Surkhandarya region is the southernmost region of Uzbekistan. Covering an area of 20,100 square kilometers, it borders Turkmenistan to the west, Afghanistan to the south, Tajikistan to the east and Uzbekistan’s Qashqadaryo Region to the northwest. The population is around 2 million, with 80 percent living in rural areas.

A “Friendship Bridge” with a railway and road, crossed the Amu Darya river and connects Uzbekistan with Afghanistan. This bridge was a vital communication link for the Soviets in their Afghanistan war and for the American during their invasion of Afghanistan in the early 2000s. The north of Surkhandarya region is dominated by the Hissar range. In the west are the Kugitangtau and Baysuntau rocks; in the east is Babatag ridge. The southern part is nourished by the Amu Darya.

The capital of the region is the ancient city of Termez. The city was founded in the 1st MILLENNIUM B.C. and is one of the oldest cities in the world. The name of the city comes from “Taramastha” — which means — “a place on the other side. ” The city got its modern name only in the 10th century. At the time, Termez was considered one of the main centers of Buddhism. Not far from the city, archaeologists have found the oldest chess in the world, the figures of which were made of ivory. In participation of UNESCO, the 2500 anniversary of Termez was celebrated at the international level.

The second most important city of the region is Denau, one of the main industrial centers of Uzbekistan. Despite its very young age, the city has many factories. It is in Denau that the experimental station of the Republican Institute of gardening, viticulture and winemaking named after R. R. Schroeder is located. Other major cities and towns are Sherabad, Baysun and Shurchi.

In Surkhandarya region much attention is paid to mountain and ecological tourism. A number of ancient archaeological and architectural monuments, ruins of ancient Zoroastrian, Nestorian and Buddhist fortresses and settlements, as well as monuments of Islamic architecture have been preserved in Termez and its surroundings. The architectural complex of Hakim at-Termezi, the memorial complex of Sultan Saodat, Khanaka Kyrk-Kyz, the Kara-Tepa Buddhist complex, Fayaztepa Buddhist temple, Jarkurgan minaret, Zurmala Buddhist mortar, Teshik-Tash cave (where in 1938-1939, scientists have discovered the remains of Neanderthal child), Dalverzintepe settlement are the main historical monuments of Surkhandarya region.


Termez (on the border with Afghanistan) is a quiet town with about about 140,000 people and the hottest place in Uzbekistan. The temperatures sometimes top 49 degrees C (120 degrees F) in the summer and Instead Termez, a town of 111,000, is as quiet as the sand that relentlessly blows in from the desert. . Many Tajiks live there. Among the sights there are the 2nd century B.C. Zurmula Tower, a 2nd century Buddhist monastery, the Buddha from Fayaz Tepe, and the Mausoleum of al-Hakima-Termezi (824-892, a revered Islamic philosopher. Today the mausoleum of Al Hakkim At-Termezi Hakim al-Termezi is visited by many Muslims. For a while the area was inaccessible to foreigners except those on special tours.

The Friendship Bridge in Termez (also spelled Termiz) today was used to supply the Soviets during their occupation and war in Afghanistan (1978-1989) the and the Americans during their invasion of Afghanistan in 2002. On the eve of that invasion, Richard C. Paddock wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “From the north bank of the Amu Darya river, Afghanistan lies in the distance, forbidding and unreachable. The ancient desert city of Termez, the invaders' gateway to Afghanistan for centuries, is sealed tight against the threat of Taliban attack or a flood of Afghan refugees. [Source: Richard C. Paddock, Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2001]

“The Soviet Union built what it called the Friendship Bridge across the river here in the 1980s so its tanks and troops could cross easily into Afghanistan. Now the "friendship" is long over, the bridge is closed, and well-armed Uzbek soldiers stand guard, protecting the town from the chaos to the south. This crossroads of history, once an important junction on the old Silk Road, has become little more than a dusty cul-de-sac.

“Termez is a true frontier town, for thousands of years it has been conquered, re-conquered and conquered again by famous historical figures such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Tamerlane. It was once at the heart of Buddhism in Central Asia and also one of the stops on the ancient Silk Road. Then it became a city of hundreds of Imams and scholars of Islam. ”

History of Termez

Termez has a 2,500 history. Paddock wrote in the Los Angeles Times Termez “occupies a key passage between Central Asia and Afghanistan. The terrain is less rugged here, and the river broadens and slows, becoming easier to cross. In ancient times, the town was a major intersection in the network of trade routes known collectively as the Silk Road. The first known conqueror to subjugate the area was Alexander the Great, who in 329 B.C. crossed the river, then known as the Oxus, on his way from present-day Iran to the Pamir Mountains. [Source: Richard C. Paddock, Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2001]

In ancient written sources, Termez is referred to as Tarmita. It is here — in the Surkhan Oasis — that earliest history of Uzbekistan, as an education and urban culture, took shape Based on finds from Sapalli-tepa and Jarkutan, it was established that the Termez area part of several ancient Eastern civilizations. In the Kushan era (1st century B.C. – A.D. 3 century), the total area of Tarmita reached 350 hectares and included Buddhist monasteries and stupas of Karatepa, Fayaztepa and Zurmala stupa. The city developed and engaged in local and foreign trade and became a major Buddhist cult center, and home to the famous Buddhist preachers Dharmaraksha and Dharmamitra. Termez was also one of the earliest centers of the development of Islamic culture in Central Asia. In the 9th century the great thinker Al-Hakimat Termezi — one of six recognized Hadith scholars of the Islamic world lived and worked in Termez.

Paddock wrote: “In 1228, Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes rode through Termez on their way to conquer present-day Afghanistan. In the 14th century, the ruthless Tamerlane, today an Uzbek national hero, traveled through the town on his way to conquer Afghanistan and plunder India. The Russians seized Termez in 1890 and made it a key southern outpost of the czar's empire. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, it used Termez as its staging area, and tens of thousands of troops filled the city. In 1989, when the defeated Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan, Gen. Boris V. Gromov symbolically rode the last armored personnel carrier across the Friendship Bridge and then walked the last few yards. "I did not look back," he said later.

“Today, a row of Soviet-era tanks and artillery pieces that came back with Gromov's forces line one of Termez's main streets — a reminder of what happened the last time a great power invaded Afghanistan. Uzbekistan watched nervously during the 1990s as the strength of the Taliban spread in Afghanistan. In 1997, shortly after the historic Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif fell to the Taliban, Uzbekistan closed the Friendship Bridge. About 1,000 Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban made it into Termez before the bridge closed. ”

Sights in Termez

Jarkurgan Minaret has a simple composition, is built of brick and has a corrugated shape. Next to the minaret, there once was the mosque now destroyed. Construction techniques of the minaret are characteristic of the Seljuk era (12th century). On the minaret decorations and inscriptions are preserved. Inscriptions on the ring zone occupy the upper and main part of the minaret.

