The Amu Darya (in Persian آمودریا; Darya means "river" in Persian) rises in the Pamirs and flows mainly north-west through the Hindu Kush, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to join the Aral Sea in a large river delta. It forms part of the northern border of Afghanistan and is important for irrigation. It is navigable for over 1450 km (800 miles). Its total length is 2400 km (1500 miles).
Use of water from the Amu Darya for irrigation has been a major contributing factor in the shrinking of the Aral Sea since the late 1950s.
In antiquity the river was known to the Westerners as the Oxus, and historical records state that in different periods the river has flowed into the Aral Sea, the Caspian Sea or both, similar to the Jaxartes river. In the East it has mostly been called by its Persian name Amu Darya.
Last updated: 08-18-2005 18:38:58