Jizzakh is a city and the center of Jizzakh Region in Uzbekistan, located at the northern foot of the Nurata Mountains, 180 km south-west of Tashkent, northeast of Samarkand.
Jizzakh was an important Silk Road junction on the road connecting Samarkand with Fergana Valley. It is at the edge of Golodnaya Steppe, and next to the strategic Pass of Jilanuti (Timur’s Gate) in the Turkestan Mountains, controlling the approach to the Zeravshan Valley, Samarkand and Bukhara.
There are several versions of the origin of the name of the city of Jizzakh:
- According to the first version, the name comes from the Sogdian word “dizak” – “a small fortress, a small fort”.
- According to the legend, the name could come from the phrase “life” – heat and “zah” – “dampness”, due to the particular climatic conditions of the region.
- Another legend says that limestone can be seen in the highlands of Jizzakh. People saw how a stone after his contact with water hissed and became white (“jizz” – “hissing”, “ok” – “white”). Here’s the origin of the name.
The climate of Jizzakh is sharply continental. Summer is hot and dry, the temperature in July reaches 45 °. Winter is mild.
Jizzakh is rich in dishes of national cuisine: “tandoor kabob” – meat cooked on spruce branches in tandoor, “tandir shurva” – national soup in tandoor, jizzakh pilaf, and of course the famous jizzakh samsa. It is big, its dough is thin, not puffed, the meat is coarsely chopped, mixed with onions. That is why Dzhizakh samsa is very juicy. It is served, as a rule, with tomato sauce or vinegar, and greased with cotton oil on top.
The first mentions of Arab scholars about Jizzakh belong to the 10th century. Before the Arabs, the city was part of Ustrushana (part of Sogd). In the 9-10 centuries, the city was part of the Samanid state, in 11-12 centuries it belonged to the Khorezmshah state and the Karakhanid state.
In 1220, Jizzakh fell into decay after the invasion of Genghis Khan’s troops.
In the 14-15th century, the city turned into a major administrative and trade and economic center of the country as part of the state of Amir Timur.
By the beginning of the 60s of the 18th century, Jizzakh was the administrative center of the Jizzakh Bek as part of the Bukhara Emirate and existed until joining the Russian Empire.
Modern Jizzakh is the administrative, economic, cultural, scientific and educational center of the Jizzakh region.
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