Surkhan-Darya Regional Museum of Local Lore was founded in 1934 and has more than 60,000 objects, many of them on display. These exhibits tell about the history and culture of the Surkhandarya region, from ancient times to the present day and includes jewelry, chased coins from different years, objects of art, fragments of architectural monuments, clay objects, figurines, looms, household items and tools. The museum has a library with over 14,000 works in the following sections: the history of Termez scholars, the history of ancient times and the study of ancient coins, oral folk art, ethnography, folk arts and crafts, nature of the region, sports, and visual arts. The museum conducts cultural and educational work, participates in exhibitions, publishes scientific work, carries out joint activities with other scientific institutions. Address: Termez, St. Festival, 1

State Museum of History and Heritage of Termez opened in 2010 in the Khakim Termezi religious complex. The museum is dedicated to the history of the city and its citizens and consists of thre thematic halls: 1) the ancient period, 2) the early medieval period and 4) the medieval period. Interesting objects include copies of the finds of the Buddhist era: a fragment of a terracotta figurine with the image of Buddha from the A.D. 2nd-3rd century; Buddha’s hand from the A.D. 2nd-3rd century and fragments of capitals of temples. There is a copy of the gravestone of Khakim At Termezii, as well as valuable manuscripts of Islamic culture.

Afghanistan–Uzbekistan Friendship Bridge is a road and rail bridge across the river Amu Darya, connecting the town of Hairatan in the northern Balkh province of Afghanistan with Termez in Uzbekistan. The bridge was built by the Soviet Union and opened in 1982 to supply its troops in Afghanistan. The bridge is the only fixed link across the Uzbek–Afghan border, and located about 75 kilometers north of the important Afghanistan city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The nearest other bridge across the Amu Darya is some 120 kilometers (74. 5 mi) to the west. The bridge was closed in May 1997 when Taliban forces attacked the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and Uzbekistan feared a spreading of the disturbances to their own country. It reopened on December 9, 2001. Work began in January 2010 to extend the railway to Mazar-i-Sharif, which was completed in November of the same year. [Source: Wikipedia]

Bolaliktepa Archaeological Site (30 kilometers from the city of Termez) is an ancient fortress that dates to the to A.D. 5th-6th centuries received because it consists of high and low elevations. A suspension bridge led to the entrance of the brick fortress. In its original form each room had special openings for archers. Later, three more rooms for ceremonies were added. In the center of one room was a brick hearth. Here were found the remains of musical instruments, dishes made of clay and glass, chilim and other objects were found. Great attention was paid to the wall paintings found here. The painting comprised all four walls of the room and show a reception. In the foreground of the composition men and women sit in a circle in traditional clothes and ornaments. The women’s long hair is knotted and tied with white tape. Behind them, are the servants. Glue paints were used the walls covered with clay.

Termez Archaeological Museum

Termez Archaeological Museum has over 76,000 artifacts and objects, more than 5,000 of which are on display in the showrooms. Among them are 1,000 relics recognized as being of worldwide importance. Significant objects and coins of different periods include: silver Greco-Bactrian coins from the 2nd century B.C. ; silver Sassanid Ardasher’s coins from the A.D. 4th century; golden amulets and buttons from the 8th century; Turkic and Karakhanid coins from the 8th-11th centuries; silver Timurid coins from the 14th-15th centuries, silver chilims, ivory boxes, Tula brass samovars and other valuable exhibits.

The Archeology Museum of Termez opened in 2001 as part of the effort to honor the 2500th anniversary of Termez city. The museum has 10 thematic halls. Among the more than 40,000 antiquities are paintings, sculptures, numismatics (coins), photos, household items and much more. The museum has a scientific library, which contains more than 17,000 unique books, as well as handwritten and lithographic publications in Persian, Arabic and European languages.

The museum displays unique statues of stone and plaster, ceramic vessels, a stone pool, as well as a map of the area, identifying the 20 archeological sites where objects were found and information on the sites and their history. Scientific work at the museum is conducted by the following departments: 1) the Stone and Bronze Age epochs; 2) the Hellenistic and Ancient Bactrian eras; 3) the Kushan Empire of Northern Bactria; 4) the developed Middle Ages; 5) the early Middle Ages of Northern Tokharistan; 6) the Khanate era; and 7) the Numismatic Department. The museum has a laboratory-workshop for the restoration of antiquities.

The museum carries out its own research and conducts archaeological expeditions on the territory of the little-known historical sites of Surkhandarya. The museum’s collection is actively replenished by finds from Zharkutan, Baysun barrows, Kampir-tepa, Old Termez and other places discovered by archaeological expeditions during excavations on the territory of Surkhandarya. In the nine main halls there are exhibits found during the excavations of the Surkhandarya region, ranging from primitive stone tools of the prehistoric to works of art made by skilled craftsmen

The museum has a scientific library with a modern reading room and over 17,000 volumes of valuable books on archeology and history. In addition, there are specially equipped halls for the demonstration of precious metals, stones, as well as an exhibition hall, which hosts various exhibitions based on the results of archaeological research, numerous art exhibitions by local artists on various historical and cultural events. Address: Termez, St. Al-Termezy, house 29 A Website: www. tam. uz

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.

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. “

Qoratepa: Buddhist Temple in Central Asia

Qoratepa (15 kilometers from Termez, northwest outskirts of ancient Termez) is a Buddhist temple complex erected during Kushan period in the 4th - 1st centuries B.C. The majority of temple complexes include both as overhead and cave constructions. The overhead part consists of open yard, by the perimeter of the located ayvan gallery. In the one part of the facade are passageways, linking the overhead part with the cave. The overhead temple with big stupa occupies the northern part of Qoratepa. Archaeological finds indicate numerous cultural contacts between Termez and nearby and far off states in the ancient world. Especially, it has been found the readable inscriptions like "khadevaka vihara", i. e. tsar of the temple and "vihara gulavhara".

Like the rest of ancient Termez, Qoratepa 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: “Located on three hills, the Buddhist Temple with its constituent parts and architecture is identified with cave Buddhist monasteries. In the stone rock of the hill prayerrooms were cut with typical cells for monks. Above-ground part also has a place of ritual character, organized around courtyard and shaded with sheds and and having with stupas. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

Qoratepa and other Buddhist sites at Termez show how far Buddhism spread on the early Silk Road to the west during the early centuries B.C. The China Buddhist monks Chji-Chjan or Chji-Loutstzan-chan, Gunn-Lin visited this Qoratepa. The cities of Kushan Empire were large ideological centers. In the fringes of Kushan Empire were Buddhist temples such as Fayaztepa, temples of Qoratepa and stupas in Ayrim and Dalverzin, worth to the local Bactrian gods. The monument of Fayaztepa came to us in some ruin conditions. At present day, all architectural remains were made full stroke of conservation.

