Tashkent (/ˌtæʃˈkɛnt/; Uzbek: Toshkent, Тошкент, تاشكېنت, [tɒʃˈkent]; Russian: Ташкент, [tɐʂˈkʲɛnt]; literally "Stone City") is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan. The officially registered population of the city in 2012 was about 2,309,300.
Due to its position in Central Asia, Tashkent came under Sogdian and Turkic influence early in its history, before Islam in the 8th century AD. After its destruction by Genghis Khan in 1219, the city was rebuilt and profited from the Silk Road. In 1865 it was conquered by the Russian Empire, and in Soviet times witnessed major growth and demographic changes due to forced deportations from throughout the Soviet Union. Today, as the capital of an independent Uzbekistan, Tashkent retains a multi-ethnic population with ethnic Uzbeks as the majority.
During its long history, Tashkent has had various changes in names and political and religious affiliations.
Tashkent was settled by ancient people as an oasis on the Chirchik River, near the foothills of the West Tian Shan Mountains. In ancient times, this area contained Beitian, probably the summer "capital" of the Kangju confederacy.
In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the town and the province were known as Chach. The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi also refers to the city as Chach. Later the town came to be known as Chachkand/Chashkand, meaning "Chach City".
The principality of Chach had a square citadel built around the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, some 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south of the Syr Darya River. By the 7th century AD, Chach had more than 30 towns and a network of over 50 canals, forming a trade center between the Sogdians and Turkic nomads. The Buddhist monk Xuánzàng 玄奘 (602/603? – 664 AD), who travelled from China to India through Central Asia, mentioned the name of the city as Zhěshí 赭時. The Chinese chronicles Suí shū 隋書 ("Book of Suí"), Běi shǐ 北史 ("History of Northern Dynasties") and Táng shū 唐書 ("Book of Táng"), mention a possession called Shí 石 or Zhěshí 赭時 with a capital of the same name since the fifth century AD [Bichurin, 1950. v. II].
In the early 8th century, the region was conquered by Muslim Arabs.
The modern Turkic name of Tashkent (City of Stone) comes from Kara-Khanid rule in the 10th century ("Tash" in Turkic languages means stone). After the 16th century, the name evolved from Chachkand/Chashkand to Tashkand. The modern spelling of "Tashkent" reflects Russian orthography and 20th-century Soviet influence.
The city was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1219 and lost much of its population as a result of the Mongols' destruction of the Khwarezmid Empire in 1220. Under the Timurid and subsequent Shaybanid dynasties the city's population and culture gradually revived as a prominent strategic center of scholarship, commerce and trade along the Silk Road.
In 1809, Tashkent was annexed to the Khanate of Kokand. At the time, Tashkent had a population of around 100,000 and was considered the richest city in Central Asia. It prospered greatly through trade with Russia, but chafed under Kokand’s high taxes. The Tashkent clergy also favored the clergy of Bukhara over that of Kokand. However, before the Emir of Bukhara could capitalize on this discontent, the Russian army arrived.
In May 1865, Mikhail Grigorevich Chernyayev (Cherniaev), acting against the direct orders of the tsar, and outnumbered at least 15-1, staged a daring night attack against a city with a wall 25 kilometres (16 mi) long with 11 gates and 30,000 defenders. While a small contingent staged a diversionary attack, the main force penetrated the walls, led by a Russian Orthodox priest armed only with a crucifix. Although defense was stiff, the Russians captured the city after two days of heavy fighting and the loss of only 25 dead as opposed to several thousand of the defenders (including Alimqul, the ruler of the Kokand Khanate). Chernyayev, dubbed the "Lion of Tashkent" by city elders, staged a "hearts-and-minds" campaign to win the population over. He abolished taxes for a year, rode unarmed through the streets and bazaars meeting common people, and appointed himself "Military Governor of Tashkent", recommending to Tsar Alexander II that the city be made an independent khanate under Russian protection.
The Tsar liberally rewarded Chernyayev and his men with medals and bonuses, but regarded the impulsive general as a "loose cannon", and soon replaced him with General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman. Far from being granted independence, Tashkent became the capital of the new territory of Russian Turkistan, with Kaufman as first Governor-General. A cantonment and Russian settlement were built across the Ankhor Canal from the old city, and Russian settlers and merchants poured in. Tashkent was a center of espionage in the Great Game rivalry between Russia and the United Kingdom over Central Asia. The Turkestan Military District was established as part of the military reforms of 1874. The Trans-Caspian Railway arrived in 1889, and the railway workers who built it settled in Tashkent as well, bringing with them the seeds of Bolshevik Revolution.
