The city of Termez, near the Uzbek-Afghan border, celebrated its 2,500th anniversary in 2001. Founded on a hill over the Amu Darya River, then known as the Oxus, the city’s name means “hot place” in Greek. From the 1st to the 7th century AD, Termez was a stronghold of Buddhism, with many temples and stupas to accommodate practitioners. During the 8th century, the new faith of Islam came to the area, and the Buddhist sites were gradually abandoned or used for other purposes. Genghis Khan razed the old city in 1220 when it refused to yield to his armies, and a new city was established to the northeast. This location flourished until the early 19th century, when the Russian Empire fortified a new site along the river, making it the official border. It is this city which survives today as a strategic outpost on the Afghan frontier.
PUBLISHED: February 5, 2013