Fayaztepa: Buddhist Complex in Temez

Fayaztepa (15 kilometers from Termez, one kilometer from Qoratepa, northwestern part of ancient Termez) is another very ancient Buddhist site erected during Kushan period in the 4th - 1st centuries B.C. The Kushan period marked the development of the town-planning, artistic and spiritual life in the region. Excavations of Fayaztepa showed that Kushan cities and monuments were centers of cultural values. We see the appearance of intensive development of many branches of artistic culture-architecture, painting, sculpture, ceroplastic, music and others on the example of Fayaztepa. The time of including the south part of Uzbekistan to Kushan Empire was the period of active interaction and mutual enrichment of local artistic culture of India, Iran and Greco-Roman world.

Since the 9th century, the complex has turned into ruins and, over time, disappeared into the hills. In 1968, a sculpture of Buddha was discovered on this territory in the dunes. This served as an impetus to study of the area. In 1968-1976, the place was first studied by LI Albaum. For over 40 years, research has been conducted by leading Uzbek and foreign archaeologists. The researchers managed to establish that clay and unbaked bricks were used in the construction of the complex, and rubble was added to the material to strengthen the walls.

Fayaztepa 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 in terms of architectural form and decorative finish, with its items, found during archaeological excavations (sculptures, utensils), is identified with the Buddhist temple facilities of sangarama type. The plan of the walls and a detached shrine - stupa, are in a good condition. Ruined parts of the complex were conserved. The monument serves as a museum and is open for tourist visits. The complex of Fayaz Tepe combined an original technology of construction culture (usage of adobe materials), architectural ideas and beautiful decorated finishing, all of which allow revealing important stages of Buddhist architecture development. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

Temples and Stupas at Fayaztepa

The Fayaztepa complex consisted of three parts: the temple, the monastery and the yard with outbuildings. This layout is typical of the Buddhist ground monasteries (vihar). The stupa is the oldest part of the complex (1st century B.C.). Rituals were performed here. The Stupa can be seen in the original. In the northwestern part of the courtyard there was a small water tank, with a hole for draining the water in the form of an open lion’s mouth. The lion symbolized the strength and power of the Buddha. The water here was pure and intended solely for drinking.

By the end of the 1st century, a ceramic water pipe was built here, taking water from the Amu Darya (the remains of the pipe can be seen today).

The walls of the temple were richly decorated with colorful drawings, the statue of the Buddha (Bodhisattva) towered here, and along the walls were statues whose height reached four meters. On the territory of the complex, archeologists found a large number of objects of visual and applied art: details of kitchen utensils with ancient Bactrian and ancient Indian writing and remains of colored murals on the walls of the temple. The theme of these murals was mostly of a religious nature: images of Buddha, Bodhisattva and other characters.

The the most famous find is the Triad, made of marly limestone. In the center of the triad is the Buddha sitting on the branches of the holy bodha tree, and next to him are two worshiping monks. At this time, the triad is located in the History Museum in Tashkent, a copy can be seen in the Termez Archaeological Museum. The temple complex of Fayaztepa was named in honor of R. F. Fayazov, who was the director of the local museum of local lore and made tremendous efforts in exploring this historic place. In 2000, extensive restoration work was carried out here, and since 2002 the Fayaztepa complex is defined as a historical monument of old Termez. After performing the restoration work, the complex was called an open-air museum.

Fayaztepa has underground and overhead parts. The overhead temple — sangarama — has central part forming a yard, surrounded by the gallery, decorated with valuable paintings. A Small stupa was a part of the complex, located in the outsides of the temple in the wide yard, once surrounded by the walls on the small podium. The diameter of the stupa is 3 meters. The cylindrical body is based on the slightly breasted profiled basing with the contours of attic base. The top-breasted forepart builds up from backed bricks. The connecting-link of the temple complex is the rectangular yard (33x20 meters) surrounded from all sides of cult premises with entrance to the yard. Along the walls of the yard were erected ayvans and walls were covered by the paintings. Especially rich premise was erected in front of the stupa. Here was discovered the bottom part of the figure of Buddha. According to the excavation has been revealed the architectural shape of the whole complex, consists of the temple and stupa. The exact date of the monument gives the rich numismatic material A.D. 1st - 4th centuries.

Zurmala Stupa

Zurmala Stupa (northeast from the fortress walls of Kushan Termez) is the largest Buddhist stupa in Central Asia. Dated to the A.D. 1st-2nd centuries A.D. Excavations have showed that the building had a rectangular pedestal on which was erected a cylindrical-shaped tower monolith with a dome shaped coronation. The stupa was made of adobe brick. The pedestal was once faced with white flag stone. The main base of the stupa was made of baked bricks, dyed a bright-red color. The diameter of the stupa was to 14. 5 meters. The total height reached once 16 meters and was crowned with an "umbrellas of honor" pole. Zurmala was connected with Kushan Empire and was much bigger than Fayaztepa stupa.

Zumala 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 monument, according to the form and archaeological remains, found in the surrounding area, was identified with a large stupa, erected from adobe material, in the Kushan epoch. Despite the fact that the top part of it was lost, its details and elements, especially, its typical form, certifies, that it is a stupa of the large Buddhist Temple. Generally, the Stupa was preserved in its initial dimensions. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

The stupa of Zurmala is 10 times bigger than same age construction in Ayrimtam, Qoratepa, and Fayaztepa. . It is also significant in construction culture also lies in its adobe materials, preserved to today, despite natural impacts (earthquakes, atmospheric moisture, etc).

Khakim At-Termeziy Complex

Mausoleum of Hakim at-Termez (within ancient Termez) was built on the foundation of the khanaka (monastery) of the famous sheikh and Sufi leader Hakim at-Termez along with a sided memorial mosque on the west, both of which were decorated with brilliantly executed epigraphy. A fine example of this is on a frieze that separates the dome from the wall. Lines of inscriptions in Naskh script date to repair and restoration work of the main mausoleum in the third quarter of the 12th century.

Khakim At-Termeziy Complex dates to to the 10th - 12th centuries and constructed over many centuries in the southwest of the most ancient city citadel. The 9th century Sufi leader Al-Khakim at-Termeziy buried here. A small mausoleum has been erected above the burial. It has a square foundation and chartak on which rests a dome, four spacious arches and elementary cantilever-cellular angular pendentives (curved triangles of vaulting formed by the intersection of a dome with its supporting arches). The interior of the tomb of the wall and dome are covered with rich carved plaster. Under the dome is a wide area of kufi inscriptions. The dome is divided by large and small ornamental patterns.

