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Ancient settlement Kafyr kala.

Excursion to Kafyr kala ancient settlement.


“The Arabs say it is true, here I am with them:
It is not criminal to drink wine at the time of spring bloom;
To make friends with a young peri from Hallukh now -
So that she, like a Chin idol, caressed the eyes with beauty,
To enter with a languid gait into our intoxicated, cheerful circle,
To draw on glasses: "Are you, daredevil, a welcome friend?"

Bade Balkhi, translated by D. Vinogradov.

Ancient settlements of Samarkand.

The Kafyr kala settlement, located on a natural hill, on the right bank of the Dargom canal, 10.5 kilometers southeast of Samarkand, 704 meters southeast of the Samarkand ring road, in the southwestern part of the village of Nazitepa in the Samarkand region of Samarkand region.
The Kafyr kala settlement, the ruins of an ancient Sogdian castle and a town of the 5th - 8th centuries, was one of the important urban centers of ancient Sogd. It was erected on a pakhsov platform with a height of about 4 meters and was not protected by external walls.
Almost nothing has survived from the upper floor of the castle that occupied its middle part. According to archaeologists, the Sogdian castle demonstrates the desire of its builders to create an expressive image of a monumental centric dwelling, based on a harmonious and rather complex combination of volumetric forms.
The town was destroyed by the Arabs at the beginning of the VIIIth century. Intensive archaeological research here began in 2001, first by the staff of the Uzbek-Italian expedition, and since 2013 - by the Uzbek-Japanese expedition of the Institute of Archaeological Research of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Excavations of the powerful citadel have shown that it was an important urban center. This is evidenced by the discovered ceramics and coins. Among the finds, the cylindriyak bulls are of particular value - a kind of seals with which letters, contracts, goods and even bags with a certain amount were sealed.
Some of them have a clearly expressed religious theme, others convey portraits of people, and still others - images of animals. There are also inscriptions in Sogdian script. As the analysis of the plots with the characters has shown, the bulls depict portraits of real faces.
Most of the portraits have features of a European appearance, some of them show the Greek and Mongoloid types of faces. One of the important results of the work on Kafir Kala was the almost complete opening of the citadel.
The overlappings of the aivans were supported by numerous wooden columns decorated with fine carvings. The interiors of the structures were richly decorated with wood carvings, and the walls were covered with multi-colored painting of a subject character.
However, the citadel was destroyed due to a terrible fire that happened here, as scientists suggest, somewhere between 712 and 738 years. As a result, the carved wooden structures of the aivan burned out, the paintings were burnt and covered with a thick layer of soot.
Most of the painted plaster was falling off the walls. The background of the paintings was bright blue, and on it the plot was made in red, yellow, black, blue colors. It is possible that scenes of a feast or some important event were depicted here.
Most likely, the painting of Kafir Kala has something in common with the world famous Afrasiab paintings from the Varhuman palace. During the opening of one of the central rooms in the northern part of the citadel, a sensational find was discovered - a panel and a number of other decorative elements made of carved charred wood, which are dated by scientists from the VIIth - VIIIth centuries.
These are very large objects - a panel (135 x 114 cm), an arch (289 x 53 cm) and one board (143 x 47 cm). The wood carvings are religious in nature. The panel is divided into four tiers. The central part of the two upper registers is occupied by the figure of a female deity - the goddess of fertility and motherhood, Nana-Anahita, who was especially revered in ancient Iran, Khorezm and Sogd.
This is a beautiful young woman, stately, very strong, dressed in royal clothes.
She sits on a throne in the form of a reclining lion. Around her head is a sacred halo. In her left hand she holds a banner, in her right - some object. On the right and left sides, in four registers, people dressed in Sogdian clothes go to it.
Some bring her gifts - various vessels, trays, as well as sacred portable altars. The third register depicts musicians. They are holding a harp, a lute, a horn and a circle with bells. In the bottom, fourth row, figures are depicted kneeling.
In the center is a man kneeling and holding his hand over the altar. The arch is partially preserved. Most of its left side is almost lost. The same goddess Nana is depicted in the center. But she has four arms. One pair of hands holds the symbols of the sun and the moon on palms raised flush with the head.
On the other pair of hands, the left holds the folds of clothing on the knee, and the right, raised at chest level, holds the wand. Nana is depicted on a throne, at the base of which two lions are sitting. On both sides of the goddess are monstrous bearers holding various objects in their hands.
As scientists assume, the room in which this find was made is a small throne room of the ruler of Sogd. These objects of fine art have a fairly good degree of preservation, which, paradoxically, was facilitated by the fire.
The collapsed roof ceilings and parts of the walls, as it were, preserved fragments of wood, which had lain in this state for centuries.
Geographic coordinates of the Kafyr-kala settlement: N39 ° 34'19.11 "E67 ° 01'17.12"

Arthur Samari.
Marina Reutova, Head of the Department of the Institute of Archaeological Research of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan.