SILK ROADS SITES IN UZBEKISTAN
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The Silk Roads are routes of integration, exchange and dialogue between East and West that have contributed greatly to the common prosperity of humankind for almost 2 millennia. The whole of the route is more than the sum of its constituent parts. Flourishing in particular between the 2nd century B.C. and end of the 16th century A.D., this network of routes, started initially from Chang'an (present-day Xi'an) and ultimately stretching from East Asia to the Mediterranean in the west, and down into the Indian subcontinent, facilitated and generated a two-way intercontinental trade in a dazzling array of trading goods. Of these, Chinese silk was among the most valuable, but it included materials such as precious metals and stones, ceramics, perfumes, ornamental woods, and spices in return for cotton and wool textiles, glass, wine, amber, carpets and the celebrated horses. This trade connected various civilizations, persisted over centuries and was sustained by a system of caravanserais, commercial settlements, trade cities and forts along its entire length of more than 10,000 kilometers, which makes it arguably the longest cultural route in the history of humanity. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“ But much more than trading goods was transported over the network of Silk Roads. Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Nestorian, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeanism spread over the Silk Roads, Scientific and technological developments were also diffused by these routes, for example from China, paper, printing, gunpowder, cast iron, the crossbow, the magnetic compass, and porcelain, whilst engineering developments (particularly bridge building), the cultivation and working of cotton, tapestry weaving, calendrial sciences, vine cultivation, as well as certain glazing and metal working techniques spread from Central Asia, Middle East, Mediterranean and the west. There was also a substantial two-way exchange of medical knowledge and medicines, as well as of what are now seen as universal fruit and other food crops. As such, the Silk Roads generated outstanding manifestations of global significance in the realms of economy, society, culture and the environment.
The types of monuments, sites and cultural landscapes found along the Silk Roads can be categorized under: 1) Infrastructure (facilitating trade and transportation): including caravanserais and inns; military posts, garrison stations and fortifications; bridges; irrigation systems; natural and cultural landmarks; 2) Production (of trading goods): sites that reflect mining, metal working, manufacturing and handicrafts, and other industrial and production sites.; and 3) Outcomes (such as cities, art, knowledge as a result of contact and exchange): sites include trade cities, urban centres and settlements; religious, spiritual and ceremonial sites (including shrines, caves, tombs, sites of pilgrimage); and places of associations with political events, transfer of ideas, language, music, dance, poetry.
The property includes outstanding examples of types of heritage under these categories. Attributes include: 1) Topographical and natural features; 2) Urban patterns and architectural designs; 3) Socio-economic development; 4) Political events; 5) Religious and spiritual values; 6) Achievements in science and technology; 7) Achievements in the arts (sculpture, painting, carving, etc.)
Criteria: 1) Silk Roads property is an outstanding example of the trade and dissemination of cultural traditions over long-distances. 2) The Silk Roads property contains an outstanding example of urban, architectural and technological ensembles that was necessary to sustain this trade and exchange over almost two millennia. 3) The Silk Roads property bears an exceptional testimony to human interactions with the environment. 4) The Silk Roads property is directly and tangibly associated with historic and living traditions, beliefs and value systems.
Name of property; State, Province or Region, Area (ha) Geographic (lat/long) or UTM Coordinates of approximate centre point
1) Ancient Termez
Old Termez (five kilometers northwest from Termez) is located on the right branch of Amu Darya River. Part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010 and nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site by itself in 2008, Termez includes Qoratepa, Fayaztepa, Zurmala Mortar, Qirq-Qiz, Khakim at-Termeziy, Sultan-Saodat, Kokildor Khonaqo, Djarqurgan Minaret and Kampirtepa. The heart of Old Termez covers an of 500 hectares and consists of four parts: 1) a citadel - Kala, 2 and 3) two shakhristans (city) settlements; and 4) rabad - the suburb, divided by the fortifications. Location: Surkhandarya Region, Termez District, 500 hectares, Coordinates: 67º11'34" N, 37º15'52"E
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Capacity of the cultural layers from 2 till 19 meters on the citadel. It has arisen in 4th - 3rd centuries B.C. The city settlement is formed by the fortress, probably known as Demetriya in 3rd - 2nd centuries B.C. In Kushan period, the large administrative and ideological center of the Northern Bactria was the city of Tarmit with the several Buddhist monasteries - Fayaztepa and Qoratepa. Special blossoming has reached at the 9th - 10th centuries - beginning of 13th century, being the largest trade center-craft of the Northern Toharistan. Mongols destroyed the city in 1220. Partially grows roots in the 16th - 17th centuries. Archeological excavations discovered Buddhist monasteries, palace of Termez shahs, mosque, buildings of metalworker and potters, walls, economic-inhabited complexes. Necropolis Sultan-Saodat, Kokildor Khonaqo, complex of Qirq-Qiz, the mausoleum Al-Khakim at-Termeziy, Zurmal Mortar, Djarqurgan Minaret, Oq-Ostona Bobo, Kampirtepa are located in the territory of the ancient Termez. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“Numerous monuments and their preserved remains testify that Termez is the coeval with cities of Akhemenid Iran, the Ancient Greece and Rome. The antique name of the city is Demetreya. Earlier medieval and medieval age monuments until 19th century A.D. show dynamics of the historical development of Termez during almost 3 millennia. Moreover, the most ancient monuments of Termez are in the stage of studying, and discovered parts have preserved its authenticity. Considering these circumstances, ancient Termez should be included in the unique objects of culture.
