It has very ancient origins, since it was founded by the Arabs in 750 as an oasis on the Circik River. For a long time it was controlled by the nomadic peoples of Turkestan, until it was occupied by the Chinese. In 1219 the city was destroyed by Genghis Khan, only to be rebuilt a few years later. In 1809 the city will be annexed to the Kokand Khanate, of which it was part until 1865, when it was annexed to the Russian Empire. In 1889 it was connected to the rest of Russia with the construction of the Trans-Caspian railway.

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