JIZZAKH REGION AND NAVOI REGION: IN THE MOUNTAINS OF UZBEKISTAN

JIZZAKH REGION

Jizzakh region is located in the central part of Uzbekistan between the Syr Darya and Zarafshan rivers. Covering an area of 20,500 square kilometers, it borders Kazakhstan to the north, Tajikistan to the south and south-east, Samarqand Region of Uzbekistan to the west, Navoi Region to the north-west, and Sirdaryo Region to the east. The population is around 910,000, with 80 percent of the people living in rural areas. The capital of the region is Jizzakh city, with about 130,000. Other major towns are Gagarin, Gallyaaral, Dustlik and Paxtakor.

Jizzakh oasis has a long history. Te first large settlements arose there in the 10th century B.C. Silk Road trade routes passed the Jizzakh region. Cotton and wheat are the main crops, and extensive irrigation is used. Natural resources include lead, zinc, iron, and limestone. Uzbekistan and China are working together to jointly establish a Special Economic Zone in the region.

Arnasay and Zaamin national parks are found Jizzakh region.. In the Bakhmal and Gallyaaral districts you can see amazing underground tracks, called “Temir Darvoza”. The Kyzylkum desert occupied southeastern edge of the region. Aydarkul lake appears like a mirage in the desert and attracts flocks of pink flamingos. There are ruins of castles and fortresses in the area of modern Jizzakh. These include Zaamin-Tepe (10th century), Teshik- Tepe (12th century). Among the Islamic historical sites are Malik Ajdar, Novkat Ota, Said Ibn Wakkas and Sayfin Ota.

Nuratau state natural reserve is located in the central part of the Nuratau ridge, in the Jizzakh region. It is home to ancient petroglyphs, Lake Fazilman and interesting tmountain villages: of Ashraf, Hayat, Uhum and Sentyabsay. Hanbandi dam dates to the 10th-11th centuries. Severtsev is home to a sheep nursery.

Western Tien Shan

Western Tien-Shan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in. 2016. According to UNESCO: “The transnational property is located in the Tien-Shan mountain system, one of the largest mountain ranges in the world. Western Tien-Shan ranges in altitude from 700 to 4,503 m. It features diverse landscapes, which are home to exceptionally rich biodiversity. It is of global importance as a centre of origin for a number of cultivated fruit crops and is home to a great diversity of forest types and unique plant community associations. [Source: UNESCO, World Heritage Site, 2016]

Zailiy Alatau is an impressive mountain range which defines part of the border between southeast Kazakhstan and northeast Kyrgyzstan and stretches towards Uzbekistan. A spur of the Tien Shan, it boasts many 4,000 meter-high peaks that are snow-capped year round, glaciers, wild rivers and refreshing pine forest. Mountains from this range form a backdrop for Almaty and provide high altitude pastures for shepherds and herders. There are numerous hiking routes.

The central part of the Zailiy Alatau is the home of Talgar peak (4979 meters), the highest point of the Talgar plexus of mountains. One peculiarity of the Talgar and Issyk rivers is they are shallow but are so fast-flowing and turbulent they grind away surrounding rocks and wash away huge boulders.

Zaamin National Park

Zaamin National Park and Zaamin Reserve (150 kilometers east of Samarkand, 55 kilometers from the city of Jizzakh) are located on on the northern slope of the Pamir-Alai’s Turkestan range. Established in 1926, it is one of the oldest protected areas of Uzbekistan and is know for its unique mountain juniper ecosystems. The national park and reserve cover 315 square kilometers. The elevation varies between 1000 meters to 4030 meters (Shaucartau peak). The most common plant species are juniper, mountain ash, ash, maple, honeysuckle, dog rose, barberry, hogweed, Hypericum, Eremurus, ziziphora, oregano, acantholimon, onions and cereals. Animals found in the park and reserve include Central Asian goat, wild boar, tolai hare, Turkestan lynx, snow leopard, Himalayan brown bear (white-clawed bear), wolf, fox, porcupine, badger, stone marten, ermine, weasel and many rodents. There are about 150 species of birds: grey partridge, lammergeier, Golden eagle, black vulture, Griffon vulture, wood pigeon, white-winged woodpecker, oriole, black crow, magpie, titmouse, red-fronted serin, white-winged grosbeak and rare scops owl, the grey owl, eagle owl, hobby, Eurasian sparrowhawk, black stork, eagle owl, purple thrush and saker falcon. Fish in local rivers inhabits only the marinkas (snowtrout).

