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Information about Uzbekistan:
Short review of Tashkent
Sights of Tashkent
Short review of Samarkand
Sights of Samarkand
Short review of Bukhara
Historical Background of Bukhara
Sights of Bukhara
Short review of Khiva
Sights of Khiva
Ferghana Valley
Short review
Historical Background
Outstanding people of Ferghana
Short review of Kokand
Short review of Margilan
Short review of Kuva
Short review of Kokand
Outstanding people of Kokand
Short review of Namangan
Architecture and monuments Namangan
Outstanding people of Namangan
Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Short review of Chust
Architecture and monuments of Andijan
Short review of Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Short review of Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Short review of Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Short review of Ancient settlement of Akhsikent
Ancient Khorezm
Fortress Toprak-Kala (2-3 cc.), (4-6 cc.)
Fortress Ayaz-Kala (4-2 cc. BC)
Koy-Kyrylgan Kala, fortress and temple
Fortress of Kyrk-Kyz Kala (1-2 cc., 12-13 cc. A.D.)
Ancient civilization of thousand fortresses
Lost Khorezm
Site of ancient settlement Mizdahkan
Nuratau-Kyzylkum Biosphere Reserve
Natural environment
Ecological and ethnographic tourism
People and social environment
Rules of Ecotourism
Wedding traditions in Bukhara
Wedding traditions in Samarkand

Fortress on the wind - Toprak-Kala.

Khorezm: ancient settlement, fortress Toprak-Kala (2-3 c.) and (4-6 c.).

Toprak-kala (literally: “Dusty fortress”) located in the lower reaches of the Amu Darya in the plain, closed from the north by mountains Sultanuizdag. This is a complex archaeological site, which includes a well-fortified city of the sacred palace (the high Palace), an array of palatial north of town (Lower Palace) and the stadium - a large vacant space, limited bulk shaft northwest of the town.

In the 2-3 centuries Toprak-kala is a religious and administrative center of the established at the same time near two large palaces. Researchers believe it was a dynastic center of one of the royal residences of Khorezm.
The city has a strict layout and surrounded with strong walls on a high base, which prevents them from breaking battering machines. The only entry, secure complex near gate facilities, located in the middle of the southern wall.

The city was encircled by a moat filled with water. From the gate to the north was the main street. Perpendicular to the street divided the building into several residential neighborhoods where the population served and guarded palaces.

The central street leads to the citadel which was isolated from residential areas by walls, on its territory were located the fire temple, the palace, barracks and storage. In the quarter adjacent to the citadel, in the squares were citywide churches. In the north-eastern part of the city was a swimming pool, filled with water out of the pit.

The high Palace.

Amazing building - the sacred palace, built on a high powerful platform in a regular truncated pyramid. It is isolated from the town and the citadel; it is a narrow and steep stairs, arranged in the tower adjacent to the platform from the east.

The palace and the large platform built from mud brick, stepped plates and column bases carved from stone. On the top areas overlap flat roofs on wooden columns and arches from a specially molded bricks. On the rooftops were arranged skylights. Water drained from a ceramic pipe, inside of the wall.   

The palace has been concentrated sanctuaries associated with royal rituals, various aspects of the cult of the king. Many years of archaeological excavations have allowed researchers to reconstruct and identify the purpose of some sanctuaries.

In its half a hundred rooms in several blocks, isolated from each other and differ in their functions, but only a few rooms were residential. Almost all the rooms of the palace were richly decorated with painting and sculpture. The paintings are diverse in subject and technique.

They were carried out on a thick layer of white plaster mineral pigments, pulverized with vegetable glue and the basic contour is black color. The palette ranges in colors and shades were: black and white, blue and light blue, pink, bright red and burgundy, lemon yellow and orange, light and dark green, brown and purple.

Clay sculpture, less often used ganch - gypsum, was painted on white plaster in various colors with the transfer of patterns of fabrics, embroidery and jewelry.

The main block of shrines grouped around the throne room, destined for throne and religious ceremonies. Here took place rites and mysteries, which could see people only committed to this palace.
In the sanctuary of the supreme goddess Anahita, Khorezmians main ceremony was a celebration of the sacred marriage. It connects to the throne room of "the dancing masks."

