In northern part of Nuratau Mountains, there is one of the most important fortress cities of the Great Silk Road. In southern part of Golodnaya steppe Jizzakh appeared in 5th century. The name of the city comes from Sogdian language; it’s translated as “small fort” or it results from combination of words “jiz”-heat and “zah”- humidity.
The second version of the name is likely to derive from climate of Jizzakh; in the summer it’s hot and humid, in winter it’s warm. Back then, Jizzakh used to link Fergana Valley and Samarkand. This trade route was important, because traders transferred ustrushan jade, which was very popular in the West. Sogdians were concerned with controlling this valued trade point, they turned little settlement into a real fortress.
Jizzakh was among the liveliest cities of the Great Silk Road in Uzbekistan together with Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. Moreover, Jizzakh served as a connecting point between Samarkand and the Fergana Valley. There was a widely-known trade bazaar, where caravans would sell clothing, silk, fabrics, jewelry, and famous jade. It’s located in a very picturesque area. Jizzakh oblast is unique in its mixture of different landscapes.
Favorable climate, Sanzar river, and a pool of iron initiated appearance of many ancient settlements near Jizzakh. Any traveler can visit those ruins till this day. Some of the better preserved fortresses is Muka fortress. In 1866, the town was taken under control of the Russian Empire. As often it happened, the Russians divided the city into the Old Town and the Russian Town.
Today very little is left in the city from its rich history, Jizzakh looks like one of many towns the Russians built while joining Central Asian countries in the Russian Empire. The town is known for masters of Uzbek cuisine and variety of dishes in tandoor: tandoor kabob, tandoor shurva, and Jizzakh samsa.