“Ancient Termez, which came down to us with its archaeological and architectural monuments, located in the area of 500 hectares, generally, meets the requirements for integrity. Each of its constituent parts preserved its initial structure of planning; its constructions preserved their initial architectural appearance. Although, the majority of ancient monuments, which are the examples of adobe architecture, are in a ruined condition, there are some documentary evidences, which could serve as a reference points in their restoration.
“Termez is a well preserved and outstanding site, surrounded by a unique landscape. For 27 centuries it played a significant role in cultural exchange, and was one of the most important strategic points on the Silk Road. The city, encompassing the territory of 500 hectares, has many monuments of tangible culture, relating to Greco-Bactrian, Kushan and Islamic civilizations. In the Central Aia the Ancient Termez was one of the centers of dissemination of the Buddhist culture and of early Islamic philosophy.
“Numerous monuments and their preserved remains testify that Termez is the coeval with cities of Akhemenid Iran, the Ancient Greece and Rome. The antique name of the city is Demetreya. ” The port customs city has been constructed by Alexander Great and has identified had contacts withe the ancient city of Alexandria Early medieval and medieval age monuments and 19th century building show dynamics of the historical development of Termez during almost three millennia. Moreover, the most ancient monuments of Termez are in the stage of studying, and discovered parts have preserved its authenticity. Considering these circumstances, ancient Termez should be included in the unique objects of culture. The site is in a ruined condition. Planning, borders and plans of independent constructions were revealed through the archaeological excavations. Found materials were deciphered and indentified. The results of the excavations certify to the authenticity of the monument and allows identifying it with the ancient city of Alexandria Oxiana. “
The Historic Center of Qoqon (Kokand) was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Qoqon - is one of the cultural centers of Ancient East. It is located in the western part of Fergana valley in the lower stream of Sokh. Historical Center of Qoqon consisting of following cultural objects: Komol-Kozi Madrasah, Dahman Shahon, Madarihon Madrasah, Norbutabiy Madrasah, Gishtlik Mosque, apartment houses. Location: Historic Center of Qoqon, Fergana Region, Coordinates: 40º35''N; 71º E
The most ancient data about Qoqon date back to the II century B.C. and belong to the Chinese traveller Chzhan Tszjan, who has characterized it as a large and developed city of the valley. Data of Qoqon presented in the works of the Arabian historians and geographers in the 10th -12th cc., al-Istakhri, Ibn Khav Qala, Al-Makdisi and in other sources. The city that described by ancient authors is still functioning in this place now. There were 52 Madrasahs, many mosques, caravanserais, bazaars, baths and other public constructions at the beginning of the last century in the city.
The most worthy attention are fine and unique by their beauty and architectural shape of buildings - a residence of governors Qoqon Khanate - Urda, Norbutabiy Madrasah, Djamiy mosque, Kamol Kozi Madrasah, Dasturkhonchi, Sohibzod Kazrat, Zingbardor and many others, have been realized talent and skill of residents of Fergana valley, which are admired all people. Qoqon has preserved its historical structure. It consists of old and new parts. ” [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
Kanka (80 kilometers in the southeast from Tashkent, in the southeastern outskirts of Eltamgali) is an ancient settlement and one of the largest city centers of Tashkent oasis. Kanka was the first capital of Chach state, small estate of Kanguy. It was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. Location: Tashkent Region, Akkurgan District, 220 hectares, Coordinates: 41º12' N; 68º59' E
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Monumental fortification walls with towers surround the huge territory of more than 160 hectares. There are three cities inside, allocated into each other, and each of them by own fortification, curtains and ditches. Inside-small town typical of antique plan, once it has affixed with other suspension bridge. In its northeast part rise the most powerful construction of the city-citadel-arch, with the height more than 40 meters with palace of governor, man-sided bastions and house temple. The total area is 220 hectares. Kanka divides into three parts - citadel, shakhristan - town territory and rabad - trade and commercial outskirt. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“Citadel is almost square-shaped at the height of 35 meters. There is a huge castle with four towers at the base of citadel. The castle has been separated from building with huge ditch. It stands on the powerful platform, the top part of which has nine lines of pahsa (adobe clay). Inside of the platform are concealed more ancient buildings. There are buildings of 6th - 7th and 11th - 12th centuries in top layer of citadel. In the centre of northern facade was placed the only entrance to citadel. Distinctive peculiarity of Kanka is that it has three Shakhristans, establishing of which reflects stages of dynamics of town development.
