Central Asia in the Early Middle Ages,
Introduction to the history of the regions

10. The middle course of Sir Darja

(p. 163 of Chapter 10, "Srednee techenie Syrdar'i", K. Bajpakov)

The ancient name of the river Sir Darja – "Jaksart", was preserved until the Arab invasions. In the Middle Ages Sir Darja was called Sejkhun, Kangar, Gjul’-Zariun, Jimchuuguz, and only after the XVI c. did its initial name "Sir" become popular again [Kljashtornii, 1964,. pp. 74-76]. The climatic conditions predetermined the development of a mixed cattle-breeding – agricultural economy [Anfrianov, 1969. p. 227]. In the last centuries BC – the first centuries AD Sir Darja was the centre of the state formation of Kangjuj. Several large centres of town life were formed here in medieval times: in the fore-mountains of the Talas Alatau and the upper reaches of the river Aris’ were situated the region of Ispidzhab and the town with the same name, which was the capital of Kazakhstan during the IX-XII cc. [Bartol’d, 1963. v. I. p. 232]; the region of Kendzhide, situated along the middle course of Aris’ [Bartol’d, 1963. v. I, p. 233]; the Otrar oasis, corresponding to the medieval region of Suarab [Bartol’d, 1963. v. I, p. 233]; the Turkestan oasis in the middle course of Sir Darja. Judging from the literary sources, in medieval times there was situated the region of Shavgar [Bartol’d, 1963. v. I, p. 234], and in the high Middle Ages – the main town of Southern Kazakhstan – Turkestan [Pishtulina, 1969. pp. 19-21].

Map 10. The middle course of Sir Darja

a - large town; b - small town; c - modern settlement

1. Aktobe, 2. Chardara, 3. Sejidtepe, 4. Aktobe, 5. Bairkum, 6. Sajram, 7. Turtul'kobe, 8, 9. Balikchi, 10. Kazatlik, 11. Shortobe, 12. Dzhuvantobe, 13. Kokmardan, 14. Oksus, 15. Otrar, 16. Kujruktobe, 17. Buzuk, 18. Kumtobe, 19. Karatobe, 20. Artik-Ata, 21. Mejrom, 22. Baba-Ata, 23. Kumkent

The lower course of Sir Darja during the IX-X cc. was the centre of the Oghuz state. In the XI- the beginning of the XIII c. there was the capital of the Kipchak state, and during the XIV-XV cc. – of the Ak (White) Horde [Bartol’d, 1963. v. I, pp. 235-237; Agadzhanov, 1969; Istorija Kazakhskoj SSR, 1979].

[Previous] [Next]
[Back to Index]