In addition to the nature protection zone in the Zaamin National Park there is a recreational area where you can engage in hiking, mountaineering, skiing and other activities. There are dozens of boarding houses, sanatoriums, rest homes and children’s camps. You can admire a beautiful waterfall, a walnut tree, which is 700 years old, a 1000-year-old spruce tree, drink water from a spring source and ride horses.

The Zaamin Mountains were nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The territory consists of two sites: “Zaamin State Reserve and Zaamin National Park, located in the northern slope of Turkistan mountain range and bordering upon each other. Zaamin State Reserve organized in 1960, located in Zaamin and Bakhmal regions on the area of 26840 hectares. Zaamin National Park organized in 1978, located in Zaamin region on the area of 24110 hectares. The reserve provides the preservation in the absolute inviolability condition of all natural properties and complexes, which located on its territory. The park was created aimed at preservation, rebuilding and recreational investigation of unique mountain-pines ecosystems. There are two marked zones in the park - recreation and buffer. The mountain-pines ecosystems, which stay 1760-3500 meters. above sea level, are under the protection. More than 700 form of plants resented in the flora from them forest forming-zarafshan, hemi globe-shaped and Turkistan pines. Pine forests of represent area are the largest massifs in the region. There are many rare forms of animals (14) and plants (18), inscribed into the Red Book of the Republic of Uzbekistan. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“The territory represents the most kept and dense pine forests in the region. The territory is under protection of various degrees since 1913 that has allowed preserving the unique natural communities. Both of properties protect ecosystems from the ground zone of mountains up to water-separate crest of the Turkistan ridge that provides integrity of natural conditions in all high-altitude zones. Pine forests, widely represented in Central Asia, nowhere have presented with such large integral massifs, as in the given territory.”

Dams of Jizzakh region

Khanbandi in the Zarafshan river basin was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Eight channels with 680 dams were built at the 10th—13th centuries in Samarkand area and only four dams of such scale preserved. The dam of Khanbandi was built at Oslan in Pasttaga gorge. Upper length is 57.75 meters., lower is 24.35 meters., altitude is 15.25 meters. It constructed from cut granite slabs based on water—resistant solution. 9 cone—shaped holes which made in different altitudes were regulating the water flow. The basis of the dam is 4 times thicker than the top. The length of the created reservoir is 1.5 kilometers., the width is 52 meters. near the dam and 200 meters. near the gorge. [Source: Ministry of Cultural Affairs - Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan]

Abdulkhan Bandi Dam was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: According to the data of historian Khafizi, the dam of Abdulkhan bandi was built by Akhmadali Nayman atalik, constitutionally to the order of Abdulakhan, the ruler of Bukhara. Remains of dam were fixed first in 1913 last century. Remains of dam researched in 1957 and 1962. The dam of Abdulkhan bandi located in Biglarsay that flowed down from the south mountainside of the Nurata range. It assembled from worked out of flagstone on the water-resistance mortar. The dam is the whole complex of hydro engineering installation, where included the dam, floodgate on the beams, ground gallery with vertical mine and catastrophic spillway. The first sizes of dam: at the bottom - 73 meters, top - 85 meters, foundation width - 15,3 meters, on top - 4,6 meters, height - 15 meters. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“Forcing edge of the dam almost vertical, the eastern part is in series. In the body of the dam established arched tunnel and two-tiered floodgate. First tier, presented itself as the horizontal through hole, closed lancet arch at the height of 1 meters, higher than base, the length is 19 meters, the width is 50-60cm, and height is 1 meters. It was linked with located in the center of the dam of vertical shaft with 14 meters depth and 2 meters diameter. Second tier situated in 1 meters higher than previous and presented itself as a narrow and deep hole, with width of 50 centimeters, height of 12,5 also is linked with shaft. There are mortises for the installation of wooden beams in the middle of the hole, destined for the regulation of the water flow. On the right hand of the dam is established catastrophic spillway with 1 meters width and depth except of the two-tier floodgate.