“Shakhristan I includes citadel (in the northwestern edge and it has correct square form of quadrangle stretched to the west from the river. The height of fortification walls from its base is 26 meters. Shakhristan I was encompassed with wide ditch (about 35 meters.). The only gate is in the center of the southern side. Evidently, there was built a tower, from where was thrown a drawbridge. The depth of the cultural layers is not the same, and in the western part, it equals to 26 meters. In the territory of Shakhristan I was found urban development of 11th - 12th centuries and ruins of town temples of VI - 7th centuries.
“Shakhristan II surrounds Shakhristan I from three sides and it has square form too, but it stretches along riverbed. Its total area equals to 45 hectares. It has very compact planning and encompassed with its own fortification wall. Separation of this territory is the result of temporary shortening of urban territory in the beginning of 7th century.
“Shakhristan III includes all these parts; its planning nears to trapezium. Total area of urban territory, surrounded by the stronghold walls, is occupied 160 hectares. It has discovered that there was a terrace and little ditch in front of stronghold walls. Southwestern and Central tracts of Shakhristan III have been planned very densely with street net and bazaar squares. Western and northeastern parts do not have any buildings. There are unique production shops and city caravanserai, which were discovered as well in this part of the settlement.
“Rabad encompasses urban territory as horseshoe from the east and southwest. It is unknown whether stronghold walls have been installed because large territory of rabad is ploughed up. City appeared in the 4th century B.C. and it was identified by the Greek sources with Antihiey Zayaksartskoy. In further centuries it was apart of Kanguy State and was known as a first capital of Chach (in Chinese sources - Yuni-Shi). The north route of the Silk Road ran through it. It was described as Kharashet in Arabian sources (etymological meaning is “the city of holly farna”), a second under the economical and cultural center of Shash in Middle Age.
“During the archeological research on the Kanka site of ancient settlement was discovered a palace of the ruler with house temple of fire in citadel. The monumental city temple was discovered in Shahristan I, direct data that is given in Chinese sources. The unique discovered here the remains of monumental lists of temple and type-bull connected with Manichean religion. The residential area, industrial workshops, big monumental caravanserai and bazaar squares were discovered in Shahristan III. ”
Shahruhiya (88 kilometers southwest of Tashkent ) is an of ancient settlement located on the right bank coast of Syr Darya river. It was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Shahruhiya (Sharkiya) “is the first large city of Tashkent oases, situated on the Silk Road through Yaksart (Syr Darya). In the oriental sources, it was famous under the name Benaket and the portion of the Silk Road direction called by its name. It consisted of citadel, two cities' territories and wide tradecraft suburb-rabad, in total area - 400 hectares. ” The monument has been partly destroyed by Syr Darya river. The other part of the city and necropolis of Uzbek elite is relatively safe. Location: 400 hectares, Coordinates: 41º14' N; 68º52' E
“Fortress walls with towers have surrounded by citadel, Shahristan and Rabad. The walls were kept better, which erected by Tamerlane, called Ancient Benaket by the name of his youngest son Shahruh in 1392. Archeological research discovered fortification constructions, handicraft workshops of potters and glass blower, bazaars areas, systems of municipal improvements of the city and remains of the front residential constructions of the Epoch of Timurids and Uzbek Khanates. The memorial complex "Shomir-kara ovlia" functioned in the northwestern part of Rabad in 16th century. The traces of the memorial mosque of Abdullakhan I were preserved here, that was built for Shah Emir Asadulla, the ishan of Shahruhiya and marble grave. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“A site of ancient settlement of Shahruhiya existed from 3rd-4th until 18th centuries A.D. Originally, it was a small city at the passage, but it became a huge city at the 10th -11th centuries. It was destroyed by Mongols, later has reconstructed by Tamerlane, and named as Shahruhiya. Since that time, it became an important economical and cultural center in the state of Timurids and Sheybanids. Here was functioned own mint. The city connected with the names of outstanding scientists, poets, penmen and artists lived here. ”
Ahsiket is an ancient settlement located on the right bank of Syr Darya river in Turakargan district of Namangan region. Covering more than 25 hectares, the city was founded in the 3rd -2nd II centuries B.C. and functioned up to 1219, when it was obliterated by the Mongols. Ahsiket 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. Location: Namangan Region, 25 hectares, Coordinates: 40º88'N; 71º 45' E
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The city structure consisted of 1) the citadel, 2) Shakhristan (the city itself) and rabad (suburb of the city). All three parts of the city were enclosed by fortification. The palace of governors and zindan (prison) were situated in the fortress. There was a city market, cathedral mosque, khouz, erected from backed brick in the Shakhristan. The handicraftsmen area was located in the rabad. Metallurgical production of Ahsiket was known far beyond Central Asia. It was the only place in Central Asia, where very high-quality steel was produced. In many places it was better known than Damascus or Damask steel. A bath constructed in the A.D. 2nd century has been discovered, [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO}
Ahsiket had a precise planned layout. It was located on the ancient caravan routes aat a junction between two ways of traveling between Sogdia (Samarkand) and Shash (Tashkent). Traveling eastward on The Silk Road one passed through Ahsiket then Andijon on the way to China. After the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, a new Ahsiket arose around five kilometers to the west of ancient one. According to historical data, Babur, the Mughal founder and grandson of Tamerlane, was governor here.
