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Shahrukhiya

Shahrukhiya settlement and its history are inextticably linked with name of Temur Великого the Great and the history of our beloved city of Tashkent. 

Shahrukhiya is located in Akkurgan area on the right bank of the Syrdarya river, where it meets Akhangaran river, near another huge ancient Kanka settlement, the former capital of the Kanchyuy powerful state.

For several centuries there were legends told about the existence of this city. One of them tells us about how long a continuous battle of residents of the besieged city with the countless hordes of invaders lasted. Battering machines already supplied, the fortress ramparts breached, fires are burning in the city, molten resin flows continues to pour on the heads of the attackers, hails of rocky cores arrows are pouring. Defenders’ forces seem to be inexhaustible, but the number of strikers is greater in many times. And suddenly, all was quiet, the city suddenly ceased resistance

The invaders break into the city in anticipation of a rich catch, but suddenly, residents of the city dissolved in the dungeon below the bank of the river in front of them, taking the values and weapons with them. Some of the most desperate soldiers ran after them, but the dungeon completely engulfed them. The grounds for the legends and tales were more than enough. Mighty Syrdarya, that was undermining the shore, opened to their eyes a mass of earthen vessels, deep wells, overhung towers of monumental buildings, complex system of underground urban communication systems and whimsical maze of dungeons.

Archaeological excavations and historical sources have allowed to reconstruct the history of this once large and prosperous city, one of the best in the Tashkent oasis.

In its ancient period Shahrukhiya settlement emerged as a fortress on the strategically important crossing site on the right bank of the abounding Syrdarya. Well guarded, it served as one of the main crossing points of the Tashkent oasis from the territory of the western and southern states.

On the western side, Shahrukhiya was protected by steep banks of the Syrdarya. From the east and from the north-east it was fenced with deep ravines and only from the southeast an artificial defensive shaft was built. 

Broad ties with the other regions contributed to the development of trade and crafts in Shahrukhiya. The fertile lands around the city from the east provided with food and also allowed to divert plots for new residential buildings. In the early urban period of Shahrukhiya there were:
- especially fortified zone (citadel), with the place of the ruler and his entourage stay;
- quarters for townspeople’ residence with separate trade and artisan zones, where the founders, potters, bricks and other artisans lived and worked.

Later, Shahrukhiya enters the possession of the prosperous state of Chach, located on the territory of the present Tashkent region, and reached its peak in the pre-Arab period in the 7th - beginning of the 8th centuries. Chronicles call the Chach region as the "land of a thousand cities", which were devastated and burned during the Arab conquest. Chach under the name of Shash-tepa after a long and stubborn resistance became part of the Arab Caliphate. Restoration of the cities, villages and irrigation systems has begun. The city of Shakhrukhiya, at that time, is mentioned by the eastern authors as Banakat. In the 9th-10th centuries this city was a commercial and cultural center, in which caravan routes of merchants from India and Zhetysu (or Semirechye, literally "seven waters"), Khorasan and Baghdad crossed. The "prosperous city" is the usual epithet of Banakat in the mouths of eastern geographers. But the belligerent spirit of the townspeople is captured in the reports of the sources, that the city is deprived of fortress walls by the Samanid rulers "in view of the rebelliousness and freedom of the inhabitants".

In the 11th-12th centuries, Banakat becomes the center of one major family ruling dynasty of the Kara-Khanids. And it is here, not in the Shash’s capital Binket (present Tashkent) coins were minted at the end of the 12th century. And as, scientists suggest, Banakat had more importance during this period than Binket. Then Shash had been conquered by Khorezm-shah Muhammad, who feared that the fortress walls of the capital Binket can not withstand the onslaught of the Naimans. So he ordered its residents to leave the city and move to more fortified cities, including Banakat in 1209 -1210’s. And when the struggle between Muhammad and the Tatar-Mongols broke out, in 1219 Genghis Khan have sent a special squad against Banakat down the Syrdarya from Otrar (or Utrar). The siege of the city on the ferry lasted for several days. Defenders of the city fought bravely and courageously, but the forces were not equal. After a brutal assault, Banakat was taken and turned into ruins.

