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Palaces and fortresses of Khorezm.

Fortress of Khorezm.

“And Kuteiba was destroyed by people who knew the Khorezm script well, knew their traditions and taught (the sciences) that existed among the Khorezmians, and subjected them to every kind of torment, and they became (these traditions) so hidden that you can’t find out exactly, what happened (with the Khorezmians) after the emergence of Islam ... "," ... he destroyed the Khorezm scribes, killed the clergy and burned their books and scrolls ... the Khorezmians were illiterate and relied on what they needed, as a memory “, Wrote the great Khorezmian scholar Biruni. Only a few scientists survived”

Unique tourist attractions of Khorezm.

Located in the lower reaches of the Amudarya, Khorezm held a special position in the ancient history of Central Asia. This country pushed to the north, deep into the steppes, was still in the 4th century BC. e., before the campaigns of Alexander of Macedon, separated from the Achaemenid state. In the winter of 329 - 328 BC Khorezmian king Farasman came to Alexander the Great to negotiate, offering alliance and friendship.
Along with Greco-Bactria and Parthia, Khorezm was one of the most important cultural centers of Central Asia. A rather well developed urban culture developed here. Separated from the Greco-Bactria and Parthia by the desert sands, Khorezm remained outside the reach of their warlike kings.
At the same time, the ties of Khorezm with the nomadic tribes of Kazakhstan and South Siberia were fairly close. The richest material on the history of ancient Khorezm was given by the excavations in Toprak-Kale, a famous archaeological monument located on the right bank of the Amu Darya.
Research Toprak-Kala, begun in the late 1930s, was conducted by Soviet scientists (SP. Tolstov and others) for several decades. In the 2nd half of III - early IV. Toprak-Kala was the residence of the Khorezmian king. The extensive castle, which occupied an area of ​​500 x 350 m, was surrounded by a rampart and fortress walls with towers.
Through the whole of its territory lay a wide (up to 10 m) main highway. A clear network of longitudinal and transverse streets divided the city into regular neighborhoods. In the north-western corner was a huge three-tower royal palace, built on a brick platform of 12 meters in height.
It was a building that did not have its own kind either in Khorezm or in Central Asia in general. According to the original plan of the builders, the palace was square in plan, with sides of 80 m in length. A little later, three square towers, each 40 x 40 m in size, were added to the main building.
The result was an extremely majestic and original composition. The high and dumb outer walls gave the whole palace ensemble a harsh and impregnable stronghold look. In the central building of the toprak-Kalean palace there were a lot of different - residential, ceremonial, utility and utility rooms - some of which occupied two floors.
All these rooms were clearly divided into several independent complexes of a certain purpose, separated from each other by powerful walls. Among the ruins are archaeologists! discovered more than one hundred economic documents made by Aramaic script in the Khorezm language.
Many rooms of the palace were decorated with wall paintings and clay sculpture, but the huge main hall (the Hall of Kings), with its richly painted walls and the statues of Khorezmian rulers, each of them twice the size, stood out especially for its decoration.
Unfortunately, these sculptures are preserved only in the rubble. Among the fragments of torsos, arms, legs, heads, not a single person survived - apparently they were deliberately destroyed by one of the conquerors.
The fact that these statues personified kings, is testified by the findings of two sculptural crowns, known from the images on the coins. Each king, depicted sitting, was surrounded by standing figures of women - queens and princesses, men - princes and close nobles and children.
This "portrait gallery"! However, from these sculptural portraits only two severely damaged heads - women (“the spouses of King Wazamar”) and the youth-prince - survived to us. Despite the damage, the sculptor’s desire to convey the individual features of the faces depicted by him is noticeable in their appearance.
The decoration of the “Hall of Warriors” was no less interesting and rich. This extensive (about 60 sq. M.) Room was also decorated with clay sculpture. However, the layout and design of the “Hall of Warriors” completely repeated the layout and arrangement of the dwellings usual for the toprak-Kalean palace.
This allowed scientists to assume that the “Hall of Warriors” served as a royal bedchamber. A fireplace was set up near one of the walls of the “Hall of Warriors”. In the niches along the walls were large clay statues of kings, and in the intervals between them, on special stands - figures of soldiers with weapons in their hands.
Another ceremonial room of the toprak-Kaleen palace received the name “Hall of Dancing Masks” from archaeologists. The decoration of this room was dedicated to the cult of Dionysus - the ancient Greek god of wine and fun, popular not only in the ancient world. Bas-reliefs depicting the walls of the hall.
The relatively small, but richly decorated “Hall of Deer” got its name because of the clay reliefs that adorned it with figures of grazing fallow deer, transmitted almost life-size. Judging by the surviving remnants of the coloring, the fallow deer were brown in color and the background was blue. Images of fallow deer complemented the trees entwined with vines, branches with the fruits of pomegranates.
Smaller rooms - they were probably residential - were decorated with multi-color wall paintings. One of these rooms was called the “Harpist Hall” - from the image of a young woman with a harp found here. The other room (the Hall of Hearts), probably part of the harem complex, was decorated with images of women on a light background covered with red hearts.
If the Toprak-Kalean palace can be considered with certainty as the royal residence, the purpose of the ancient Khorezm complex in Koy-Krylgan-Calais has not yet been fully determined. This extensive settlement, located on the right bank of the Amu Darya, 22 km north-east of the Karakalpak city of Turtkul, attracted the attention of archaeologists back in 1938.
The first excavations at Koy-Krylgan-Kala were led by the Khorezm Expedition led by S.P. Tolstoy. After World War II, research continued, and in 1951 - 1957. this monument has been completely excavated. The mysterious structure in Koy-Krylgan-Kala was erected in the IVth - IIIrd centuries.
BC er After the first stage of its existence and functioning, a long desolation followed, up to the turn of eras. Then the building again "came to life" and existed until the IV century AD. At the first stage, the Koy-Krylgan-Kala ensemble was a round two-story building with a diameter of 44.4 m.
It was surrounded by a defensive wall with nine towers located at equal distances from each other. In one of the towers was the entrance with a complex system of transitions, leading eventually to the second floor of the central building, where the round open area was located. Its first floor was occupied by two isolated groups of rooms with four rooms in each.
Perhaps the complex in Koy-Krylgan-Kale was associated with funeral rites: the premises of the lower floor were intended for the burial of the remains of the Khorezmian king and his spouse, and the ground floor on the second floor - for the burial inventory intended for burning.
A number of researchers believe that the building in Koy-Krylgan-Kala was not only a tomb, but also a temple dedicated to the cult of the deified king. Astronomical observations were also likely made here. And the well-known remarkable achievements of medieval Central Asian astronomy apparently had, by their distant origin, the observations that were made in such structures as the Khorezm Koy-Krylgan-Kala.

Authority: Andrew Nizovskiy. "100 great archaeological discoveries." M .: Veche, 2002

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.