Geography of Surkandarya Province
Being the sunniest and southernmost part and one of the 12 provinces of Uzbekistan, Surkhandarya Province is located in the Surkhan-Sherobod Valley. It is considered to be a Southern Gate of our country. It borders on Afghanistan in the south, Tajikistan from north and east, Turkmenistan in the south-west and Kashkadarya province in the north-west. The territory of Surkhandarya province is 20.100 sq.km/s. Its population is more than 2 million people. As it’s a mountainous province the central and southern parts are a plain bordered on Gissar range in the north, in the west and north-west its spurs-Baisuntau and Kugitantau, Babatag range in the east and the valley of the Amudarya in the south. The climate is subcontinental with a warm winter and hot, prolonged summer when the day’s temperature often reaches +45-50. There are 14 administrative districts and 8 towns in the province; Termez, Sherobod, Angor, Muzrabod, Boysun, Denau, Sariosiyo, Uzun, Jarkurghan, Kumkurghan, Shurchi, Oltinsoy, Bandikhon, Khizirik. The political, financial and commercial centre of the province is Termez city. Surkhandarya Province is the region of a highly developed industry. Here oil and gas are extracted. Of three largest coal deposits in Uzbekistan two are in Surkhandarya. There are also deposits of gypsum, granite, and argillite. Such branches of industry as cotton cleaning, cotton processing, and silk-weaving are created.
One of the most ancient civilizations, a cradle of a lot of religions and cultures present-day Surkhandarya Province is mentioned in historical references as a central and most important part of the vast region of Bactria. The history of it is more than 3700 years. It had been formed before the invasion of Iranian Ahamenids. In “Avesto” it’s also described as a beautiful land with “thousands of towns and villages”.
In epigraphic sources Bactria and Bactrians are mentioned in ancient Persian inscriptions of the V-IV centuries B.C. In Movaraunnahr the Bactrians, as other Eastern Iranian nationalities appeared at the end of the II beginning of the 1st millenniums B.C.
Favorable climatic conditions exceptionally fertile lands, especially in the rivers’ valleys, were conducive to an early settling of the region’s territory and later brought about as well an intensive development of agriculture on the basis of irrigation, the emergence of cities and settlements. The first sites of man on the territory of Surkhandarya Province emerged in the valleys of the rivers of the Boysun range, among mountain forests giving rich gatherings of wild fruits and populated by various species of wild animals. Among the earliest of them is the Teshiktosh cave located in Boysuntau mountain ranges. Thus, the History of peoples living here goes back to the Paleolithic period (Stone Age). Since the early times the main occupation of the inhabitants of the oasis was agriculture based on irrigation. The most ancient artifacts of Stone, Bronze, Iron, and Ceramics on the territory of Surkhandarya Oasis are found in the layers of the V-IV B. C on the settlements of Kuchuktepe, Kizilcha. Excavations of the settlements gave us the richest material for the description of the construction business, handicrafts and lifestyles of Oasis people at that period. The finds of various stone and ceramic implements indicate that weaving and stone works were also developed in the region. Farming and gardening were not of less importance in the economy of the region as well. Evidently, in this period fields and gardens were located on the former place of Shahristans and rabads. At the same time trade relations with other countries was also developing, as the finds of about three dozens of silver and bronze coins from Diodotus, Euthydemus, Demetrius, Eucratides, Heliocles of different face values testify. Archaeological monuments of Greco-Bactrian, Kushan and other times on the territory of the province are extremely numerous and various. There still exist hundred of places that need to be researched in near future.