Amu Darya

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The Amu Darya (Persian: آمودریا, Āmūdaryā), also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers. In ancient times, the river was regarded as the boundary between Irān and Tūrān.[2]

Contents

Names

In antiquity, the river was known as Vaksu to Indo-Aryans.

In ancient Afghanistan, the river was also called Gozan, descriptions of which can be found in the book "The Kingdom of Afghanistan: a historical sketch By George Passman Tate".[3] [4]

In classical antiquity, the river was known as the Ōxus in Latin and Ὦξος Oxos in Greek — a clear derivative of Vakhsh — the name of the largest tributary of the river. In Middle Persian sources of the Sassanid period the river is known as Wehrōd[2] (lit. "good river").

The name Amu is said to have come from the medieval city of Āmul, (later, Chahar Joy/Charjunow, and now known as Türkmenabat, in modern Turkmenistan.

Medieval Arabic and Muslim sources call the river Jayhoun (جيحون) which is derived from Gihon, the biblical name for one of the four rivers of the Garden of Eden.[5][6]

Amu Darya is a river almost in reverse, for long reputed to be sourced by a powerful glacier fed stream high in the Pamir Knot at the eastern end of Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor, and ending not at the sea but spreading out into the sands of Turkmenistan's Kyzyl Kum desert, well short of its historic terminus of the inland Aral Sea.

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