936–38, vols. 1–2]. Tashkent, 1940–45.
Buddiiskii kul’tovyi tsentr Kara-tepe v Starom Termeze. Moscow, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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