“The dam of Abdullahan bandi is an outstanding sample of hydro engineering installation, illustrated the important stage of engineering thoughts in the human history. The monument has preserved until our days in abovementioned sizes. There were repaired the restoration works on the monument. The conservation did not affect the monument, and it has been protected only after construction of the new dam. The dam of Abdullahan bandi is one of the main sources of hydro engineering history in Central Asia, which existed in the Middle Age epoch. “

Gissar Mountains

The Gissar (Hissar) features layers of rock from Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleogene and Neogene ages (199 to 1. 8 million years ago). Southwestern Spurs of the Gissar Range were nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The territory consists of two sites: Gissar state reserve (founded in 1983, 80986 hectares) and Kitob State reserve (founded in 1979, 3938 hectares) located in the western end of Gissar mountain ridge. These reserves provide preservation of all the natural sites and complexes in this territory in absolute inviolability. Gissar Mountains is the unique territorial natural complex, which represents all the variety of ecosystems of western extremity of the Pamir-Alay mountain range. All the distinctive and rare representatives of flora and fauna of this region were preserved here. Geological outcroppings are unique for Eurasia and international stratigraphic standard as well. Combination of the guarded nature and objects of cultural heritage is unique. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

Two unique objects represent cultural heritage. In the northern part of Gissar reserve on the slope of Khazret Sultan Mount located Muslim pilgrimage site for Saint Khodji Daud (Khazret Sultan). In the southern part of reserve located world-known cave of Tamerlane - natural cavern cavity of corridor-grotto type with the length of 860 meters. It has the largest subterranean lake in Uzbekistan. The cave was settled in the Stone Age and Greco-Bactrian period (4th-3rd centuries B.C.).

“Territory includes the zone of middle mountains and highlands until water-separate ridges, which provides long-term preservation of ecosystems of these zones, plant and animal communities. The territory provides full set of conditions for constant dwelling of rare kinds of animals.

Hissar and Kitab State Geological Reserves

In the south of Samarkand in the spurs of the Pamir-Alai mountain system there are two protected areas: Kitab geological reserve and Hissar reserve. Kitab reserve is designed to protect the monuments of geological history covering a period of 300-400 million years of the Earth. The reserves are located in the spurs of the Zeravshan range. About 700 species of fossil organisms were found in geological sections of the reserve. In addition to the monuments of geological history, the reserve is known for its diverse flora and fauna. Here the most part of mountain, including endemic, flora and fauna of Central Asia is concentrated.

Mountain ecosystems and juniper complexes of the Hissar range are protected in the Hissar reserve. The area of the reserve covers 80986 hectares. Reserve is rich with unique natural objects. In the southern part is one of the largest caves in Central Asia —Amir Timur cave (watch of Tamerlane). It is located at an altitude of more than 2900 meters and consists of two caves with a total length of about 800 meters. In the caves you can see high grottoes with stalactites and an underground lake, which is fed by springs. Also there are the caves is in the northern part of the reserve, among them are the biggest in Central Asia cave systems of Kirtu range. In the upper reaches of the Aksu river there is a waterfall Suut-shar.

NAVOI REGION

Navoi region, in the central part of Uzbekistan is the largest region of Uzbekistan (the autonomous Karakalpakstan Republic is still larger at 160,000 square kilometers). Covering 110,800 square kilometers and named after the Uzbek poet, scientist and statesman Alisher Navoi, it is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Samarqand Region to the south, Buxoro Region and Jizzakh Region to the east, and the Karakalpakstan Republic to th west. The population is around 950,000 people, with 60 percent of them living in rural areas. The capital of region is Navoi city. Other major cities and towns are Zarafshan, Karmana, Kyzyltepa, Nurata and Uchkuduk,

The Kyzyl-Kum desert occupies a large portion of its territory. The northwestern part of the region is occupied by the Kyzylkum plateau. The Nurata mountain ranges are in the east. In the southern part of the region is watered by Zarafshan River. Mining and agriculture are the primary economic sectors. The Navoi region has significant amounts natural resources, especially natural gas, petroleum, and precious metals. The Navoi and Zarafshan mines produce some of the world's purest gold. The main agricultural products are cotton and Karakul sheep. There are chemical, metal and construction materials industries. In 2008, Uzbekistan first free industrial economic zone (FEZ) was created in Navoi.

