Basin area of Amu Darya – 534,739 km2
Length – 2400 km
Mouth – Aral Sea
Amu Darya is the longest river of all Central Asia. Primary sources Amu Darya are Pamir and Panj rivers. The level of water of the Amu Darya highly depends on the precipitation in the Pamirs of Tajikistan. The last 5 thousand years people of Central Asia have been building their houses and cities close to Amu Darya because it has always been the main source water in the region.
Amu Darya and the Caspian Sea
From 13th to the end of the 16th centuries Amu Darya used to flow into both Aral Sea and the Caspian Sea. Amu Darya joined the waters of the Caspian Sea through a big channel called River Uzboy. People had established prosperous villages and made fertile fields along Uzboy River towards the Caspian Sea. In the 13th century Genghis Khan destroys the important dam which was supposed to split the water of Amu Darya between two seas and most of Amu started flowing in the Uzboy River and Caspian Sea. But by the 16th century Amu changed its direction again and turned towards the Aral Sea. The Russian explorers of the 18th century have confirmed that the river did not flow to the Caspian Sea anymore.
The Russian rulers and their explorers have long time tried to find the direct routes of Amu Darya to India. They have even had projects of returning the Amu to the Caspian Sea via Uzboy River and using the Caspian Sea as starting point of the sea road to India. But none of such projects never came true.
The Amu Darya and Water Issues in Central Asia Now
Amu Darya continues giving lives to people, to the flora and fauna in most of Central Asia but this ancient, legendary river is now disappearing somewhere in the desert and steppes without reaching the Aral Sea. Happily, the glaciers of the Pamir and Tian Shan mountains keep filling it with water.