Not far from the modern Urgench there is the city Kunya Urgench (“Old Urgench”) on the territory of today’s Turkmenistan. Kunya Urgench was an important city on the Silk Road and lies near the old riverbed of the Amu Darya. In the 16th century, the river changed its course and robbed the city of its livelihood. The population had to leave Kunya Urgench and founded Noviy Urgench at the new course of the river Amu Darya in the 17th century.

Today, Urgench is a modern city with 190,000 inhabitants. For a long time, the city was relatively insignificant and only became a trading town with the connection to the Trans Caspian Railway. Industrialization began during the Soviet era.

Urgench lies on the Shavat Canal, an irrigation canal that is of immense importance for the water supply of the province of Khorezm. Water is diverted from the Amu Darya and led over a distance of 160 km through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Rice and cotton production, in particular, depends on irrigation through the canal.

Just west of the city centre, on an island in the middle of an artificial lake, the Youth Park was opened. Among other things, you can see models of the most famous sights of Uzbekistan. From Urgench there is a trolleybus line to Khiva, 35 km away.

General information:

  • Population: 190.000 (2019)
  • Elevation: 103 m

Famous personality:

In Urgench a big statue in honour of Jalal ad-Din Manguberdi was erected. He was the last Khorezmian Shah of Turkic origin and is considered a hero because of his ongoing struggle against the Mongols pushing to the west.

Air connections: Urgench has its own airport from which local connections to Tashkent and international connections to Russia are offered. There are also charter flights from Milan and Paris during the high tourist season.

Rail connections: the city has a train station with connections to the larger cities of Uzbekistan.

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