6) Ancient Pap
Pap is an ancient settlement with an adjoining urban burial ground located on the right bank of Syr Darya river. The site of ancient settlement is known scientific literature under the name Balandtepa. Local people call it Munchaktepa or Ayritom city. Pap 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. Location: Namangan Region, 9 hectares, Coordinates: 40º50'N; 71º02'E
The city of Pap or Bab referred to the medieval sources appears to have arisen on the place site of the ancient settlement Balandtepa and gradually expanding moved up to the southern part of the modern regional center. The settlement has a two thousand-year history. For several centuries it played the important role in the trade and economic relations in Fergana Valley and neighboring regions. It developed at least in part because of its favorable geographical position on the trading-caravans routes of the Silk Road. In medieval time the routes were known by the name “Ulug' yol - Great Road”. Traces of the passage include evidence of a ferry on the Syr Darya to Qoqon (Hokand) preserved near Balandtepa (ancient part of Pap). [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The city necropolis of Pap possesses an exclusive historical value: here organic remains were preserved. It is possible to consider these opened crypts as underground "museum" with unique ethnographic finds (in total more than 5000). This monument is one of few monuments where better and much preserved textile products. In the necropolis of the city of Pap textile products were fixed in 25 cases, little entirely kept silk dresses from them. There are many ornaments have found among the most numerous beads, they are about 10000. Gracefully woven baskets are found out also here (a peach, dried apricots) etc. All this allows investigating musical instruments, wooden vessels, the rests of fruit more authentically to beat and culture ancient Fergana citizens. Valuable materials have received about funeral ceremony and religious system earlier medieval population. Such monuments have been kept very seldom. The safety of the remained parts of city and necropolis are satisfactory. ”
Pap Archaeological Site
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: A site of ancient settlement Balandtepa (Bab-Pap) - ruins of ancient city, the area of more than 9 hectares, it is destroyed, especially from side of Syr Darya river and consists of two parts. Collected archeological materials chronologically covered the period from the I to 8th centuries. Ancient Pap structurally consisted of following parts: 1. A citadel - the raised and strengthened southeast part of the site of ancient settlement. 2. Internal city - more lowered part around the arc. The remains of ancient ditch were preserved between arc and internal city. 3. The suburb (rabad) was in the northern part of Balandtepa (Munchaktepa or Ayrtom city). Definition is conditional since there are materials no earlier than the 9th century in this part, and most likely, is territory of medieval city. At last, the city necropolis Munchaktepa I, II - to the west from suburb, between internal city and necropolis formed a deep ravine. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“The City necropolis - Munchaktepa adjoins to the northwest part of Balandtepa. In Munchaktepa I are opened single burials soil tombs and tamping pick. Altogether 14, 9 of them are in soil tombs and 5 - burials in tombs with tamping pick. Inventory in tamping pick burials are more various. Vessels (one or two) were put to the legs or heads, on the right or left side of buried. Spindles, rests of leather products are revealed only in female burials. Iron knifes, knifes-daggers were observed in both men and female burials.
“In Munchaktepa II were found out the unique funeral constructions in the form of the underground crypts, which have been cut down in the sand-loess adjournment. They are located by the chain on the line of the west - east in the natural oblong hill. In total, it has opened eight crypts. Underground crypts can be divided into two groups according its dimensions: small groups (the area about 5 square meters.) where have been buried from one to four persons (crypts 2, 3, 4) and big one (6 square meters. and more) where have been marked about 50 burial places (crypts 1, 5, 7, 9). In the design of the crypts is clearly visible its three-private structure: 1. A front of the entrance platform; 2. A corridor (dromos) ; 3. The funeral chamber.