Adjacently with the mausoleum, on the northern side, is a small funeral mosque. From here through the open arch the tomb of Khakim at-Termeziy is visible. The mosque has a three-dome gallery with three open arches in the small fenced courtyard paved with fur-tree bricks on the edge. In the center of the western wall of the mosque is mihrab. Mihrab is reveted with unbaked brick laid in pairs. Kufian script is written on the bricks. The carved pieces on the walls are a little different in character than those in the mausoleum. The panel is designed with cramped stellar girih. Another small mausoleum was added to the east part of the tomb in 12th century. A monumental khanaka was erected in the northwest part of ensemble in 1405-1409. It is square in shape and has deep arches on it axises. The spacious dome if a fine example of Termezian architecture. This building is simple and strong and is spacious on the inside and look monumental from the outside.

Khakim At-Termeziy Complex 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: “Initial architectural parameters, decorative finish of the premises of the complex of Khakim at-Termeziy, despite reinforcement measures, undertake at different times, did not change. The monument was preserved in a good condition. Its historical environment was also preserved in its initial appearence. The complex, as well as the Ancient Termez in general, in the 11th -12th centuries, were considered the most important centers of early Islamic culture of Central Asia. Natives of Termez played leading roles in dissemination of Islamic beliefs; the personality of Khakim at-Termeziy was known as a great theologian and his tombstone - as a sacred place for all Muslims of Central Asia. The architecture of the complex combined unique 11th-12th century techniques of construction and decoration styles, which defined the direction of the future development of architecture of cult constructions of the region. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

Qirq-qiz Complex

Qirq-Qiz (within ancient Termez) is a large palace type structure, belongs to a ruling dynasty, in the densely populated Termez kuhendiz (citadel) and shakhristan (settled area). Unfortunately parts of it are in a ruined condition. Qirq-Qiz (also spelled Kyrk-Kyz) means “Forty Maidens”, a name connected to legend widespread in Central Asia about Amazon living in a fortified castle. Qirq-Qiz is located in outside of early medieval part of Termez in a district called Shahri Saman, which is associated with the Samanid Dynasty.

The building has strictly central composition. It has a square form (54х54 meters) dismembered on axises by vaulted corridors, which lead to the central square courtyard (11. 5х11. 5 meters) from which there was an access to the numerous premises. The living areas lie on two floors in four sectors of the building with narrow vaulted lobbies. The total number of premises of Qirq-Qiz reached fifty and included rectangular rooms, corridors, an extensive three tristylous hall, probably a drawing room and mehmonhona (guest room). Corners of the building are flanked by hollow round towers. Adobe brick was used as the material of construction. The interiors of Qirq-Qiz features an amazing a variety of the vaulted systems made with adobe brick. Decoration of interiors is not rich in terms of details. The architectural rhythm mainly used is the decoration of window apertures and niches, issued in the form of various figured arches. The combination of old pre-Islamic traditions and new selections caused by inquiries of other epoch is characteristic for Qirq-Qiz. Isolation of the composition remind one of earlier keshki (feudal castles).

Qirq-Qiz 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: Although there are some ruined parts, the complex preserved its planning of rooms, general architectural composition and appearance, the integrity of facades. Minor restoration and conservation works were done on the monument. The complex is one of the rare country estates (kjoshks), preserved in the-territory of Uzbekistan. The complex is a large one and represents a palace-estate (kjoshk), created applying the original technology of construction culture. Its architectural dimensions, usage of adobe materials, two-tier planning do not have analogues in the Samanid epoch of development of Architecture. The complex stands out in terms of historical and architectural values, which make it an outstanding monument of adobe architecture of Central Asia. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

Sulton-Saodat Complex

Sulton-Saodat Complex (within ancient Termez) is a large architectural ensemble embracing family tombs of Termezian Seyidov and cult buildings. The oldest building are in the southwest part and includes two mausoleums connected with a deep arch and dated to the 11th century. The interiors of both mausoleums is square, but their external dimensions are a little bit different. Development of their main facades is identical: a socle, above it - three arch niches in U-shaped frames, with the arches based on three-quarter columns and a parapet above. The portal of the central arch uniting the mausoleums, towers above the top line of their parapets behind which were raised ledged skufi lancet domes of both tombs. The deep space under the arch served as funeral area for the mosque.

Construction began in 10th -11th centuries. Among the monuments along the elongated courtyard are: 1) avian type mosque, which has a portal structure with an arched passageway near-gate structure (darvaza-khana) ; 2) sixteen mausoleums built in the 14th, 16th and 17th centuries; 3) abode (khanaka) and other premises. The history of the construction of architectural monuments of the complex is inextricably linked with the history of Termez sayids, who played significant role in the history of Maverannahr and Khorasan. In the premises of the tomb, there are well-plastered low headstones marking the graves of sayyids. There are no inscriptions on the tombstones. Inscriptions flanking portal of the mosque, are linked with glazed mosaic facing, and at the end of the 19th century were transcribed off and read by A. A. Semenov. At the same time, there were recorded fragments of the main text on the right of the arch and above the left side of the portal

Outside and in the interiors the constructions of ensemble has been carried out mostly with warm, pink-texture baked brick. All the facades have a smooth texture. The interior of the first mausoleum is decorated in the front with dismembered arch niches. All the decorations on surface of walls is done with bricks. Decoration of the second mausoleum was minimal; its walls are smooth. Eight pendentives made “in pine” are similar to those on the first mausoleum.

The initial architectural composition of the family tomb Termez Seyid is represented as pair of mausoleums interconnected by a courtyard portal-vaulted ayvan. This composition style served as the typological scheme for the subsequent constructions of ensemble, the first of which appeared in the second half of the 15th century. In the final composition of Sulton-Saodat is perceived as ensemble of the buildings grouped on the perimeter of very long narrow corridor, with the main relic underlined by the harmonious portal and massive domes in depth.

Sultan-Saodat Complex 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 preserved all main elements of architecture of burial vaults, the lost parts of which were restored according to their initial appearance. The integrity of the composition and planning was preserved. Also, surrounding historical and landscape environment was preserved. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

The Sulton-Saodat type of building ensemble influenced similar constructions trough Central Asia such as Shakhi-Zinda and the mausoleum Guri-Amir in Samarkand and Khazrati-imam in Shakhrisyabz. The Architectural decor especially in brick facing can be compared with well-known Samanids Mausoleum in Bukhara and the mausoleum Oq-Ostona Bobo in Uzun. Sulton-Saodat has formed the basis for development of medieval Termez. Compositionally, the complex is uniformly connected with oblong courtyard of the burial vaults of Termez Seyids (who played leading roles in political history of Central Asia), relating to different times. Architecture of the complex demonstrates the development of cult constructions (burial vaults) during six centuries.