With the fall of the Russian Empire, the Russian Provisional Government removed all civil restrictions based on religion and nationality, contributing to local enthusiasm for the February Revolution. The Tashkent Soviet of Soldiers' and Workers' Deputies was soon set up, but primarily represented Russian residents, who made up about a fifth of the Tashkent population. Muslim leaders quickly set up the Tashkent Muslim Council (Tashkand Shura-yi-Islamiya) based in the old city. On 10 March 1917, there was a parade with Russian workers marching with red flags, Russian soldiers singing La Marseillaise and thousands of local Central Asians. Following various speeches, Governor-General Aleksey Kuropatkin closed the events with words "Long Live a great free Russia".
The First Turkestan Muslim Conference was held in Tashkent 16–20 April 1917. Like the Muslim Council, it was dominated by the Jadid, Muslim reformers. A more conservative faction emerged in Tashkent centered around the Ulema. This faction proved more successful during the local elections of July 1917. They formed an alliance with Russian conservatives, while the Soviet became more radical. The Soviet attempt to seize power in September 1917 proved unsuccessful.
In April 1918, Tashkent became the capital of the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkestan ASSR). The new regime was threatened by White forces, basmachi; revolts from within, and purges ordered from Moscow. In 1930 Tashkent fell within the borders of the Uzbek SSR, and became the capital of the Uzbek SSR, displacing Samarkand.
The city began to industrialize in the 1920s and 1930s.
Violating the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. The government worked to relocate factories from western Russia and Ukraine to Tashkent to preserve the Soviet industrial capacity. This led to great increase in industry during World War II.
It also evacuated most of the German communist emigres to Tashkent. The Russian population increased dramatically; evacuees from the war zones increased the total population of Tashkent to well over a million. Russians and Ukrainians eventually comprised more than half of the total residents of Tashkent. Many of the former refugees stayed in Tashkent to live after the war, rather than return to former homes.
During the postwar period, the Soviet Union established numerous scientific and engineering facilities in Tashkent.
On 10 January 1966, then Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistan President Ayub Khan signed a pact in Tashkent with Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin as the mediator. On the next day, Shastri died suddenly, reportedly due to a heart attack. It is widely speculated that Shastri was killed by poisoning the water he drank.
On 26 April 1966, much of the old city was destroyed by a earthquake. More than 300,000 residents were left homeless. Some 78,000 poorly engineered homes were destroyed, mainly in the densely packed areas of the old city, where traditional adobe housing predominated. The Soviet republics, and some other countries such as Finland, sent "battalions of fraternal peoples" and urban planners to help rebuild devastated Tashkent. They created a model Soviet city of wide streets planted with shade trees, parks, immense plazas for parades, fountains, monuments, and acres of apartment blocks. About 100,000 new homes were built by 1970, but the builders occupied many, rather than the homeless residents of Tashkent. Further development in the following years increased the size of the city with major new developments in the Chilonzor area, north-east and south-east of the city.
At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Tashkent was the fourth-largest city in the USSR and a center of learning in the fields of science and engineering.
Due to the 1966 earthquake and the Soviet redevelopment, little architectural heritage has survived of Tashkent's ancient history. Few structures mark its significance as a trading point on the historic Silk Road.
Tashkent is the capital of and the most cosmopolitan city in Uzbekistan. It was noted for its tree-lined streets, numerous fountains, and pleasant parks, at least until the tree-cutting campaigns initiated in 2009 by the local government. 
Since 1991, the city has changed economically, culturally, and architecturally. New development has superseded or replaced icons of the Soviet era. The largest statue ever erected for Lenin was replaced with a globe, featuring a geographic map of Uzbekistan. Buildings from the Soviet era have been replaced with new modern buildings. The "Downtown Tashkent" district includes the 22-story NBU Bank building, an Intercontinental Hotel, the International Business Center, and the Plaza Building.
The Tashkent Business district is a special district, established for the development of small, medium and large businesses in Uzbekistan.
In 2007, Tashkent was named a "cultural capital of the Islamic world" by Moscow News, as the city has numerous historic mosques and significant Islamic sites, including the Islamic University.  Tashkent holds the Samarkand Kufic Quran, one of the earliest written copies of the Quran, which has been located in the city since 1924. 
A first demonstration of fully electronic TV set to public and committee was made in Tashkent in summer 1928 by Boris Grabovsky and his team. In his method that had been patented in Saratov in 1925, Boris Grabovsky proposed a new principle of TV imaging based on the vertical and horizontal electron beam sweeping under high voltage. Nowadays this principle of the TV imaging is used practically in all modern cathode-ray tubes. Historian and ethnographer Boris Golender (Борис Голендер in Russian), in a video lecture, described this event. This date of demonstration of the fully electronic TV set is the earliest known so far. Despite this fact, most modern historians disputably consider Vladimir Zworykin and Philo Farnsworth as inventors of the first fully electronic TV set. In 1964, the contribution made to the development of early television by Grabovsky was officially acknowledged by the Uzbek government and he was awarded the prestigious degree, 'Honorable Inventor of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic'.