“Thus, burial ground of Munchaktepa is the unique most investigated city necropolis in the earlier medieval epoch of Fergana. Importance of the burial ground consists of good safety of its materials and variety of types of burials for period V-8th centuries. All this gives the unique opportunity for studying a facilities and economy of townspeople, and restoration funeral ceremonies and customs too. ”
7) Ancient Andijon Site
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Andijon is the biggest historical and cultural centre in Central Asia. It is one of the ancient cities located in the busiest crossroad of the Silk Road. Andijon had a significant role in economic and cultural relations of Bactria, Sogdia, Shosh with China (Southern Turkestan). As the other countries of Central Asia, Andijon also consist of "Old" and "New" part of the city. Many of historical sites are located in the old part of the city. Since 30-40 years of the past millennia, these sites are researched. In particular, many materials on medieval building of the city were collected. Till the present citadel and site of ancient settlement of the city were defined and carried out archaeological research. Total area of the citadel is 9 hectares, site of ancient settlement is located in the North of the citadel and its territory is 100 hectares. In the place of the medieval citadel is located "Ark ichi" ("Inner side" of the citadel) quarter. Location: Andijon Region, 100 hectares, Coordinates: 40º45' N; 72º15'E
“According to the Chinese manuscripts more than 70 large and small cities were in Fergana Valley in the first and second centuries B.C. Location of the cities like Ershi (Mingtepa), Yuchen (outskirts of Uzgan), and later Khumin (Quva) near Andijon is acknowledged by the archaeologists. Undoubtedly, that one of the mentioned city in the Chinese chronicles is Andijon. Further medieval cultural layers were marked in Chordona, Qoshtepa, Ark ichi, Shakhriston. According to the sources, since 10th century, the city was mentioned as "Andukon" for the first time. In the first quarter of the 13th century Andijon was the capital of the Fergana. Later, according to the Bobur's written sources Ark of Andijon was considered by its size in the third position after Samarkand and Kesh. Since that period Andijon had own mint. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“Andijon has been developing for 25 centuries in one certain place. All these were proved by archeological findings. The quarter "Ark ichi" and is monuments (mosques and Ethnographic craft exhibitions) have been preserved its initial condition. 3-5 meters deep of the present densely populated of area of the old city has been revealed cultural layers. Old part of Andijon and its historical monuments remind specific museum under the open sky. More than 100 artisans work in the "Khunarmandchilik" (handicraft) centre. In this ethnographic territory more than 30 craftsmen are preserved their craft. ”
Poykent (60 kilometers southwest of Bukhara) is located on a lower stream of the Zarafshan River and was one of the largest cities of Bukhara the oasis, consisting of a citadel, two settlement areas and a rabad (suburb). In the Middle Ages Paikend had the status of an independent merchant republic, famous for its wealth and handicraft products. Before and after the arrival of the Arabs during the eighth and ninth centuries, its importance as one of the largest centers of caravan trade remained. At the beginning of the 11th century, as a result of a change in the course of the channels of the Zaravshan river, the city lost water and was abandoned. Location: Bukhara Region, 14 hectares, Coordinates: 39º30' N; 63º50' E
Poykent 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: According to archaeological research, this place was founded as a small village in the 4th century B.C. and later was transformed into fortress. At that period being as trading place, this city connected Southern countries (Bactria, India, Iran) with Northern countries (Front of Ural, Coast of Volga, Northern Caucus) and Poykent was one of the important military and trade centre of the Western borders of the Sogdia. Due to the development of the Silk Road and joining with Poykent fortress have been founded first and second sites of ancient settlement. Hence was founded the city Poykent. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
According to Chinese chronicles, this city was under the "An" (Bukhara) kingdom and was the centre of "Bi" khanate. Also was noted that in Poykent was not khokim (governor), the city was ruled by traders' council and in full sense of the word the city was the republic in the VI-7th century. The scientists of Institute of Archaeology of Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan carrying out scientific research in ruins of the city for a long times. As a result, Zoroastrian temples, palace and the mosque, built by 9th century, and remnants of tower were found in citadel. In the inner part of city were discovered defensive walls, gate, roads and remains of quarters (makhallas), while in outside of rabads the city - potter centers and caravanserais. According to the researchers, due to inaccessibility of lower flaw of Zarafshon River, the city seized existence in the middle of the 9th century.
The museum “History of the Paikend Settlement”, which traces the history of the Bukhara oasis since ancient times and the formation of Uzbek statehood, was opened in 2003. It contains of material and artifacts found in Paikend Poykent). The archaeological study of the Paikend oasis was begun in the 1920s and the site has been excavated by archaeologists from Uzbekistan, the Hermitage Museum and the Louvre. Over 10 million objects have been found here. Among those on display at the museum are weapons and ammunition of ancient Sogdian warriors, unique 5th-6th century palace and temple murals, 10th -11th century jewelry, children’s ceramic toys; pharmaceutical, 8th -10th century perfume vessels. silver coins and counterfeit coins with images of the Sassanian king Peroz, who ruled until the 7th century;. Address: Bukhara region, Karakul district, Sayat village
Varakhsha (45 kilometers northwest of Bukhara) was the residence of the rulers of Bukhara until the 13th century. The site of ancient settlement was the last station before the eight-day crossing the Kyzylkum desert on the way from Bukhara to Khorezm. Some important battles took place near the city walls. The city ultimately declined due a lack of water for it irrigation systems. The layout of the city consisted of three parts: 1) the Citadel — the palace of the rulers; 2) Shahristan — the center of the city with the houses of rich citizens; and 3) the Rabad — the craft suburb of the city. One building dated to the 11th century consist of three main halls. The walls of the halls were decorated with paintings. A museum was built in 1995. It mainly displays fragments of carved pieces from the palace of rulers. (7th-IX centuries), ceramic products, jewelry (10th and 11th centuries) Address: Bukhara, St. Mehtar Anbar, 177; Location: Bukhara Region, 5.1 hectares, Coordinates: 39º52' N; 64º03' E
Varakhsha 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: “Varakhsha is one of the biggest cities located in 45 kilometers from the West of Bukhara, in the bank of abounding in water Rometonrud an ancient stream of Zarafshon River. It was consisted of triangle shape small city- shakriston and fortress connected in the Eastern wall. Some times this city was surrounded by defense ditch filled with flowing water. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“The site is surrounded by plumb wall; height of the citadel is 20 meters and remains of shakhriston wall are 10 meters. There are defense forts along Western side of the city distances between of which 30 meter and a place of only gate, where walls of the shakhriston are connected with citadel, could be seen in the East. According to archaeological sources primarily Varakhsha was found as village in IV-III centuries B.C. As mentioned in medieval sources city was residence of the dynasty Bukhorokhudot - governors of Bukhara.