Navoi is the youngest region of Uzbekistan, but it also has a rich and ancient history. Prehistoric sites have been excavated in the Sarmyshsay gorge,which is located on the southern slopes of the Karatau mountain range, 30–40 kilometers northeast of Navoi City Flint quarries, mines, old settlements, burial mounds, crypts and petroglyphs dating to Iron Age, Bronze Age and Stone Age have been found here. Some of the medieval settlements, including the 11th century caravanserai Rabat Malik, were part of the Silk Road trade routes.

Mir-Said Bahrom mausoleum, Rabat Malik caravanserai, Sarmishsay gorge, Sardoba Malik, Chashma memorial complex, and the Alexander the Great fortress are the main attractions of the region. Chashma religious complex is located in the city of Nurata. It includes Juma mosque, Nur-Ota Mazar (cemetery) and a healing spring and well. Nurata district occupies the southeastern part of Navoi region. The city is located on the northern slope of the Nurata Mountains. Earlier there were caravan routes connecting the Zarafshan valley with Samarkand and Bukhara.

Swinging Stones of Sangijuman (in Sangijuman village) are large boulders with unusual shapes. Some of the, have big holes in them. What is interesting about them is that even though they weigh many tons even a child can move them with one finger. Local people believe if a man with sick joints passes through the hole he’ll forget about his pain soon. Many people some to Sangijuman at the beginning of spring. The main reason is there is a small healing spring not far away the swinging stones that wells up from the earth in the spring and is famous of its pure, mineral-rich water.

Navoi City

Navoi (also spelled Navoiy) is the capital and largest city in Navoi Region. Located in the southern part of the region, it is home to about 125,000 people. Among the main employers are Navoi and Zarafshan Gold Mining and Metallurgical Complexes and NavoiyAzot, the largest producer of mineral fertilizers in Uzbekistan. The Navoiy Free Industrial Economic Zone (FIEZ) is located here. There is not much of interest to tourists except for maybe the Navoi Regional Museum of Local Lore

The Navoi Regional Museum of Local Lore was opened in 1997. The collection of museum consists of 2300 exhibits, and includes clothing, dishes, tools, silver jewelery and other historical artifacts testifying to the life and culture of ancient tribes and peoples who lived in the northern part of the Kyzylkum desert. In addition, the museum holds a large collection of coins minted in the countries of the East and the West in the 9th — 12th centuries. This collection indicates that residents of the Northern Kyzylkum regions had trade relations with neighboring countries.

The museum is divided into four major exhibition areas. One of the main exhibits tells the story of the creation of the area and its famous personalities. This exhibition mentions countrymen who were awarded military orders in World War II, heroes of labor, teachers and other prominent personalities of the region. In addition, cultural figures and eminent sportsmen, who glorified their land, took their place in museums. Famous writers, poets, artists who are natives of the Navoi region presented their books, collections of poems and paintings. In 2011, a major restoration was carried out in the two-story building of the local history museum. Address: Navoi, St. Nadymnamangoniy (Landmark Old Town, Grieving Mother Memorial)

Rabati Malik Caravanserai

Rabatai Malik Karavan Sarai (23 kilometers from Navoi City) is an 11th century caravanserai on the trade route to Bukhara. The portal from the once grandiose structure is called “Gateway of Bukhara”. The 18 meter entrance portal was built in the 1070s by the Karakhanid Khan Shams Al Mulk Nasr Ibn Ibrahim (ruled 1068 — 1080) in the heart of Maverannahr and connected Samarkand and Bukhara.

Up to the 13th century, the building was the Khan’s residence, leading to the inner part of the palace. Inside were living quarters, a mosque, a bathhouse, a kitchen, and stables. Not far from the main entrance was located the source of water supply — the Sardoba, which has been preserved to this day. Since the 13th century, the royal residence provided sanctuary for Silk Road travelers and merchants. Today you can see only the ruins of the caravanserai and the entrance portal. The portal of the caravanserai is lined with brick, forming a pattern of octahedrons and trefoils. The portal arch perimeter is decorated with an epigraphy belt. The Rabati Malik Caravanserai was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Rabati Malik Caravanserai is constructed according to the order of Karakhanid Shams-al-Mulk Nasr, son of Tamgachkhan Ibragim ruled in Samarkand from 1068 until 1080. Only its portal has reached until now from the old huge caravanserai on the surface of the ground. The portal of caravanserai - one of the most ancient place in the territory of the Central Asia portals - peshtak with the central lancet arch of niche in which there is a rectangular doorway. The arch is concluded in the П-shaped frame executed from the carved terracotta in the form of eight-final stars connected with each other, limited by intertwining tapes. Ring is decorated by the Arabian inscription. On overhanging walls, under the layers of repair plaster the rests of ancient ganched plasters with figure of vegetative character are traced. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“The portal, as well as all caravanserais has been laid out from adobe brick with the subsequent facing backed bricks in size of 25х25х4 centimeters on the ganched solution. Due to archeological excavations in the territory of caravanserai is partially installed the initial plan of the building. The average height of the kept walls shakes from 0,4 up to 0,7 meters. The caravanserai occupies 8277 square meters.