Tashkent Altai mountains on the road between Shymkent and Samarkand. Tashkent sits at the confluence of the Chirchiq River and several of its tributaries and is built on deep alluvial deposits up to 15 metres (49 ft). The city is located in an active tectonic area suffering large numbers of tremors and some earthquakes. The local time in Tashkent is UTC/GMT +5 hours.is situated in a well-watered plain to the west of the last
Tashkent features a Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) with strong continental climate influences (Köppen: Dsa). As a result, Tashkent experiences cold and often snowy winters not typically associated with most Mediterranean climates and long, hot and dry summers. Winters are cold and often snowy, covering the months of December, January and February. Most precipitation occurs during these months which frequently falls as snow. The city experiences two peaks of precipitation in the early winter and spring. The slightly unusual precipitation pattern is partially due to its 500 m (roughly 1600 feet) altitude. Summers are long in Tashkent, usually lasting from May to September. Tashkent can be extremely hot during the months of July and August. The city also sees very little precipitation during the summer, particularly from June through September.
|Climate data for Tashkent (1981–2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||22.2
|Average high °C (°F)||6.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.9
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−28
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||57.8
|Average precipitation days||11.1||9.6||11.4||9.5||7.0||3.2||1.3||0.7||1.5||4.8||7.3||9.5||76.9|
|Average snowy days||13||8||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||2||8||32.2|
|Average relative humidity (%)||73||68||62||60||53||40||39||42||45||57||66||73||56.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||117.3||125.3||165.1||216.8||303.4||361.8||383.7||365.8||300.9||224.8||149.5||105.9||2,820.3|
|Source #1: Centre of Hydrometeorological Service of Uzbekistan, World Meteorological Organisation|
|Source #2: Pogoda.ru.net (record low and record high temperatures), NOAA (mean monthly sunshine hours, 1961–1990)|
In 1983, the population of Tashkent amounted to 1,902,000 people living in a municipal area of 256 km2 (99 sq mi). By 1991, (break-up of Soviet Union) the number of permanent residents of the capital had grown to approximately 2,136,600. Tashkent was the fourth most populated city in the former USSR, after Moscow, Leningrad (St. Petersburg), and Kiev. Nowadays, Tashkent remains the fourth most populous city in the CIS and Baltic countries. The population of the city was 2,295,300 people in 2004.
As of 2008[update], the national structure of Tashkent was as follows:
Tashkent is currently divided into the following districts (Uzbek: 'Tuman'):
At the time of the Tsarist take over it had four districts (Uzbek daha):
In 1940 it had the following districts (Russian район):
By 1981 they were reorganized into:
Due to the destruction of most of the ancient city during the 1917 revolution and, later, to the 1966 earthquake, little remains of Tashkent's traditional architectural heritage. Tashkent is, however, rich in museums and Soviet-era monuments. They include:
The Russian Orthodox church in Amir Temur Square, built in 1898, was demolished in 2009. The building had not been allowed to be used for religious purposes since the 1920s due to the antireligious campaign conducted by Bolshevik (communist) government from Moscow across the former Soviet Union. During the Soviet period the building was used for different non-religious purposes; after independence it was a bank.
Most important scientific institutions of Uzbekistan, such as the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, are located in Tashkent. There are several universities and institutions of higher education:
Moreover, there are digital broadcasting systems available in Tashkent which is unique in Central Asia.
There are several shopping malls in Tashkent which are good both for entertainment and shopping. These include Next, Samarqand Darvoza and Kontinent shopping malls.
Next mall is very popular among families and prominent for its Science Lab for kids, Dinosaur’s museum, Ice Rink and Cinema.
Samarqand Darvoza offers a wide range of entertaining including Playground for kids, Game area, bowling and convenient multilayer parking place. It is a good place for kids’ birthday parties and family entertainment.
Kontinent Mall is conveniently located next to the Grand Mir Hotel. It is a smaller place but combines a variety of dining options such as diet cafe, fast food court and a bar.
Football is the most popular sport in Tashkent, with the most prominent football clubs being FC Pakhtakor Tashkent and FC Bunyodkor, both of which compete in the Uzbek League. Footballers Maksim Shatskikh, Peter Odemwingie and Vassilis Hatzipanagis were born in the city.
Natella Teller of Tashkent won an Olympic medal in Badminton.
Tashkent is twinned with: