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Urgench (ŏrgyĕnchˈ) [key], ancient city of central Asia, on the site of present-day Kunya-Urgench (Köhne Ürgenç), in Turkmenistan. It lies c.85 mi (140 km) NW of modern Urganch, Uzbekistan. A major trade and craft center from the 10th to 13th cent., Urgench became the capital of the khanate of Khwarazm in the 12th cent. The city was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th cent., partially rebuilt, and finally abandoned in the 16th cent. Ruins of an 11th-century minaret and mosque, mausoleums, shops, and the portal of the Caravanserai Gates (14th cent.) have been uncovered.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Central Asian History

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