Tashkent is the capital of, and the most cosmopolitan city in Uzbekistan.
Tashkent was settled by ancient people as an oasis on the Chirchik River, near the foothills of the West Tian Shan Mountains.
In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the town and the province were known as Chach. The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi also refers to the city as Chach. Later the town came to be known as Chachkand/Chashkand, meaning "Chach City".
In the early 8th century, the region was conquered by Muslim Arabs.
The modern Turkic name of Tashkent (City of Stone) comes from Kara-Khanid rule in the 10th century ("Tash" in Turkic languages means stone). After the 16th century, the name evolved from Chachkand/Chashkand to Tashkand.
The city was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1219 and lost much of its population as a result of the Mongols' destruction of the Khwarezmid Empire in 1220. Under the Timurid and subsequent Shaybanid dynasties the city's population and culture gradually revived as a prominent strategic center of scholarship, commerce and trade along the Silk Road.
Due to the 1966 earthquake and the Soviet redevelopment, little architectural heritage has survived of Tashkent's ancient history.