Nowadays Karshi is known for one of the biggest natural gas fields in Central Asia – Shurtan. However, the city itself has historical value, since its age is 2700 years and it has seen many great conquerors. The name of the city comes from Mongolian language; it’s translated as “palace”. There was a settlement in 7th century BC.
Karshi was an important city for many conquerors, because it located on the path of the Great Silk Road that went from Central Asia to India and Afghanistan. Alexander the Great tried conquer the city in 9th century BC and was amazed by resistance citizens of Karshi showed. Till the rule of Tamerlan the city was named Nahshab, but in 1364 it was renamed in Karshi. Tamerlan buil a strengthened palace in Karshi. This fortified palace protected many citizens during invasions of the Shaybanids.
Since 14th century Karshi experienced rapid growth under the rule of the Shaybanids, it became the second most important city of Bukhara Khanate. At that time Karshi city had many caravanserais, madrassahs, gardens, and a prison. In 1873, Karshi became dependant on the Russian Empire and since the no major historic events has taken place in the city. Although, Karshi isn’t the most fascinating tourist destination of Uzbekistan, there’re some very interesting places.
There’s a bazaar that preserved that ancient feel and a square with some pieces of medieval architecture. There’s Madrassah Odina - the only female educational institution in that area. There’re also mosques like Kok-Gumbez, Magzon, and Kilichboi, whose age is more than 300 years old. There’s also an ancient irrigation system called sardoba. Sardoba is comprised of large reservoirs laid-open with burnt bricks in a shape of a dome. They were meant to act as reservoirs for water.
Today Karshi city is the center of Kashkadarya region with population of 300 000 people. It has experienced second wave of development recently; many modern buildings were constructed. The full tourist potential of Karshi city hasn’t been met yet, unfortunately.