The Zeravshan is a river in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Central Asia. Its name, "spreader of gold" in Persian, refers to the presence of gold-bearing sands in the upper reaches of the river. To the ancient Greeks it was known as the Polytimetus. It was also formerly known as Sughd River. The river is 877 kilometres (545 mi) long and has a basin area of 17,700 square kilometres (6,800 sq mi).
It rises at the Zeravshan Glacier, close to where the Turkestan Range and the Zeravshan Range of the Pamir-Alay mountains meet, in Tajikistan. In its upper course, upstream from its confluence with the Fan Darya, it is also called Matcha. It flows due west for some 300 kilometres (190 mi), passing Panjakent before entering Uzbekistan at 39°32′N 67°27′E, where it turns west-to-north-west, flowing past the legendary city of Samarkand, where it feeds the Dargom Canal, which is entirely dependent on the oasis thus created, until it bends left again to the west north of Navoiy and further to the south-west, passing Bukhara before it is lost in the desert beyond the city of Qorakoʻl (Karakul), not quite reaching the Amu Darya, of which it was formerly a tributary.