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Visit Karakalpakstan

The Shrine of Shaykh Muhammad Narinjani

The mausoleum and a mosque complex are located in Ellikkala district in the Republic of Karakalpakstan.  The original shrine was built no later by the end of the 14th century. At around the 19th century burial structure was restored in the form of a small domed building of adobe brick.

About Muhammad Narinjani being buried here other written sources have no information. According to the epitaph, he was a Sufi (mystic) and had his students. Archeological and architectural research and restoration of the monument were carried out in 1982-1985 and 2003-2005. 

The Sultan Uvais Funeral and Memorial Complex 


The Funeral and memorial complex is locate in Beruni district of Karakalpakistan. According to local legends one of the companions of the Prophet Uvais Karani is buried here. Facilities of the complex were built at different times (16th – 20th centuries). From the epigraphic monuments only a small part was reserved.
In 2000-2005, in the complex extensive restoration work was carried out. The complex of Sultan Uvais is the most popular place of pilgrimage among the population of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm.

Necropolis Mizdakhan


Karakalpakstan is famous for a great many of tourist sites, but this necropolis is a leader in the number of annual visits. This ancient cemetery was built in the immediate vicinity of the ruins of the ancient city Gaur-Kala, which if translated means "the fortress of infidels." The fortress got its name during the active era of the Arab conquests. The invaders chose this name for the fortification which was used by Zoroastrians.
The entire necropolis, located at a distance of about four kilometers from the settlement Khodjeyli, was built on three hills. It is believed that initially here on this site appeared a well fortified castle Gaur Qala, around which there was a settlement in the 4th century BC. The fortress walls were built so solidly that even now they are protecting the ruins of Gaur Kala.
The second hill was used as a small Zoroastrian cemetery where the remains of the inhabitants of the fortress were buried with military honors. This version can be proved by a large number of vessels found at this burial place. Also on this hill there were found the ruins of towers with a flat roof, used for the burial ceremony. During the ceremony, birds of prey would eat the remains of the deceased, the rest of which were put in special vessels.
In the eighth century, Zoroastrianism in this area was completely destroyed. In many ways, the arrival of the Arabs to this territory contributed to this. Since that time, the local necropolis has become a burial place on the basis of the classical Islamic tradition. There is a legend that says that it was here that Adam found his final resting place. This fact allowed the necropolis to become one of the revered places for thelocal residents.
The shrine, which was built over the supposed tomb of Adam, is also sacred. It is called really philosophically - "the Apocalypse Watch". Numerous legends say that every year the tomb loses one brick. On the day when the last brick of this building falls, the world that we are used to seeing ceases to exist. That is why many believers are constantly trying to return fallen bricks in place to slow down the "hours of the Apocalypse."


Chilpyk - "Tower of Silence" of Zoroastrianism


This monument of ancient architecture can be safely attributed to one of the oldest. A number of historical research revealed that the general age of the round tower, erected on top of a hill, is more than 2.2 thousand years. The total diameter of the fortification, located nearly 43 kilometers from the municipality of Nukus is about sixty-five meters.
Ministers of this religion actively used this tower for the burial of the dead, whose bodies were stored in the tower. After that many birds of prey would start their job by eating the carrion. The remaining part was placed in small vessels, which were then buried in the ground. The ceremony, which for many people today may seem quite wild, was founded on the philosophy of Zoroastrianism. For the representatives of this cult it was forbidden to desecrate the soil by decomposing remains.
Some historical accounts say that before this tower had a large staircase, an area of which wasnearly two dozen meters. The stairs were cut into the hillside. In the tower itself and the adjacent territories there were found many objects of worship and everyday life, which were carefully stored in several museums located in Tashkent and Nukus.
The restructuring process of the tower took place twice. Firstly, the Arabs who came to this land in the seventh century decided to strengthen the overall structure of the tower to protect them from the enemy attack. Secondly, the process of direct heyday of Khorezm caused the need to strengthen the construction of the tower.
Many scientists agree that the tower of Chilpyk played an important role in the defense capabilities of the region. This fact contributed to its preservation until today. Today we can safely say that the tower, which has become even part of the national emblem of the country, is a major tourist magnet of the Republic.
It is better to come to Chilpyk at dawn. Firstly, you can avoid the scorching Eastern sun. Secondly, at pre-dawn time the fortress offers a magnificent view of the whole neighborhood. It is believed that if you tie a colored ribbon, it will contribute to success in the future.


