Taraz (täräzˈ) [key], formerly Zhambyl jämbĭlˈ, city (1993 est. pop. 317,000), in S Kazakhstan on the border with Kyrgyzstan, on the Taraz (Talas) River and the Turkistan-Siberia RR. Industries include food processing and the manufacture of chemicals, footwear, and leather goods. Founded in the 7th cent., it was called Taraz or Talas. In the 8th and 9th cent. it was ruled by Arabs. From the 10th to the 12th cent. it was the capital of the Karakhan state, and in 1864 it passed to Russia. It was called Aulie-Ata until 1936 and then Mirzoyan until 1938, when it was renamed for the Kazakh poet Zhambyl Zhabayev; in 1997 the original name was restored. Near Taraz are two mausoleums (11th and 12th cent.).
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