“According to Mukhammad Narshakhiy - historian of Bukhara, Varakhsha more ancient than Bukhara and mentioned Rajfandun - one of the ancient names of the city. Also he wrote that Varakhsha was stable place where lived kings and described beauty of fortress. Here every fifteen days was one-day market and at the end of year, market was lasted twenty days. According to the medieval geographical sources, Varakhsha often mentioned as one of the biggest city along Bukhara - Khorezm trade route. The reason of decay of the city was becoming lower of the water of Zarafshon River and it is fully destruction was connected to conquest of Mongols.
“The ruins of the city became a well-known all over the world. The reason was related with the archeological excavations carried out by archaeologist V. A. Shishkin in the palace of Bukhorokhudot dynasty in 1937-1939 and 1947-1954 years. In the walls of "Red hall" and "Eastern hall" were painted riders on the elephants fighting with mythic predators. Among the wall paintings of the Eastern hall, partly preserved image of sitting king on the throne is merited special attention. Remains of ganch (Uzbek-style stucco) panel in the second floor of the palace are unique as wall paintings. Plantings, human, animals and mythic animals are decorated in it. Many findings excavated here not only present artistic culture of that period but also valuable information on the history of the palace. Varakhsha and Bukhara became large economic and strategic place after the conquest of Arabs. ”
10) Vobkent Minaret
Vobkent Minaret (70 kilometers north of Bukhara) is a contemporary of the great Kalyan Minaret in Bukhara. Built between 1196 and 1198, it was part of a madrasah and mosque (that have not survived) patronized by a famous Bukharan family of theologians (Sadrs) Abd al-Aziz Sadr. The minaret was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan, was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. Location: Bukhara Region, 100 square meters, Coordinates: 40º04' N; 64º30' E
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The minaret represents columnar shaped tower. The height of the minaret from the bottom of the socle up to the top of the basic column is equal to 40. 3 meters. The height of 12-cut socle is 2,3 meters. Diameter of the basis of the trunk is 6,19 meters. Diameter of the top of a trunk (under the lantern) is 2,81 meters, diameter of the lantern 3,66 meters, diameter of the basic column is 1,05 meters. The trunk of the minaret has an entasis. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“The minaret in Vobkent is similar to the minaret of Kalyan in Bukhara and differs from it with decoration. The zones and edges are sharply dismembered. Here zones of type “maudj” are clearly readable. All of the laying like “maudj” - from pair bricks flat wise, with vertical inserts of the unique paintings. First three strips from below are divided only smooth hem from brick into the edge. Then wide foreparts alternate with narrow paths. The fourth strip contains the historical inscription from which it was established that the minaret is constructed in 593.
The name of the builder is completely specified in the bottom fillet of the inscription. It says: minaret has constructed by the son of Sadr Burhaniddin Muhammad Bukhara Sadr Burkhaniddin Abdalaziz II, son of Sadr Hasanaddin Omar, the son of the founder of Sadr dynasty. The fifth path represents the abstract stylization “under kufi”, the sixth - decorative lattice, the seventh - the prayerful formula, three followings - again lattice. Under the lantern eight-final rectangular stars with inserts from glazed brick, accented from below by the band of pattern “under kufi” are arranged. The third relief inscription from the plates with the handwriting inscription “divoni” is above it. It contains the date of the complement of construction 1198-1199. On the socle, on the parapets and above are continuous laying and groove of openwork painting. ’
11) Chashma-i Ayyub
Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum (west side of the Old Town, 500 meters west of The Ark) is in the middle of the small ancient cemetery near the Samani Mausoleum. Chashma-Ayub means Job's Well, based on a legend in which Job (Ayub) visited this place and made a well by striking the ground with his staff. The water of this well is still pure and is considered healing. The current building was constructed during the reign of Timur and features a Khwarazm-style conical dome uncommon in Bukhara. Restoration Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. Location: Bukhara Region, 400 square meters, Coordinates: 40º15' N; 64º30' E
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The preserved parts represent a combination of harmonious entrance portal and adjoining to it the rests of the fencing wall from the west. The constructive scheme of the portal is a traditional and made up in the form of two pylons, forming the niche overlapped by the semi vault. The II-shaped frame inside of which forms the obverse surface, tympanum and ktoba are concluded with an inscription above the lancet arch. From the northern part of the niche portal is limited gable wall with a doorway. From the western end face the portal is adjoined with the deep bricked wall in the extent of 5,9 meters, which the western piece has been lost. The wall has the form of the trapeze in section with big size in the basis. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“The central room is overlapped by the tent peaked dome. Except for the made proportions this monument differs well considered and perfectly executed décor, which basic part is concentrated to the portal. The most effective place in the general composition of the decor is ktoba, filled with Arabian inscription on the background of the vegetative ornament. The portal frame on the external contour is marked out by the II-shaped zone strengthened by girikh from intertwining octahedrons, made of terracotta bricks. Glazed inserts of turquoise color fill the central octahedral sockets. The tape bordered frame and ktoba. The historical value of the monument consists of the exact dating written on ktoba (1208-1209. A.D.) or 605 year by Muslim Calendar. ”
“On an example of Chashma-Ayub Mausoleum, it is possible to consider dynamics of the development of architecture of Central Asia, since an epoch of the government of Karakhanids from the end of the 11th century down to the middle 15th century A.D. Its architecture and affinity make this construction the unique by some elements with funeral mosque of the first construction's period with mausoleum of Al-Khakim at-Termiziy in Termiz and tent dome similarly with mausoleum of Khazrat-Imam in Shakhrisyabz, and mausoleum Turabek-Khanum in Kunya-Urgench.
