Remarkable Sights of Khoresm

The Ancient Zoroastrian Monuments in Uzbekistan


The civilisation of Khoresm, the most ancient in the territory of Central Asia, appeared in the lower course of the Amudarya River at the border with the Kyzylkum desert in the mid-2nd millennium BC. The civilisation of Khoresm gave birth to the unique Khoresmian culture, which is sometimes considered as significant as that of Egypt and Babylon and which left after it priceless heritage - cities lost in sands, majestic fortresses and one of the most ancient world religions, Zoroastrianism. Avesta, the holy book of the Zoroastrians, had been written in the territory of Greater Khoresm, where the scouts from the Ahnenerbe were searching for the mythical Asgard and Soviet archaeologists found a series of fortresses and a network of interconnected ancient irrigation canals buried under the sands of the Kyzylkum. The territory of Ellikkala District features over 200 archaeological sites, the largest and most famous of which are Toprak-kala, Ayaz-kala and Mizdahkan. In total, there were over 1,000 fortresses in ancient Khoresm, most of which, situated in inaccessible areas amidst white-hot sands and lifeless solonchaks remain almost unstudied today. Wrapped in numerous legends, the enchanted realm of silent ruins and tumbledown towers attracts crowds of those who like antiquity and search for historical truth.

Ayaz-Kala Settlement

Ayaz-kala settlement (IV century B.C.) in Uzbekistan now represents a unique historical monument of Zoroastrism (Mazdaism, Zoroastrianism) times. Ayaz-kala fortress is located in Ellikkalinskiy region of Karakalpakstan, in 20 kilometers to the North-East from ancient capital of Khorezm - Toprak-kala settlement, to the West from Kyrk-kyz-kala fortress, amidst the moving sends of Kyzyl-Kum (Kyzylkum desert) and Sultan Uvays mountain ridges.


Archaeological site Toprak-Kala

The archaeological site of Toprak-kala (1st-4th centuries AD) is one of the most remarkable architectural monuments of Khorezm (also spelled Khwarezmia, Khwarizm, Khwarazm, Khwarezm, Khoresm, Khorasam, Harezm, Horezm, and Chorezm). The monument was discovered by archaeologist S. P. Tolstoy in Elikkala District of Karakalpakstan in 1938. Toprak-kala with a population of about 3,000 persons was the principal city of one of the local dynasties.



Archeological excavations made at the territory of Khorezm in 1938, which is 27 km. off Beruni town (Uzbekistan), resulted in discovery of an ancient settlement of Kyrk-Qyz-Qala (dated back 1 to 6th c.c. A.D.) Archeologists decided that was the fortress that played a role as part of fortification system to protect border of the north-eastern part of ancient Khorezm.


Koy-Krylgan-Kala Fortress

To the North-East from Turtkul town in Karakalpakstan there located ruins of outstanding monument of funeral and astral cult of ancient Khorezm, the settlement of Koy-Krylgan-kala (IV century BC - IV century AD) - one of the basic monuments of Zoroastrism on the territory of Uzbekistan.

Koy-Krylgan-kala fortress was a kind of temple-tomb, on which territory the astronomical investigations and some ritual ceremonies of Zoroastrism were held. People considered this place sacred and were bringing ossuaries with remains of the dead here.


Mizdakhan Necropolis

Mizdakhan is a huge ensemble of mixed-age antiquities and comprises one of the most ancient cemeteries in Central Asia (including the mausoleums of Shamun-nabiMazlumkhan-suluCaliph Erejep and a hillock of Jumart-kassab), and also a city of Golden Horde times, caravanserai, ruins of separate estates and palaces, remains of irrigation canals. During the period of Middle Ages Mizdakhan was a third large city in Khorezm.


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