Karshi is located on the western edge of Pamir-Alay mountain range in Karshi oasis, on Kashka Darya river, just a the foot of Kungurtau elevation, in east of Karshi steppe.
The Mongol khan Kebek (1318-1326), the successor of his brither Esen-Buki Khan, moved to the southern part of Mauverannahr and built himself a palace in about 16 km from town of Nakhshab downstream the Kashka Darya river. In Mongolia of that time the word ‘karshi’ meant ‘palace’. Talking about the etimology of the word “karshi” Bartold wrote that ‘it was mentioned in ‘Kutadgu bilik’, and by Makhmud Kashgariy who did not clarified whether it was used only by Eastern Turks or by Western Turks as well. Apparently the Turks borrowed the word from the indigenous population of Chinese Turkestan’.
Town of Nakhshab was renamed ‘Karshi’ in honour of this palace, and the place retained this name up to now, despite the fact that its present location does not correspond to the whereabouts of either pre-Mongol town or the 14th-century town. Native of this town was Indian-Persian scholar and writer Ziya al-Din Nakhshabi.
The real heyday came to the city during the rule of Sheibanids. It was at this period that many interesting architectural monuments were built here.
Er-Kurgan ancient settlement. The area around Karshi is dense in holy sites and is littered with archeological settlements. One of them is Er-Kurgan settlement located on the way leading from Karshi to Kasan. The excavation works, which were carried out within almost twenty years, revealed many interesting facts from days gone by. No wonder that this settlement aroused great interest of the UNESCO international scientific expedition on the Great Silk Road which took place in the late 20th century.
Kok-Gumbez Mosque, meaning ‘blue dome’, was built on the foundation of pre-Mongol construction with similar layout. Located on the same axis with Shamsiddin Kulol Mausoleum, it became the biggest cathedral Friday mosque in Karshi. Adjacent to the mosque there once were summer galleries. Of these structures there have survived only the bases of square pylons that supported arches. An inscription in Arabic on the portal testifies to the fact that the mosque was constructed by Ulugbek on behalf of his father Shakhrukh.
Odina Madrassah was the only religious educational institution for women, built in this region. It was erected on the site of khan’s palace in the 16th century. Today the building of madrassah houses a small museum.