Modern Termez is a relatively young, growing city — the administrative center of Surkhandarya region in the south of Uzbekistan, which borders with Turkmenistan in the west, Afghanistan to the south, and Tajikistan to the east. Surkhandarya is supposed to be a huge territory within 20,1 thousand of square kilometers with a population of 1957, 8 thousand people.140 thousand inhabitants of which live in Termez city. Region’s climate is continental, with a characteristically hot and long summer and cold, but not a long winter.
Termez is one of the few cities whose historical development did not happen only in one place. Having survived another regular destruction, the city was restored to a new location not far from the buried ruins, but within the same district, between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. Actually, therefore, recalling the history of Termez, we’re talking about all the territories once been occupied by this city.
The first settlement on these lands was formed back in the V-IV centuries BC. The first founder of the city is called the Bactrian king named Zorotastra.
Everybody wants to believe in a beautiful legend. However, according to historical chronicles, it was revealed that the settlements were transformed into the city, much later during the campaign of Alexander the Macedonian (IV-III century BC). It was exactly the time, when he founded the Alexandria Oksianskaya on a place of Bactrian fortress of Kampyrtepa. And only much later, in the II century BC, during the reign of the Greco-Bactrian king named Demetrius started a real growth of the small town founded in the citadel, which bears its name.
The first name of Termez, under which this town became known in history, was — Taramastha or Taramata, which was translated from Bactrian and had a meaning of «river crossing», as there was a place of transition across the Amu Darya somewhere close to the settlement.
The greatest flowering the city won in the era of the Kushan Empire in the I century AD. During this period that place became a major administrative and religious center, as well as it received the title of Termite. Kushan rulers maintained a policy of toleration, therefore, along with Zoroastrianism, other kinds of religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, flourished in Termez. It was namely this area where from the missionaries carried the Buddha’s teachings to the north in Sogdiana and the west of Margiana, Tibet and China. Chronicles kept until nowadays the names of famous natives of Termez, who became famous preachers. Among these people are Zhi Jian, who conducted his sermons in the Chinese capital of Luoyan and Nanjing, and a Buddhist monk Dharmamitra, who played a crucial role in establishing of Buddhism in Tibet.
It was definitely in the first century, when a truly creative and intellectual atmosphere was established in the city, which determined the further emergence of such a legendary personality like Mohammad Ali Hakim at-Termizi, who nowadays is still so highly esteemed in the world of Islam.
In the V-VI centuries AD Termez became a part of the Ephtalits kingdom, then the union of Sassanids, who were originally from Iran. In the VII century the dynasty of Termezshahs started to rule the city.
In 705 year, the Arabs arrived into Termez.
By the X century it was already one of the largest feudal towns, as well as administrative, craft, cultural and educational center. At that time the city acquired the true Oriental type, a great deal of fortifications and citadel was built, monumental buildings with a characteristic architecture were constructured. At the same time, science, theology and culture were steadily developed.
Years flowed over the years, the centuries after centuries, one ruling dynasty changed another, the invaders have come and gone, Termez was destroyed many times, but it revived again, restoring not only the walls of the ruined city, but the former political and economic power.
The last total destruction of Termez was at the ruling time of Sheibanids dynasty.
The struggle for the throne, civil strife and bloody wars of the second half of the XVIII century, turned the city again into ruins. And only a hundred years later on the place of one from two survived villages (Salavat and Pattakesar) located on the outskirts of the old city, Termez was again revived.
The emergence of a new Termez was directly connected with the arrival of Russian people to these places in the late XIX century. Struggling against predatory raids on the territory of Russia, the tsar’s government has taken several military campaigns into Central Asia, during which, Russia annexed part of territories of Turkistan. January 15, 1893 year, the Emir of Bukhara officially handed Termez to Russia. It was very useful, as the border outpost guarding the frontiers of Russia on the distant approaches, was started to build.
New Termez had a strange appearance, consisted of the semi-European and semi-Asiatic parts. There were here one-story governmental buildings, made from bricks and homes from raw with oriental flat roofs and windows in European way facing the street.
After the electricity and the telegraph were conducted, railroad was constructed; Termez became a major military and strategic point on the Amu Darya region.
Even after the October Revolution of 1917 year, Termez has not lost its military significance.
In Soviet times, Termez, as a border town was virtually closed for tourists to visit. These days, a set of military facilities such as military airport, river port, the so-called «friendship bridge» that connected the city with the territory of Afghanistan with its territory, were constructed.
Today’s modern Termez is considered to be the southern gateway of the country, is pleased to welcome guests. During the years of independence, it became a beautiful and modern city. The streets of it were quite expanded, roads have been restored, a great number of houses were built in the majestic oriental style. Markets, amusement parks, sports complexes and centers of education and culture were landscaping. Therefore, nowadays more and more guests come into the city on the Amu Darya, who desire to touch the beauty and mystery of the past.