Syr Darya


Syr Darya

Infobox River
river_name = Syr Darya


caption = Map of area around the Aral Sea. Aral Sea boundaries are circa 1960. Countries at least partially in the Aral Sea watershed are in yellow.
origin = Naryn and Kara Darya rivers
mouth = Aral Sea
basin_countries = Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
length = 2,212 km
elevation =
discharge = 1180 m³/s (near mouth)http://www.ce.utexas.edu/prof/mckinney/papers/aral/CentralAsiaWater-McKinney.pdf]
watershed = 219,000 km²

Syr Darya ( _kk. Сырдария; _tg. Сирдарё; _uz. Sirdaryo; _fa. سيردريا, also transliterated "Syrdarya" or "Sirdaryo") is a river in Central Asia, sometimes known as the Jaxartes or Yaxartes from its Ancient Greek name polytonic|ὁ Ιαξάρτης. The Greek name is derived from Old Persian, Yakhsha Arta ("Great Pearly"), a reference to the color of the river's water. In medieval Islamic writings, the river is uniformly known as Sayhoun (سيحون) - after one of the four rivers of Paradise. (Amu Darya was likewise known as Jayhoun, the name of another one of the four).

The name, which comes from Persian and has long been used in the East, is a relatively recent one in western writings; prior to the early 20th century, the river was known by various versions of its ancient Greek name. It marked the northernmost limit of Alexander of Macedon's conquests. Greek historians have claimed that here in 329 BC he founded the city Alexandria Eschate (literally, "Alexandria the Furthest") as a permanent garrison. The city is now known as Khujand. In reality, he had just renamed (and possibly, expanded) the city of Cyropolis founded by king Cyrus the Great of Persia, more than two centuries earlier.

The river rises in two headstreams in the Tian Shan Mountains (ancient Mount Imeon) in Kyrgyzstan and eastern Uzbekistan -- the Naryn River and the Kara Darya River -- and flows for some 2,212 km (1,380 miles) west and north-west Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan to the remains of the Aral Sea. The Syr Darya drains an area of over 800,000 square kilometres, but no more than 200,000 square kilometres actually contribute water to the river. Its annual flow is a very modest 37 cubic kilometres (30 million acre feet) per year - half that of its sister river, the Amu Darya.

Along its course, the Syr Darya irrigates the most fertile cotton-growing region in the whole of Central Asia, together with the towns of Kokand, Khujand, Kyzylorda and Turkestan.

An extensive system of canals, many built in the 18th century by the Uzbek Khanate of Kokand, spans the regions the river flows through. Massive expansion of irrigation canals during the Soviet period, to irrigate cotton fields, caused ecological damage to the area, with the river drying up long before reaching the Aral Sea which, as a result, has shrunk to a small remnant of its former size. With millions of people now settled in these cotton areas, it is not clear how the situation can be rectified.

See also

*Amu Darya
*Mount Imeon

References

* "Great Soviet Encyclopedia"
* " [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9070767/Syr-Darya] "
* [http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jaxartes/jaxartes.html Livius.org: Jaxartes]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Syr Darya — [sir där′yä] river in central Asia, flowing from the Tian Shan Mountains into the Aral Sea: c. 1,700 mi (2,736 km) …   English World dictionary

  • Syr Darya — /sear dahr yeuh/; Russ. /sirdd du rddyah / a river in central Asia, flowing NW from the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan, through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to the Aral Sea. 1300 mi. (2100 km) long. Ancient name, Jaxartes. * * * ancient Jaxartes… …   Universalium

  • Syr Darya — Syr Dar•ya [[t]ˈsɪər ˈdɑr yə[/t]] n. geg a river in central Asia, flowing NW from the Tien Shan Mountains to the Aral Sea. 1300 mi. (2100 km) long Ancient name, Jaxartes …   From formal English to slang

  • Syr Darya — /sɪə daˈja/ (say sear dah yah) noun a river in central Asia, flowing from the Tien Shan Mountains north west through Kazakhstan to the Aral Sea. About 2093 km. Ancient name, Jaxartes …   Australian English dictionary

  • Syr Darya — /sear dahr yeuh/; Russ. /sirdd du rddyah / a river in central Asia, flowing NW from the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan, through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to the Aral Sea. 1300 mi. (2100 km) long. Ancient name, Jaxartes …   Useful english dictionary

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