Miyankal is the particularly fertile region situated between two branches of the Zerafshan River, the Aq-Darya (or Darya-yi Safid) and Qara-Darya (or Siyahab-i Kalan). The author of this panoramic study skims through its descriptions by ancient Greek geographers, before tackling the mention by mediaeval authors Istakhri, Ibn Hawkal, Juwayni and Muqaddasi of the cities of Ishtikhan in the eighth to tenth centuries CE, and Afarinkand (آفرینکند, in the neighbourhood of present-day village of Primkent) and Dahbid in later periods of time. He insists in particular on the transformation of Afarinkand into a wilayat of its own ― though sometimes reduced to the status of a simple tuman ― under the Shaybanids (1500-99) and the Astakhanids (1599-1754), relying in particular on the ‘Abd-Allàh-nama (or Sharaf-nama-yi shahi). In the seventeenth century, the main city centre of the district is already Dahbid. Under the Manghit Emirs of Bukhara (1754-1920), Afarinkand is a rich and densely peopled tuman of the province of Samarqand, and as such it is annexed by Russia in 1868. Archaeological excavations of the twentieth century (by G. Grigor’ev in 1936-7, in particular) have revealed the city’s significance as a regional commercial and craftsmanship centre. The last pages of the article provide a critical overview of the existing modern bibliography of geographical studies on Miyankal ― Tsarist, Soviet, and Uzbekistani.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-2.4-92