Skip to main content

Syr Darya

Syr Darya or Syrdarya (both: sēr däryä´, –där´yə), ancient Jaxartes or Yaxartes, Pers. Sihun, river, c.1,380 mi (2,220 km) long, flowing through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. One of the principal rivers of central Asia, it is formed in the Fergana Valley, E Uzbekistan, by the junction of the Naryn and Kara Darya rivers, which rise in the Tian Shan mts. It flows W through Tajikistan, then NW through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, past Kyzylorda, and into the northern basin of the Aral Sea. Its shallowness makes it unfit for navigation. Its waters are used for irrigating the important cotton-growing areas along its course and for hydroelectric power, but the river has become seriously polluted. The Syr Darya forms the northern and eastern limits of the Kyzyl Kum desert. It is paralleled in its lower course by the Trans-Caspian RR. Alexander the Great in his conquest of Persia reached the river c.329 BC and may have founded the chief city on its course—Khudjand—on the site of an older city.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Syr Darya." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 20 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Syr Darya." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (February 20, 2019).

"Syr Darya." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.