Jaxartes (Syrdar'ya)


Jaxartes: Greek name of a large river in Central Asia now known as Syrdar'ya.

The Jaxartes between Samarkand and Tashkent

The Syrdar'ya is formed west of the Pamir Mountains, in the Fergana valley, by the junction of the rivers Karadar'ya and Naryn, and flows through modern Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to Lake Aral, in which it empties itself after having covered a distance of over 2200 km. Although one of the largest rivers of Central Asia, it is rather shallow and therefore unfit for ships. Still, its waters can be used for irrigation.

The Jaxartes separated Sogdia (roughly modern Uzbekistan), the northernmost satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire from the Central Asian steppes, which were occupied by the Sacae. Several fortifications were situated on its banks, including Cyropolis (founded by Cyrus the Great) and Alexandria EschatĂȘ (founded by Alexander the Great and probably identical to modern Khodzent).

In the summer of 329, the Jaxartes was the site of one of Alexander's most brilliant battles.

This page was created in 2006; last modified on 13 August 2020.