“Archeologists have carefully investigated the caravanserai; rests of planning structures were discovered. The II-shaped massif portal partially restored, and in the majority, completely kept volume is conserved. The caravanserai has preserved its antiquity and integrity and in such form has reached our time. The caravanserai is one of the largest constructions of similar type in the territory of Central Asia and has successive relations with old traditions of constructions. In particular, an architectural decor from the carved and coupled bricks present in the sources of building techniques on the ensemble of Sulton-Saodat in Termez city, mausoleum Samanids and Namazgoh in Bukhara. Separate analogues can be seen on the architectural monuments of Karahanids' capital in Uzgen city.

“Caravanserai Rabati Malik is distinguished with its impressive size, clear combination of constructional methods and techniques used in architecture of Central Asia of the 10th and 13th centuries. The former provided its façade, like in the case of ancient fortresses, with corrugations (flutes), while the latter - with monumental portal and flanking minarets (towers), looking like wings. Semi-fortress feature and developed layout of the Caravanserai, constructed back in the 11th century, stand out from among typical constructions, that existed along the Silk Road.”

Sardoba Ribati Malik

Sardoba (30 meters from the portal Rabati Malik) is a dome-blocked water source built in the 11th century with a caravanserai. In Farsi, “sard” means cold, “oba” means water. Indeed, even in the hot summer, the water in the building remains cold and clean. The diameter of the dome is 13 meters, the tank itself goes into the ground at 12 meters. Writers of the 16th century compared the water of Sardoba with the emerald water of the Zam Zam spring in Mecca. At the beginning of the 19th and 20th centuries, a settlement was formed near Sardoba, which existed for a short time and was known as Rabat.

The Sardona and Rabati Malik Caravanserai were nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The time of the construction of Sardoba (water reserve) is certain based on the architecturally archaeological research and dated in the 14th century. It was built as a water supply point construction on the route of the Silk Road. Besides this monument represents an integral part of Raboti Malik caravanserai. Sardoba is a traditional for such type of constructions. The cylindrical bases overlapped by the spherical dome, six meters embed into the ground. In the elevated part, there are four arch window apertures, shining an interior. Apertures are located on the sides of the world. From the northern part under the window aperture there is the door arch pass leading in the interior. An inclined corridor conducts to an aperture from the surface of the ground. The rectangular entrance portal is formed it. Internal diameter of Sardoba - 12,3 meters, the thickness of walls at the basis - 1 meters, the height of all premise - 11 meters. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“Sardoba is an outstanding sample, characteristic for the given Region, water use and interaction of the person with the environment, especially marking, that it is located on the Silk Road line and during many centuries is a source of the life of many people living in this area and trading caravans. The monument was preserved until present more than 80 percent. The top part of the fallen dome has been restored and an entrance portal with a ladder marches, leading to water. In the basis of sardoba was executed the posting of the lost parts of foundation. The safety of sardoba is provided for long years.” Other water supply constructions in Uzbekistan include the Sardoba in Kasbi in Kashkadarya Region and the Sardoba in Djizzak Region. The sardoba in Bukhara city is a part of the complex of Khalifa-Khudaydod.

Chashma Complex

Chashma religious complex (in Nurata, 75 kilometers northeast of Navoi City) includes Juma mosque, Nur-Ota Mazar (cemetery) and a healing spring and well. According to one legend, a large light-emitting meteorite fell here. At the site of its fall, a spring was formed with the water with healing properties. Hence the name of the place “Nur” — light. Another legend says the Prophet Muhammad struck the staff at the source site, and water appeared.