The ensemble of Sulton-Saodat is an outstanding sample of type of the structure of the architectural ensemble illustrating the important stages of the development of human history. Diversification its architectural composition as though are dissolved due to unity of their compositional scheme, which represents in different variants in all constructions - from the 10th - 11th centuries up to 17th century. The monument was restored. On the main portal facing with epigraph is partially restored. Similar works are executed on the angular columns. In constructions of later time the lost parts of a portal, part of the fallen domes are reported. Improving works are executed. In all other issues, the monument is preserved in the primeval form.

Kokildor Khonaqo

Kokildor Khonaqo (within ancient Termez) is a monumental construction of the 16th century. According to the its function, it was the mausoleum-khonaqo, with the original plan: widely open the niche of the portal has semi octahedron form; axial pass from it conducts into dahlid - a lobby, it is possible to get in the central room and in two lateral corridors, from here, which unites by two rooms. By form and construction of the main facade - disclosing of the monument “the developed composition” dominates over front and on a cross-section axis. Numerous niches and niche the rectangular and pentahedral plan are entered in the decoration of this facade, the portal arch and interiors. Vaulted systems are original in Kokildor. They represent the decorative arches, domes and semi dome on the combined grid of the pendentives executed from cast ganch. The monument was created as an independent building completed in an architectural ensemble and consequently so proportions of portal are harmonious in it and various development of plafond of rooms and niches.

Kokildor Khonaqo 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: Khaqah Kokildora was preserved in its initial dimensions and corresponds to the typical characteristics. Typologically khonaqo of Kokildor is distinct from modern to it constructions of Bukhara architectural school, but approaches with some buildings of monumental architecture of the 16th century in Balkh. It is natural, Amu Darya from the earliest times did not divided, but connected right-bank and left-bank areas of ancient Tokharistan and Termez with its ferry and quay served as the direct intermediary not only political and trading, but also old historical and cultural relations on the Silk Road. The monument restored in 2002. The waterproofing is executed. The lost parts of walls of facades are restored. Plaster of an interior is restored and accomplishment is executed. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

Djarqurgan Minaret

Djarqurgan Minaret (within ancient Termez) is a vertical column-shaped construction that has been laid out from backed brick. It is an octahedron in shape. On the top part of each side are inscriptions from which was discovered that the minaret was constructed in A.D. 1108-1109 (502 on the Muslim calendar) and the master architect was Ali Muhammad Sarh, under Amir Khuroson's order, subsequently become governor of Khuroson and the known historic figure Sulton Sanjar.

Parts of the facet are decorated by geometrical figure. In an average part of each facets are located semi circle with the shape of bay arch completions. From the level of top of the socle part of the octahedron begins the trunk of the minaret has been laid out in the form of 16 plaits semi circle of the outline, which then comes to the end by lancet small arcs. Above arches passes the wide zone of an inscription framed decorative corbels. From the top level of zone begins the next section from 16 plaits. In the decoration of the plaits was applied the typesetting mosaic techniques from horizontal and vertically set bricks.

This minaret was built using similar techniques as those used to make other buildings in Termez such as: the palace of Termez governors (11th - 12th centuries), the mosque in the complex Khakim at-Termeziy (11th - 12th centuries) mausoleum Oq-Ostona Bobo in Uzun district of Surkhandarya region, and also mausoleum Zul Kifl on the island of “Orol Payg'ambar” in Amu Darya. The minaret was exposed to insignificant conservation works. As a whole on 95 percent of minaret was preserved in the primeval shape. Djarkurgan Minaret is part of the Silk Roads Sites in Uzbekistan that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.

Oq-Ostona Bobo

Oq-Ostona Bobo (within ancient Termez) is a mausoleum is situated on the territory of large and ancient burial ground and built in honour of the Abu-Khu Khuryra considered as associate of Prophet Mohammed. The mausoleum has centric composition, square in plan and oriented to all World's parts. The cubiform construction is flanked by guldasta towers, and crowned by well-proportioned sphere conical dome. Octahedron with arches is decorating dome's ceiling. Northeast, northwest and southwest walls of the interior have rather deep lancet bays with two twelvesided columns. The room with grave stone sagana is lightened by hole in sophit of the entrance arch. Façade are decorated by figured brickwork with wide vertical seams. Upper row of brickwork is sloped. Socle, the first ring and two rows of brickwork made from large bricks with 45-50 centimeters. and 6 centimeters. from the part. The plan's size from inside is 5,65x5,80 meters., outside is 9x8,7 meters.

The monument was suffered some changes in 4th centuries. Southeast wall was moved, the low parts of other facades were strengthened with a additional layout from large brick. Buttress turrets installed on the corners, except eastern part. Local master Usto Khudayberdy restored partly destroyed dome in 19th century. The building of the monument was restored in2002. The facing of the facade was replaced and the interior of the mausoleum was plastered again.

Centric composition belongs to special "brick " style which was popular at the 10th - 12th centuries in Tedzhen and Murgab territory and Amurdarya river basin district. Arheological receaches are dating this monument to the end of the 10th century. This monument is the one of preserved monuments of that period. The monument is similar to Sultan Saodat comlex (11-12th century ) by its decoration and brickwork.

Kampirtepa: the Greek-Bactrian Port

Kampirtepa (100 kilometers northwest of Termez) is one of the most significant sites at Termez as well as ancient Bactria. Excavations there have revealed a large number of material and art culture objects, a rich collection of coins, and papyrus documents with four very ancient inscriptions — Greek, Bactrian, Brahma and unknown letter — are found. Among these are the oldest Bactrian manuscripts that provided some details about the planned structure of Bactrian cities and the dynamics of their development. Greek inscriptions offer evidence that Greeks are at least Greek-speaking people resided in Termez.

The name Kampyrtepa comes from the Greek word Pandoki-Pandoheon which means “welcoming home”. It was an ancient port city on the Amu Darya along with Airtam and Tarmita (Old Termez), place that were separated by roughly 30 kilometers. The first port was located upstream on the river above the watercourse to the east and the second below and to the west. Burdaguy served as a bunkhouse and Customs. Restoration of the outer city fortification and one of the Kushan quarter has been done using ancient constructing techniques. For molding adobe bricks loess was used. They were placed at the foot of the fortress wall and dried on the spot and affixed with clay mortar.

Kampirtepa was discovered during archeological reconnaissance in Оks valley (Amu Darya) in 1972. Originally established as a fortress, it was located at a through the Оks valley on the caravan route from Bactria to Sogdia. Kampirtepa consists of fortified and non-fortified parts. Archeological research has found that Kampirtepa was known in antiquity for its Greek ferry (Pandaheyon, Pardagvi), mentioned Khafizi-Abru. The oldest Bactrian manuscripts are on papyrus dated at the end of the A.D. 1st and early 2nd centuries. They are the most ancient hand-written texts ever found in Central Asia.