Chor-Bakr (five kilometers west of central Bukhara) 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: “Memorial complex of Chor-Bakr has developed in the place of the prospective burial place of Abu-Bakr-Said who has died in 360 year by Muslim Calendar (970-971 A.D.) - one of the four of Abu-Bakrs (Chor-Bakr) - descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. At the tomb "sacred" appeared the necropolis of family tombs, constructed court yards enclosed with walls. Location: Bukhara Region, 17 hectares, Coordinates: 38º40' N, 63º10' E
“In 1858 Adullahan II, in gratitude for support and help at his accession, has started to build the complex of buildings (khonaqo and mosque) for Djuybarsk sheikhs near the tomb of their ancestor, connecting road of Bukhara with "Chor-Bakr". The necropolis continued to develop, and its new composite center became buildings of khonaqo and mosque, erected between them in two stages of khudjra. All constructions of the complex are erected above family burial places of Djumbarsks' sheikhs. Finally, the memorial develops at the beginning of the XX century when the small minaret is erected on the area before the basic constructions. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
“Many constructions of ensemble have richly decorated polychromatic by the tiles. In many courtyards above burial places, marble gravestones with epigraphic inscriptions and groove of the vegetative and geometrical ornament are installed. The structure of ensemble includes 25 constructions - khonaqo, mosque, ayvan with khudjras, darvazahana, minaret and 20 small objects - courtyards - burial places with the dome coverings, separately standing portals. The territory occupies both memorial and ancient cemetery equal to 3 hectares.
“Memorial complex of "Chor-Bakr" is very much valuable with its planned and the volumetric-spatial shape. The memorial was exposed to insignificant restoration works, has losses of an architectural decor, and in the separate constructions is lost domes. Improving and sparing conservational works were executed. "Chor-Bakr" as a whole has preserved on 80 % the authenticity and integrity. Complex Chor-Bakr is similar to the memorial Bahouddin Naqshbandi formed as a necropolis of the supreme estate of the clergy and governors of Bukhara. The most remarkable is its architecture and planned structure that makes it an outstanding sample of the architectural and technological ensemble, illustrating important stage of development of the human history and its spiritual culture.”
13) Bakhautdin Naqshband Mausoleum
Bakhautdin Naqshband Mausoleum (12 kilometers east of Bukhara in the village of Kasri Orifon) contains the tomb of Bakhautdin Naqshband, a 14th-century founder of an important Sufi sect in Central Asia and the unofficial “patron saint” of Bukhara. The tomb itself is an austere two-meter-high block. It is regarded as good luck to circle it three times in a counterclockwise direction. Location: Bahoutdin Complex, Bukhara Region, 25 hectares, Coordinates: 39º45' N; 64º15' E
Bakhautdin Naqshband Mausoleum is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. Within the mausoleum complex is a 16th-century domed khanaka, two old mosques and a leaning minaret. There is also a living mulberry tree, where a mullah recites poems for pilgrims, a dead mulberry tree where people make wishes, and small kitchen where wealthy pilgrims have sheep slaughtered to be given to the poor.
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Sheikh Bohoutdin was the great representative of clergy from Nakshbandiy order, was considered as the spiritual patron of Bukhara governors, and died in 1389. That is why his necropolis, which has erected subsequently at his tomb, always was and remains the most esteemed in Uzbekistan and, at present, in the other countries, which practice Islam. Ancient toponymy of this settlement is known under the name Kasri Arifon. The architectural complex consists of several nonsimultaneous constructions. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO].
“The most ancient is dahma (gravestone) of Bohoutdin Nakshaband, reveted by marble blocks and enclosed above an openwork marble lattice. The tomb of Bohoutdin is located on the top platform with the marble gravestone and stele. Small khauz (basin) settles down at the north, as reveted by the marble as well. The following site of the complex is Saho-khona, representing quadrangular pavilion of the type of rotunda. A construction of four-arch, flanked on the corners of minaret shaped turrets, which are completed by small domes.