Its layout is reminiscent of the cella of the Iranian temples of fire with an altar in the center and four columns side by side, supporting flat slab. The three deep arched niches in the middle of the wall, as the researchers believe, is a sculpture of Anahita, followed by a predatory beast Amertat - the patron saint of plants and Ahurvatata - genius waters.

Around it - bas-relieves of dancing figures in colored clothing. The decoration of the "Hall of deer" reflects the cosmological ideas of Khorezmians expressed by the zoomorphic and vegetative characters. Its walls were decorated with bas-relieves: griffins - the top tier (Sky), Reindeer - middle (ground) and newts - the bottom (the underworld). Zoomorphic subjects alternated with bas-relieves of the vine and pomegranate.
Sacrifices and prayers at the altar niche of the shaft may have had to contribute to the maintenance of order in the universe.

Halls of "warriors" and "victories" have the same arrangement. In these halls on the podium was a fire ignites for a certain deity, whose image was set in an arched alcove in front of the altar.
In the hall of "warriors" committed rituals associated with war and military functions of the king. Its walls were covered with bas-relieves schematized images of huge ram's horns, symbolizing the Zoroastrian god of war and victory Verethragna beneath - the figures of kings, standing on the tops of the mountains, between the horns - small pieces of black soldiers - trumpeters.

Ceremonies were performed in the hall of the "victories" were associated with the maintenance of the glory and prosperity of the royal house, proof of its legitimacy. Here, in bas-relief compositions were depicted kings and queens goddesses beside them.

A special place among the shrines hall is the hall of "kings." Along the perimeter of the walls arranged elevation - Suffa with partitions forming a series of compartments - lodges. In the central lodge sat a mother-mistress. In the lodges on the perimeter walls were repeated the same sculpture where in the center housed the huge statue of a sitting men with pursed oriental feet, around which stood a full-size male and female figures. Apparently, these are images of Khorezm kings, their families and the deities - patrons. On the altar at the entrance to the hall sacrifices deified ancestors, and the sacred fire burned.

Isolated western block buildings still awaiting its final decryption. It is assumed here that do the ritual associated with the funeral cult of Khorezm. The main room of the unit - room with circles - decorated round perspective niches. The remaining area is occupied by the same type of two-chamber section.
In the first room of each section of the wall of the altar, in front of him - arched niche painted. Plots numerous paintings found on the walls here and blockages, associated with the cult of death and resurrection.

This is a large sarcophagus with a woman standing in front of it; half-naked woman with her hair (the mourners), where one of them cuts off a lock of her hair with a knife; woman in beating cymbals; musician playing on a large corner harp; spinner, so-called "Red Lady" - Khorezmian Moira; Salt symbols sun and the moon, and so on.

In the south-eastern part of the palace in two floors located office premises, the arsenal and the archive. Documents on the skin and contain the tree registries revenue flour, wine, bulls, sheep, and other things, addressed the gods; property records, kept in the royal treasury; Lists of urban households with a list of names of men - free and domestic slaves; economic documents about the postage of wheels and wood and so on.

Later, in 4-6 centuries, when the bottom of the city continued to hum with life, the sacred palace is not used for its intended purpose, and gradually destroyed.

North of the city are located the ruins of the residential palace. The complex consists of twelve buildings on the platforms. Here, in addition to large ceremonial halls, shrines and temples, found residential and business premises and storage.

Lower Palace has been linked with a huge rectangular fence. It is assumed that inside the fence before going to gather the troops and here prepare lists of soldiers, found in the archives of the High palace. In addition, the enclosed space was used for cult purposes. It gathered members of the family, or the whole tribe on the feasting and agonic games prior to burial.

Architecture Toprak Kala is associated with structures of Mesopotamia. Researchers believe that the Khorezm civilization was formed by the impact of certain culture of ancient Mesopotamia.

Prepared by the historian-archaeologist Elizaveta Nekrasova for Tashrif Tours.