Research was revealed three main historical periods at Kampirtepa: 1) Greek-Bactrian period, appearance of the fortress on the place of the future citadel (3rd to 2nd centuries B.C.) ; 2) Yuchjiy-Kushan period, habitation of the citadel (2nd to 1st centuries B.C.). 3) Great Kushan period, a time of intensive construction and formation of powerful fortress (1st to middle 2nd centuries B.C.)

Kampirtepa 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: Kampirtepa is a bright example of the development of culture, trade, development of town planning in antique and late antique periods of history of Central Asia. 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. [Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

Archaeology, History and Sites of Kampyrtepa

The Citadel at Kampyrtepa has multimeter layers starting from the Hellenistic era that started at the end of the 4th century B.C. The building of “the lower city” took place under a unified plan at the beginning of the A.D. 1st century and lasted until the reign of the Kushan king Kanishka I (the first third of the 2nd century B.C.).

Kampyrtepa was discovered by the academician E. V. Rtveladze in 1972, who continued to study it for 30 years. Today more than 70 percent of its territory has been studied. Kampyrtepa fortress possesses a number of interesting characteristics. The massif of a single kushan housing estate opened here dates back to the reign of the kings from Soter Megas to Kanishka I (the second half of the 1st century B.C. — the first half of the II century AD.). The material culture found in quarters parallels the formation and flourishing of the Kushan Empire.

The Bactrian detachment of Central Asian archaeological expedition of the Institute of Archaeology under the direction of N. D. Dvurechenskaya began excavating the eastern part of the “lower city” of Kampyrtepa in 2004. Before it was thought that the entire “lower city” was a residential area built by a unified plan in the early Kushan period (1st century A.D.) and that earlier building had never existed. However Dvurechenskaya and his team that under the Kushan layers there were older early Hellenistic, Greek-Bactrian and Kushan-Yuechzhi remains.

At the transshipment port at Kampyrtepa large amount and variety of goods came from from Afrasiab — the capital of Sogdiana to the capital of Bactria. At that time city of Bactria was located 70 kilometers to the south of the fortress and then to go to the southeast, in what was part of India. One of the biggest discoveries was the excavation of a Buddhist temple near the ruins of the city gates of the Citadel and a terracotta sculpture of sitting Buddha on a wall that dated of the first half of the A.D. 2nd century was discovered. It is noteworthy that this is literally the only building of its kind in this ancient city. The Buddh sits with his legs crosse and has elongated earlobes and hair gathered back in a the hairpiece — ushnisha. The closest images to this a relief image of the Buddha are the “triad” of Fayaztepa and “Buddha-Mazda” on wall painting in one of the cave temples of Koratepa (A.D. 1st century). In a guard house dated from end of 2nd to 1st centuries B.C.), a ceramic matrix was found with an image of Athena with a spear. That Goddess was considered as the patron goddess of warriors.

Dalvarzintepa Ancient City

Dalvarzintepa Ancient City (60 kilometers from Termez) is an ancient Kushan city. According to the archaeologist G. Pugachenkova, “comparison of historical and archaeological data gives the ground to identify it with that initial Kushan capital once located to the North from Amu Darya which under the name Hodzo “appears in the ancient Chinese chronicles. ” A systematic study of Dalverzintepa began in 1967

The ancient settlement of about 47 hectares dug out by archeologists was loaded with artifacts. In northwest part of the settlement at the temple of the Bactrian Goddess sculptures of deities and unique models of wall painting with the images of priests and infants were excavated. The Buddhist temple of the A.D. 2nd-3rd centuries was found in the center of the settlement. Among the objects that have been unearthed are ancient ivory pieces, chessmen dated to the A.D. 1st-2nd century, polished stones, copper coins, beads of precious stones, thin-walled ceramics relating to the Greek-Bactrian era.

In the suburban area the ruins of another Buddhist temple was discovered which had been erected, according to findings of coins, even earlier about the A.D. 1st century. Both places of worship were once decorated with clay and plaster sculpture. Archaeologists had discovered more than three dozen of magnificent sculptures of the different sizes, from a half a meter to three and four meters in size. Also found were numerous Buddha statues, bodhisattvas, other Buddhist characters, sculptural images of the Ruler, of his successor, of a noble lady and a administrator. Artifacts found at Dalverzintepa have been exhibited in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, the USA, Malaysia and South Korea.

The central part of the city was occupied by the quarters of the rich citizens which have been built up with houses with spacious terraces, with ceremonial rooms and outbuildings. In many houses the number of rooms reached two or even three dozens. In 1972, at one such house archeologists found the so-called Dalverzin treasure of gold subjects. The largest such treasure ever found in Central Asia, it weighed about 36 kilograms and was dated to the A.D. 1st century. The Dalverzin treasure has also of great scientific value — and is superior to the well-known Amu Darya treasure in the British Museum — as it wasn’t looted but was painstakingly excavated with all of its layers and positions recorded so it context can be understood.


Sherabad (60 kilometers from Termez) is a town with about 25,000 people on the banks of the Sherabad River that lies at center and an archaeologically rich area that attracts of archaeologists from all over the world. In last twenty years or so many new discoveries have been made and new insights have been gained into the ancient civilizations that resided in the area,

Sherabad area’s archaeological history goes back 40,000 to maybe 100,000 years ago. In 1938, archaeologists discovered the remains of a Neanderthal child, estimated to be nine or ten years old, and an adult Neanderthal man in Teshik-Tash – a cave situated in the branches of the Hissar Range not far from Sherabad. Before the discovery it was thought that Neanderthals only lived in Europe and even today they and some remains found in the Altai region of Russia are the only Neanderthal fossils found that far east.

The Sherabad area has also revealed petroglyphs, several Bronze Age sites dating as far back as 1,000 B.C., found on the banks of the Sherabad river near Kyzylsu, Bactrian settlements of Jarkutan and Sapallitepa fortifications whch date back to the 3rd century B.C. Also in the mountainous area about 3000 stone tools and a huge number of animal bones were found — a mountain goat, a deer, a wild horse, a leopard, a hare, and also birds — that appear to have been killed by humans. The city of Sherabad is also rich in historical sights. The city has the famous 9th century mazar of a Muslim theologian and author of several books on various aspects of Muslim dogma and the compiler of the Hadith collection “Sunan at-Tirmidhi” — Abu Isa Muhammad at-Tirmizi.