The shrine is one of the most visited and revered religious sites only in Uzbekistan, but all of Central Asia. The water source is located near the ruins of the fortress founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. The fortress is of great interest both to archaeologists and tourists. A rare feature of the fortress was the ancient water supply system.

The complex includes: 1) Friday Mosque Juma (Cook Gumbaz, 16th century); 2) Panjvakta Old Mosque- Chilust (9th century); 3) A bathhouse (20th century) built by Bukhara masters on the site of an older place; 4) Mazar, a cemetery where, according to Narshahi, followers of the Prophet Mohammed, who saw him personally, were buried here; and 5) Local History Museum.

The water source is available year round has the same temperature of +19.5 degrees Celsius. The composition of the water contains many beneficial trace elements. In the clear water of the source you can see a large number of fish. Fishing is prohibited. Near the source is a six-meter well called “Besh Punj” (palm). Its walls are lined with stones. The name of the well comes from its shape. The bottom of the well is a kind of palm imprint. It is said that the prophet himself touched this place.,

Mausoleum of Mir Said Bakhrom

The Mausoleum of Mir Said Bakhrom (near the center of the city of Karmana, three kilometers north of Navoi city) is one of the earliest surviving burial structures of Maverannahr. Very little is known about the life of Mir Said Bakhrom. Among the people, Mir Said Bakhrom enjoyed deserved respect and influence thanks to his knowledge, wit and ability to work miracles. The mausoleum belongs to the so-called centric mausoleums and dates from the analogs of the planning solution, as well as the stylistic features of the decor by the end of the 10th — the beginning of the 11th centuries. The complex includes a mausoleum and a small mosque. Wooden carved columns are set around the mosque along the long veranda. Around the monument is a garden, where citizens hold various festivals.

Mir-Sayid Bakhrom Mausoleum was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 nad is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Mir-Sayid Bakhrom Mausoleum represents central (with central axle system) construction. The sizes of the external walls consist of 6,06х6,1 meters in the plan. In the interior 4,47х4,4 meters. Mausoleum is laid out from backed brick. The main facade issued in the form of the portal. On an axis is located the superficial arch niche in 2,13 centimeters width with the rectangular doorway and arch window above them. From the external part, the arch frames with large inscription with significant losses. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO

“The facade flanked cut columns also is designed by the II-shaped frame in the form of the repeating geometrical figure with verge "plait". The dome is based upon on the octahedron in the interior. The interior of the mausoleum in an original form has been entirely decorated by the groove on the ganch. The original gravestone deserves special attention in the mausoleum, which originally has been made by wood, and in the consequence, large plates from the black stone covered it.

Mir-Sayid Bakhrom Mausoleum in its architectural, constructive, volumetric-spatial form is one of the most interesting monuments of architecture that reflects one of the parts of the development of architecture of Central Asia in general and memorial constructions in particular. Insignificant preservation works were carried out in the monument. Until now, it was almost entirely preserved. Once built ayvan was not preserved. The rests of marble bases of columns are preserved. Mir-Sayid Bakhrom Mausoleum has features similar to the mausoleum of Samanids in Bukhara, Arab-Ata in Samarkand region and mausoleum of Oq Ostona Bobo in Surkhandarya region and deserves its including to the number of outstanding monuments of the world architecture. Although small in size, in the mausoleum” is very old (end of the 10th century). New ideas of architectural construction and designing of such kind constructions developed, which subsequently determined further direction of architecture as applied in mausoleums of Central Asia.

Sarmishsay Petroglyphs

Sarmishsay Petroglyphs (50 kilometers northeast of Navoi city) is the largest area of rock art in Uzbekistan, with most of the images dating to between 3000 and 900 B.C. It embraces well-studied sites, such as Uchkuduk, Kokpatas and Korakot. Sarmishsay is a gorge. Currently, in the gorge itself and its surroundings, more than 10,000 drawings rendered on the surface of the rocks have been found. The drawings are covered with black or brown patina. The theme of petroglyphs is diverse. Today there are at least 35 thematic images and plots. The images include carved figures of people, their tools and household products, geometric compositions and hunting scenes.