And, only at the end of the 14th century the chroniclers of Temur's epoch report that during one of the eastern campaigns, after crossing the deep and stormy Syrdarya, he estimated the strategic position of the pre-Mongol city ruins at the Banakat crossing. The great commander paid special attention at the strengthening of the north-eastern borders of his state. Thanks to his efforts, Tashkent became a well-fortified fortress at that time, restraining the attacks of nomadic tribes and moghulistan militias, as well as Temur and Timurids’ army stay before its marching in the steppe zones. After realizing the strategic importance of the destroyed Banakat, Temur ordered to build up a powerful fortress on the bank of the Syrdarya and named it in honor of his youngest son Shahrukh - Shahrukhiya. The era of revival and prosperity of the city began. The city is ruled by the Timurids. 

In the 70’s of the 15th century, Tashkent and Shahrukhiya caused a discord between brothers, sons of Temurid Abusaid, the deceased ruler of Mawarannahr (Transoxiana). As a result of this struggle, the territories of the cities were transferred to Yunus-khan of Moghuilistan. "Since that time (1501-1503)", Zahiruddin Babur writes, "the provinces of Tashkent and Shahrukhiya were in the power of the Chagatai khans".

In the 16th-17th centuries, Shahrukhiya was the second largest city after the capital of Tashkent proficiency. The heirs of Tashkent’s khans lived here. It was a large trade, artisan and cultural center. On literary medjlises (meetings), which were held in Shahrukhiya, poets, scientists, wits not only from Tashkent, but also other cities competed. Famous poet and philosopher Zaynaddin Vasifi, who was called from Terat for the education of princes, took active participation in them.

The end of the 17th - beginning of the 18th centuries was a difficult time in the history of the whole state. Traces of Shahrukhiya are lost in the centuries, leaving various legends and sagas about that once prosperous city.

But suddenly, at the beginning of the past century, there were a sensational reports in the press about the fact, that the Syrdarya is washing up the banks and reveals the ancient buildings. And there are chests with scrolls of old manuscripts, huge vessels-humoch and a lot of other things sails along the river. It was that, when the scientists-archeologists became interested in this ancient settlement, reconstructing the history of the ancient city in bitterness. The Archaeological Expedition of the State Museum of History of the Timurids works here a lot. And every season it brings more and more finds, expanding our knowledge of the history of this amazing city.

The ancient Kanka and Shahrukhiya settlements were included in the list of 15 sites of historical and cultural heritage located in the Tashkent region, which are being restored and will be open to visitors.

Tamara Kazachenko

В начале 16 века к власти пришли ханы из династии Шейбанидов. Завоеванный Ташкент был отдан Шейбани-ханом в управление Джанибек-султану, Шахрухия –Якубу. Затем здесь правил дядя Шейбани-хана –Суюниджинан один из могущественных ханов Ташкента.

В 16-ом-17-ом веках Шахрухия была вторым по величине после столицы городом Ташкентского владения. Здесь жили наследники ханов Ташкента. Это был крупный торговый, ремесленный и культурный центр. На литературных меджлисах, проводимых в Шахрухие, состязались поэты, ученые, острословы не
только Ташкента, но и других городов. Активное участие в них принимал знаменитый поэт и философ Зайнаддин Васифи, призванный из Терата для воспитания царевичей.

Конец 17-ого –начало 18-ого веков было тяжелым временем в истории всего государства. Следы Шахрухии теряются в веках, оставив об том некогда процветающем городе различные легенды и сказания.

Но, вдруг, в начале прошлого появились сенсационные сообщения в прессе о том, что Сырдарья вымывая берега, обнажает древние строения, а по реке плывут сундуки Со свитками старинных рукописей, огромные сосуды-хумоч и еще очень многое другое. Вот тогда этим древним городищем заинтересовались ученые археологи, По крупицам воссоздавая историю древнего города.