Near Sherabad

Jarkutan Excavation (not far from modern Sherabad) is the site of the ruins of the ancient city of Jarkutan, one of the northern oases controlled by the Bactria civilization. Archaeological studies have shown, the site appeared about 3,500 years ago. An area of about 100 hectares was densely populated. The main archaeological site — a mound — was divided into two parts: the shakhristan and a citadel. Inside the citadel there was a temple. During the excavation of the citadel, a structure was found associated with the processing of metal — a kind of metallurgical plant of the Bronze Age. This was a great achievement for the primitive system. A pottery workshop was also found. Pottery also spread outside Jarkutan, which indicates that trade has developed here.

Imam Termezi Complex (near Sherabad) is located in a rural cemetery and has long been revered by Muslims. The monument dates back to the 11th-12th centuries and is associated with the the Hadistic scholar and jurist Abu iso Muhammad Termezi (824-892). Imam Termezi (full name of Abu-Aso Muhammad bin Iso ibn Savra bin Muso bin az Zahkhak az-Zarif at-Termeziy al Bugi) was born in 824 in Bug village, six kilometers north of Termez. From a young age he showed interest in the works of the great scientists of Samarkand, Bukhara and Merv.

As a young man, he began to travel to various countries and cities of the Islamic world, in particular, Khorosan and Iraq, where he communicated with famous personalities of his time. Termezi gained recognition among the followers and like-minded Imam al-Bukhari. Based on the collected hadiths (writings about the life of the Prophet Muhammad), he created a number of works: Sunani Termeziy, Kitob Islam, Kitob atari, Kitob az Zuhd and others. His works have become fixtures of not only Islamic, but also of world science and philosophy. His collection of Hadith is one of the six most authoritative Sunni collections of Hadith in the world. In 2017, the mausoleum complex was reconstructed, a green zone was established around it.

Zarautsoy Rock Paintings

Zarautsoy Rock Paintings (30 kilometers to the northwest from Sherobod and in 5 kilometers to the south from Kizil-Alma village). was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Grotto of Zaraut-kamar in the gorge of Zarautsoy is located in the southeast slope of the mountains Kugitangtau, entering into the system of southwest ridges of Gissar Mountains. Administratively Zarautsoy enters into the territory of the state natural reserve “Surkhan” in the area of Sherobod of Surkhandarya region, The height is 1265 meters. above sea level. Grotto of Zaraut-kamar settles down on the right slope of canyon of Zarautsoy, in mouth of the rocky canyon, on the border of high mountains and short mountains. Below of the canyon valley of Zarautsoy, extends and during 2-3 kilometers running from the north in the south on foothill makes turn to the West. On this site of the valley is well denoted the ancient terrace, in which many of items of stone rests' constructions and ceramics (including - medieval) are revealed. On crests of ridges, forming watersheds of Zarautsoy with the neighbor valleys, also fixed the rests of stone constructions and barrows. The rocky slope of the canyon, where locates the grotto of Zaraut-kamar, has a shape of ledge and combines the alternating layers of the calcareous breed medieval Jurassic period, laying under the corner 45-50º with the northern spread. The ledge has layered structure and well expressed of stepped structure. The surface of the rocks, close to vertical, has strongly removed and characterized by many niches and grottoes of the various sizes. The basic grotto - Zaraut-kamar is located in an average part of the rocky file, at the height about 8 meters. from the surface of the valley. [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“The series of grottoes at the bottom part of the rock where there are single images and Arabian inscriptions. The main grotto, according to the date of A. A. Formozov, has the following sizes: 1,4-2,5 meters width, 5,2 meters length and 3,97 meters height; the niche is opened to the east. Some adjournments and cultural rests are not present; however in the northern part, i. e. under the grotto, where the most ancient figures are concentrated, on the black surface of the floor is marked out small polished up the deepening with the size about 5 centimeters. Arch and walls of the grotto are covered by the short while the light brown and pinkish shade carbonate coating; the bottom part of walls and floor of grotto are free from leakages, the surface of black or dark grey color rough, is smoothed down by places. In some places of the walls and arch are limy accumulate, here and there hiding of ancient images and medieval inscriptions. In the bottom and average part of walls harrowed modern autographs of visitors. Dating of the painting of Zaraut-kamar covers an epoch of the mesolite, neolith, epoch of bronze and Middle Ages.

“Ancient images occupy western and part of the northern wall of grotto, forming three basic compositions. Images of animals, anthropomorphous, ornitho- anthropomorphous figures and the uncertain signs drawn by the red-brown and gray-brown mineral paint are varied here. At wetting figures by water, their color becomes claret. The medieval inscriptions made by the bright red paint were applied on the free from figures spaces of the arch and wall of the grotto. It is important to note, that the Arabian inscriptions partially block only separate ancient figures, occupying, mainly, a surface of the grotto of high quality in intervals between ancient compositions. Among ancient images in the northern wall of grotto is marked out the composition including the comparatively large figure of the bull, struck with arrow, around of which is shown archer and group ornitho-anthropomorphous figures. According to the researchers of Zarautsoy, the last represented the hunters disguised under birds (bustard, ostrich) or dressed in wide raincoats. On other two compositions painted the scenes of hunting for wild animals - bulls, goitered gazelles, etc.

“Majority of images are silhouettes, comparable small sizes (5-7 centimeters, the largest figure of the bull about 15 centimeters) and skillfully executed. There are about 40 figures distinguish in grotto. Below the basic of the grotto, paintings are available in several niches in smaller size. The images, which have kept here, also executed by the red-brown paint, but they are brighter, differ on style from figures of the basic grotto and belong to the late period. The grotto of Zaraut-kamar settles down in the territory of the Regional State Natural Reserve “Surkhon”, founded in 1986. Central office of the reserve is located in the regional center of Sherobod. The northwest borders of reserve on watershed of Kugintang Mountains coincide with frontier of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The total area of reserve territories is 25 853 hectares; allotment by the state of these carefully protected territories is carried out, but the buffer zone of reserve is not established. Any economic activities are forbidden in the territory of reserve, scientific and educational work has carried out here. There are 578 kinds of plants in the reserve, 23 kinds of mammals, about 70 kinds of birds and approximately 30 kinds of reptiles are protected; many kinds of them are inscribed in to the Red book of Uzbekistan and International. At the creation of the reserve of Zaraut-kamar grotto has been included into the structure of protected territory with a view of maintenance of its protection, however in practice the monument remains accessible for visitors, and establishes the effective control for employees of reserve is not possible yet. The grotto and average part of the valley of Zarautsoy are located near to the border and buffer zone of the reserve within the boundaries of which are settled down about 10 settlements with the population of more than 4000 person.”

Boysun: with Its Unique Uzebek-Tajik Culture

Boysun District (170 kilometers north of Termez and 400 kilometers southeast of Bukhara) is a mountainous area in the northern part of Kashkadarya region near Surkhandarya Region known for it indigenous population of Uzbeks and Tajiks who have a unique and distinctive lifestyle and have made a great effort to keep their old traditions alive.