Along with this, the theme of the fauna is often found — these are various animals, some of which have long disappeared. Here you can see images of a mountain goat, argali, bison, primitive bull, wild horse, camel, kulan, deer, boar, saiga, and gazelle. Of the predators in the pictures are present — a lion, a wolf, a leopard, a jackal, a fox, a leopard and a cheetah. An interesting example is the image of bulls-rounds made in a bio-triangular style typical of the Upper Paleolithic culture. In the Neolithic era, the Kyzylkum desert was greener and had more vegetation than today. The petroglyphs mya have played a role in the unification of the tribes in the area.

All rock paintings are carved or carved with stone or metal tools. The most ancient drawings are carved in ornamental-openwork, contour or mixed style. In addition to the drawings among the rocks Sarmyshsaya there are also various inscriptions in Arabic. The petroglyphs have been studied by M. Khuzhanazarova, a Senior Researcher of the Institute of Archeology of Samarkand.

Sarmishsay Petroglyphs was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The territory of "Sarmishsay" is one of the largest and most investigated monuments of rock arts in Uzbekistan. Now, about 4000 separate images are registered here, many of which are collected in the composition and scenes. The majority of the petroglyphs can be denoted to Bronze Age (3000-900 years B.C.). Nevertheless, also among them there are motives dated eneolith (4000-3000 B.C.), neolith (6000-4000 B.C.) and even late mesolite (15000-6000 B.C.), and significant amount of Sako-Scythian period (9000-100 B.C.) and Middle Ages (400-1500 B.C.). [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“Sarmishsay is the largest and important object of the rock painting in Uzbekistan; it stays in the same level with tracts of Tamgaly (Kazakhstan) and Saymali Tash (Kyrgyzstan) in Central Asia region. About 650 species of plants can be identified in the region, 27 from which are precinctive species. Typical representatives of deserts and low mountains present the fauna. There are also the species that inscribed in the Red Book of the Republic of Uzbekistan, such as Central Asian cobra, black vulture, Severtsev sheep. For the protection of this territory are organized the measurements of the formation of natural park of the regional level with 5000 hectares. “

Qosim Sheikh

Qosim Sheikh (40 kilometers north of Navoi) embraces a mausoleum complex and is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The complex consists of three different time's courtyards. Dahma (mausoleum) stays in front of the building of ziyorathona (pilgrim room) type of a mosque-namazgoh place, with three dome buildings and three-dome gallery on the facade. In 80th years of the 16th century from the rear to the west of ziyorathona according to the order Abdullakhan II have attached monumental khonaqo, one of outstanding products of the architecture of Central Asia. There are two more courtyards to the south and west of the khonaqo. The western courtyard is similar to the ancient “khazira”, with the mosque-ayvan. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“The southern courtyard closes the area between all previous structures beside khudjras and fencing. The general sizes of a complex 92х87 meters. The most valuable in the complex is khonaqo of Qosim-sheikh. Its composition as a whole is central. The center of the square building occupies cruciform hall, overlapped by the double dome on the extraordinary high drum. The middle of facades is cut by deep portal niches. The southern portal is marked out as main by the raised size. Designs of overlapping khonaqo are unique: four crossed arches and eight-thyroid pendentives form 12-faced basis of the double dome between them.

The architectural complex is preserved in primeval condition. Restoration works regarding engineering strengthening are realized out on the complex, the dome is partly reveted, the lost parts of the bricklaying of walls are restored, realized out improving works. The monument is located on the route of the Silk Road, in the territory of the medieval Karmana (Berkuttepa). In the territory of Uzbekistan similar complexes were preserved in Bukhara Region (Bohoutdin Nakshbandiy, Chor-Bakr), in Samarkand Region (Khodja Akhror Vali) in Khiva (Pahlavan Makhmud). The history of their construction is followed also in the south of Uzbekistan in the ensemble of Sulton-Saodat in Termez, which is dated in the 12th century

Architectural complex of Kasim Sheikh with regard to its value represents a universal significance and is the evidence of historical events, connected to the peace-making activity of well-known religious figure and preacher Kasim Sheikh, who made an impact on the political life of Maverannakh in the 16th century. In terms of architectural composition the complex completely reflects original and unique architectural ideas and methods applied in construction of khanqahs - hospices, located along active caravan and trade routes. In the 16th century the complex, in terms of planning, develops this kind of constructions, ideas, which were established (developed) back in the 11th century, parallel to the development of Sufism in Islam.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Uzbekistan Tourism website (National Uzbekistan Tourist Information Center, uzbekistan.travel/en), Uzbekistan government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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