“At the complex, there is a mosque called Khakim Kushbegi, with the flat trabeation, supported by the two columns and forming six painted plafonds. From the south to it adjoins ayvan with five columns and the same amount of painted plafonds. From the northern part is located another ayvan, also with five wooden columns, beam ceiling and vassa.
The mosque of Muzaffarkhan also a component of the complex has bricked walls. Flat beam ceiling supported by the wooden columns and ayvan on the four columns with five various painted plafonds. From the northern part of the mosque, the small minaret constructed from the backed brick with lantern from eight arches towers.
14) 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. Location: Navoi Region, 42,3 hectares, Coordinates: 40º21' N; 65º15' E
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.
15) 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. Location: Mir-Sayid Bakhrom Mausoleum, Navoi Region, Coordinates: 36º53' N; 67º15' E
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.
16) 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. Location: Navoi Region, Karmana District, 36,3 hectares, Coordinates: 40º15'N; 65º20' E
“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. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
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.
17) Complex of Sheikh Mukhtar-Vali
Sheikh Mukhtar-Vali Complex (30 kilometers east of Khiva, five kilometers southwest of the town of Yangiariq) is a mausoleum erected in the 16th century, above the grave of Sheikh Mukhtar-Vali. It was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996 and is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. Coordinates: Khorezm region Long. 60°23' East Lat. 41°16' North Location: Khorezm Region, 6 hectares, Coordinates: 39º35'N; 66º45' E
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The mausoleum was erected in the 16th century above the grave of Ostana settlement founder Sheikh-Mukhtar-Vali, who was died in 1287. The Mausoleum has longitudinal shape, one of the most ancient of such kind. The composition of this multi-cupola and multi-volumetric monument was built on the long axis from east to west. The plan of the construction has not definite geometric outline but it is complicated by annexes. In spite of this complex is perceiving as integral organism. [Source: Ministry of Cultural Affairs - Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan]
“The hall of large mosque and smaller mosque behind emphasize the long axis in a complicated asymmetric composition. The big and small halls are covered by arched sails of different shapes. The burial—vault is overlapped by dome on the shield sails. The floors of store rooms have different kinds of the arches. The façades are decorated by baked bricks. All interiors are plastered by gunch. The grave stone is made from baked bricks, with stairs at the basis. The carving of three wooden doors make them special and distinctive.”
“Legends represent the Sheikh Mukhtor-Vali as the founder of settlement Ostana, contemporary of well-known poet and wrestler Pakhlavon Makhmud in Khiva. The detailed architecturally archeological research confirm the date of the construction of the complex - the beginning of the 14th century. In the complex dissymmetric, space-planning composition of the mausoleum is marked out with the large sizes - hall of the big mosque, behind it - small mosque. The complex of the mausoleum of Sheikh Mukhtor-Vali is perceived as an entire ensemble. A variety is reached due to combination of the original arch vaulted and dome ceilings, logically developing planning configuration of the premises. The hall of the mosque predominates. The dome ceiling of the small mosque is laconic: an octahedral circle of arch pendentives, minimal by the height and angular pendentives are presented original stalactite filling. The dome completed with the octahedral light lantern.
“The Complex of Sheikh Mukhtor-Vali — constructed at the end of 13th - the beginning of 14th centuries — was one of the first monuments of the period of revival of local architecture after the Mongol invasion. Its architecture rather than being based on provincialism reflects best selection that has been created during great Khorezmshahs in the field of building techniques. Limitation constructive and architecturally shaped has found the natural, perfect construction in this monument. In the complex have found the reflection the further development of an architectural idea after the deep crisis connected with the Mongolian conquer of Region, preservation and multiplied traditions of the Khorezm School of architecture after 300-years of ruin and decline.”
Khazarasp (80 kilometers southeast of Urgench, longer from Khiva) is one of the most ancient cities of Central Asia. Many ancient authors of the Middle East — At-Tabbari (11th century), Arabian historian Al-Istakhri (10th century), Beykhaki (11th century), Djuveni (13th century) and many others — mentioned about this city. Nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, it was a contemporary of Memphis, Rome, Athens, Merv and Samarkand. Location: Khorezm Region, Khazarasp District, 25 hectares, Coordinates: 41º18'N; 61º04' E
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: Khazarasp was the main advanced post of Khorezm state on the Silk Road and the largest trade center in the past. Ruins of this ancient city amaze the looks of visitors until present. The city has been surrounded by the fortifications. Walls are strengthened by towers. At present time, only 12 towers are left. In the southeast corner rises above the citadel tower Dev-Solgan. The height of the walls of kept tops is 12 meters, and without them - 10 meters. In some places of the wall are totally destroyed. They are combined from pahsa (adobe wall) and adobe bricks. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]
Archeological research in Khazarasp confirmed; that it has arisen based on the settlement in the middle of first millennium B.C. In the beginning of the 8th century Khazarasp is known as one of the three most strengthened and large cities of Khorezm. The city arises not as spontaneously developing structure, and as the unique center, that has been being construction simultaneously, according to the common plan.
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