The musical instruments of Boysun — including the sibizga, changqobiz, chopon nay, spool nay (shillovuq, shipillak), ghajir nay, qovoq soz, dombira, dutor, doyira, dap, surnay — cannot be found in any other parts of the world. There are also dances unique to Boysun. Every dance has its specific movements that have names. Combat dances and rules about steps and performances which have been forgotten in other places are preserved in Boysun. Local people know the names of dancers from historical and even ordinary people have a passionate interest of the art form. It is possible to enjoy great folk music, dance, and performances of folk music, dance and singing during holidays, festivals andweddings. Sometimes special shows are put together for tourists.

Local craft skills are also kept alive. Traditional crafts such as textiles, carpets, felt printing, ceramics, leather processing, embroidery, woodcarving, gold embroidery, stone carving, knife making, shoemaking, ironwork, preparing musical instruments have been preserved. The samples of human’s knowledge about nature and the universe are well-preserved. Traditional — sometimes ancient — methods are transmitted from generation to generation. . Every house in Boysun is comparable to a museum of people. The “exhibits” are distinguished by the fact that they are prepared not for demonstration, but for household use.

Boysun was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The territory is located on the ridge of Boysuntog - the southwest spur of Gissar Mountains in the district of Boysun. The sites of Boysun, which is a subject of inclusion in protected historical and cultural and landscape territory of the cultural reserve: the basic historical-archeological sites (Teshik-Tash, Kushan wall, Kurganzol,) ; integral sites of folk cultures (kishlaks- villages) ; workshops of the folk craft; zones of unique landscapes, natural-sanitary complexes; makhallas (communities). [Source: National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO]

“Landscapes of the ridge Boysuntog, well-preserved biodiversity of territory including rare and precinctive representatives of flora and fauna of the southern mountains of Uzbekistan, belong to the natural heritage of the unique in the aesthetic view. Cultural landscapes were formed during centuries in which alongside with elements and infrastructure of traditional human culture, representatives of flora and fauna of region are organically included and kept, for example as in Sayrob complex.

Baysun Gravitational Anomaly (Padang hills of Boysun) is a magical place that defies physics Many centuries ago, residents here citizens balls left on rise rolled up hill and water flowed backwards. For a long time this phenomenon was only known locally but thanks to bloggers the anomaly has now received some exposure outside Uzbekistan. Similar unusual phenomena has been observed in in Israel (Beit Shemesh), Jordan (Devil’s Gorge), India (Ladhak), Middle Urals (Nevyansky District), Oregon (Myster Sport). Taiwan and South Korea (Jeju).

Therefore, tourists try not to miss an opportunity to visit this climb, to see firstly what every guide in our country tells. Despite the Baysun gravitational anomaly is real only at 50 meters site, tourists are can be attracted here not only by this “mistery”, but also by the nature of the region. The tops of the mountains, covered with snow, within the plains of flowering gardens … A place where you want to stay longer.

Teshik-Tash Cave: Home of an 8-Year-Old Neanderthal

Teshik-Tash Cave (70 kilometers north of Sherabad) is the site of the world’s most important Neanderthal discoveries. In 1938, archaeologists lead by Alexey Okladnikov discovered the remains of a Neanderthal child, estimated to be nine or ten years old, in Teshik-Tash – a cave situated in the branches of the Hissar Range. Before the discovery it was thought that Neanderthals only lived in Europe and even today they and some remains found in the Altai region of Russia are the only Neanderthal fossils found that far east. The Teshik-Tash child fossils have been dated to between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago, making them the oldest known hominid remains in Central Asia. The discovery was made by A. P. Okladnikov at about 1500 meters above sea level.

Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian) tools and numerous bones of wild goats and other animals were found in the cave deposits. It appears that people living in the grotto mostly hunted mountain goats. Horns of goats, arranged pairwise, were found around the skeleton. They might have been placed there intentionally (some, judging by their position, had been stuck into the ground). If so, rather than merely abandoning the bodies of their dead, the Neanderthals buried them according to a rite reflecting some ideas of the other world. [Source: Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Erhnography ^=^]

There was initially some debate as to whether the fossils belonged to a “classical” Neanderthal” or “an evolutionary line leading to anatomically modern humans. The structure of DNA extracted from the bones of the Teshik-Tash child links him with Neanderthals rather than with Homo sapiens. The famed Russian scientist M. M. Gerasimov has reconstructed the complete appearance of the Teshik-Tash child. The skull, in his words, “is much larger and heavier than that of a modern child of the same age. The browridge is much more robust than in a modern adult. The forehead is retreating . The head is large and heavy, especially in the facial part, the stature is low, and the trunk is long. While being 9-10, he looks older. The disproportion between the head and the rest of the body combines with very powerful shoulders and a peculiarly stooped trunk. The arms are very strong. The legs are short and muscular. This trait combination is typical of Neanderthals. " ^=^

Teshik-Tash is located in the mountains of Baysun, not far from Sary-Shoto pass and the village of Derbent (Darband), from which the cave is accessible via a footpath. The remains were discovered in a shallow pit, reported to be associated with five pairs of Siberian ibex horn cores. Through dental analysis the skull was said to have been an 8 to 11 year old child. The horn cores were found around the perimeter of the grave surrounding the cranial remains. This has led a number of researchers to believe the child was ritually buried. The site was excavated in five cultural layers of sediment with Mousterian artifacts. Lack of adequate published material on the excavation and the numerous Ibex bones (761) found led to this interpretation being questioned. Paul Mellars, questioning the ritual interpretation suggested that the bones may not have been deliberately placed. Others believe it is not a burial.

The Teshik-Tash skull’s dental analysis placed the age of the hominid between 8–9 years old at the time of death. The size of the skull was relatively larger than that of a modern child’s skull of the same age. Archaeologists suggested that this was because Neanderthals have a faster rate of growth than modern Homo sapien adolescence. The skull is larger and taller and exhibited typical Neanderthal traits such as an occipital bun, oval-shaped foramen magnum, shovel-shaped incisors, supraorbital ridge, and the absence of a strong chin. Other midfacial features of the skull such as the lingual of the mandibular foramen were said to be more characteristic of modern humans than Neanderthals. The morphological features of the Teshik-Tash skull lead researchers to question the classification as some argued that it was closer in morphological association with Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens. Statistical analysis of 27 linear measurements placed the Teshik-Tash skull and mandible outside the variation of the Neanderthals and associated it with Upper Paleolithic humans.

mtDNA analysis was conducted on the Teshik-Tash skull which confirmed that the skull was Neanderthal. Further genetic research concluded that near-eastern Neanderthals were somewhat segregated from northwestern European Neanderthals and early Neanderthals along the Mediterranean. This data is suggested through consistent low levels of gene flow between Neanderthals and modern humans in the Near East.

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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