Historical Civilizations

Uzbekistan history


For some time historical events of the area called Middle Asian Dvurech’e were unknown to us. But researchers uncovered them, put them in chronological order and we received complete picture of the history of the territory by Syr Darya and Amu Darya. This area is called Dvurech’e. Today this territory mainly belongs to Uzbekistan and the past of this place is a significant part of history of Uzbekistan.


Dvurech’e started to develop back to B.C. era. First this area was populated by such civilizations as: Sogdian, Khorezmian, Fergano and Bactrian. These civilizations were busy with agriculture.

The most wide spread and the most significant for them was breeding cattle. These ancient civilizations were the beginning of development of great states.


Some people think that writing is one of the clearest signs of a state formation. In other words, we can say that civilization comes along with the development of a state. Considering this to be true, writing is important part of civilization. A significant role in the development of ancient civilizations played autochthon ethnos. They created a definite type of civilization.


Migrations at times before and during formation of ancient civilizations played even greater role in the development of ancient civilizations. Because of migration, people were able to spread their knowledge, believes and traditions. At the same time, moving to new places made people change their behavior and traditions. Throughout the history of human beings, people explored new territories and discovered new lands. Long distance migrations are significant factors influencing formation of civilization. People shared their cultural values, different nations mixed with each other creating new nations with separate languages.


Formation of a civilization is a long process. Not all civilizations have the same significance in history, that’s why they can be put in hierarchies. Some civilizations become prevalent, in majority of cases, due to strong and prolonged historical background. Other civilizations failed to gain enough power to continue existing. Vital role in formation of a civilization played cultural, political and economic activities of a nation. The stronger these components are, the more powerful is a civilization. First stage in development of a state is a development of a city. A state in this case takes economic, political and cultural principles of a city. Such states are called city-states and also known as nomes. A city was a managerial center of a state.


Dvurech’e was situated on the territory of today’s Surkhandarya region. During B.C. era, similar to city-state areas started developing. This area was called Djar-kutan that was located not far from Sherabad town. Djar-kutan took an area of more than 200 hectares. Several some settlements were a part of Djar-kutan. Together all the parts of Djar-kutan had one center. This center was a place where a governor lived. His house and a temple were well fortified. From this center, the governor gave orders and kept control over the whole state.


There were also different patterns of development of civilizations on the territory of Dvurech’e. Some of the cities appeared with the building of small settlements that had citadels and then slowly developed into cities. Some cities were former refugee camps with a citadel. This citadel played important role, because people used to hide there with cattle and belongings in times of military threats. As time passed other building were constructed near the citadel and the area became a city.


Some cities did not have natural historical formation. They were built by the order of a governor. This practice was popular in Middle Asian Dvurech’e during ruling of Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great is believed to order building of a city for his troop and local population near Syr Darya River. Perhaps it was Kanka town in Tashkent region.


Ancient cities heavily depended from the geographical, economic and political factors. At that time cities could be developing for centuries and then disappear just with military invasion. Others could be ordered to build and exist for thousands of years. A lot of ancient cities in Dvurech’e were destroyed from 4th to 5th centuries B.C. But some ancient cities managed to survive till our days. On the territory of Dvurech’e there were a lot of such ancient cities that are more than 25 century old. They are: Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Karshi, Kitab, Termez, Serax and Merv.


There were cities in Dvurech’e that with the time changed their location. They were called “migrating cities”. For different reasons, citizens of such cities used to leave one area and settle in another, usually relatively close area. This happened to Termez and Samarkand cities. At the time of Mongolian invasion these two cities were destroyed to the ground. After that people built them again but not on the same place, but next to it. Such cities as Khiva and Bukhara, on the other side, always were on the same territory. This made researchers work hard to restore historical events.


Multiple researches show that one of the most significant evidences showing age of the city is a depth of cultural layers. In other words, during excavations, the deeper the layer that gives signs of a life, the older the city is. Sometimes these layers are 20 meters deep. These layers allow revealing of historical events in exact chronological order. The first signs of life are at the bottom, and the most recent is at the top. With their help, scientists discovered that ancient cities usually had ark citadel, suburb area with burial places and cult structures.


With the time, ancient cities started developing into more sophisticated cities. They included some of the following or all elements in addition: kuhendiz-citadel, madina-kharidja, madina-dahil, shahri-biruna, shahri- daruna. As one of the characteristics of city development, ancient cities were protected by walls. There were constructions of public, memorial, civil purposes. Trade, handicraft, administrative centers and fiscal services developed.


Knowing evolution of a city is very helpful in identification of the city’s age. If scientists know what stages of formation and development the city passed, they can estimate the time the transfer from one to another stage took. Researches on the territory of Central Asia show that only few cities that still exist meet this condition. They are mainly situated in Uzbekistan: Bukhara, Khiva, Samarkand, Shahrisabz, Merv and Termez.