Gaur Kala: the ancient fortress of adherents of the cult of fire


If translated the name of the ancient fortification means "fortress of the infidels." Estimates suggest that this settlement was built around the fourth century B.C. The walls of the fortress, the height of which exceeds ten meters, are surrounded by the preserved till our days a few strongholds. Today it is impossible to say for sure what kind of buildings they were. For example, some historians believe that the ruins could belong to the palace buildings of various types, or to entire churches.

The fortress that still causes many disputes

Some members of the scientific community, engaged in a detailed study of the structure, say that some citadels, which were located here, could be used as an important security element, or even a temple. In part, this assumption is confirmed by the ancient texts found here, recognized as one of the most ancient. Perhaps, Zarathustra himself was involved in the creation of these texts.
Other sources say that the second fortress was a royal palace. This version is supported by the spacious patio, a great many buildings of economic purpose, as well as houses that were luxuriously decorated. It shouldn’t be forgotten that on the site of the second tower archaeological expedition managed to find:
1. Numerous household items;
2. Women’s jewelry;
3. Luxuriously embroidered cloth;
4. Decorative elements of the throne, and so on.
Today, it cannot be completely proved the ownership of the second tower, but there is still one fact that is recognized on both sides of the dispute -this tower could belong only to the representatives of the upper class, who had considerable power and financial possibilities.


A place for the fortress was not chosen by chance

It was decided to build a fortress of Gyaur-Kala at the crossroads of the major trade routes. For example, in the immediate vicinity of the fortress caravans on well-known at that time the Silk Road. This fact determined not only the active development of the settlement, but also its long-term prosperity. It should be understood that most of the other ancient settlements quickly fell into disrepair due to a lack of permanent economic component.
The fortress got the modern name only in the first third of the eighth century, when there was an active Arab conquest. The courage of the people of this ancient city, who managed to repel all the attacks of the Arabs for almost a century, became almost legendary for Arab conquerors. That is why they called the Fortress of Guyar-Kala, which means "fortress of infidels."
The courage of the locals, who were able to repel the attacks of the Arabs, did not help them to resist the onslaught of the Mongolian nomads. In 1220 one of the sons of Genghis Khan ordered to wipe this settlement off the face of the earth. And this order was carried out to the letter. The surviving residents decided to found a new settlement, which is situated near the ruins of the once mighty fortress of Guar-Kala.


Ayaz-Kala: ancient fortress, that won time



Without false modesty, this fortress, built in the desert, can be attributed to the list of the most majestic and important fortification buildings of Ancient Khorezm. Numerous legends suggest that the fortress got its name thanks to the famous warrior Ayaz -Ayaz. It is believed that he not only fought for justice, but also ventured to win the hand and heart of the leader of the Amazons.


The history of the construction of the fortress is full of important events

The process of construction of the fortress began in the second century AD, when these lands were under the power of the Kushan Empire. Upon completion of construction, the fortress became part of the border, stretching from the eastern to the western border of the state. A distinctive feature of all the castles belonging to the complex is their location.
Archaeologists believe that all the fortifications were erected deliberately at a distance line of sight of each other, in order to facilitate the transmission of signals or other important information, such as the imminent approach of enemy troops.
Another important difference of Ayaz-Kala is the presence of a large rural settlement around it, which had no special fortifications. This neighborhood was very unusual for the architectural features of the ancient Khorezm. Each farmhouse in the area of the fortress had a relatively small brick wall that marked the boundary of the site. The average home in this village had about a dozen rooms, which in itself was an important social factor. It is believed that in those times on the agenda was the issue of separation of one family from another.
Among all the structures found by archaeologists are particularly noteworthy three fortifications:
  • Ayaz 3 - this fortress is characterized by having a very large courtyard that was completely protected by huge watchtowers and a labyrinth near the gate. On both sides of the building there were a special home with forty rooms separated by corridors;
  • Ayaz 2 - a fortress, erected in the period of the Kushan Empire, was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt again by the Afrigids in the fifth and sixth centuries AD;
  • Ayaz 1 - is characterized by semi-circular towers. The fortress is situated on a cliff of a massive plateau. Ayaz 1 has multiple galleries of an arched shape and a unique well, which was cut through the rock. In the north-eastern part of the complex you can find the ruins of a fortification - the tower, which served as a reliable protection to the locals.
Today, we can confidently say that only good fortune helped discover the remains of the complex. For many centuries, sand regularly kept the quiet of the fortress. Today, any tourist who wants to literally touch the Ayaz-Kala, where many centuries ago was located the frontier of the Kushans, can do it.

Maslumhan-Sulu Mausoleum


What is a man ready to do for the sake of love? The history of this mausoleum proves that no obstacles exist for the loving heart. Maslumhan-Sulu Mausoleum, the process of construction of which began in the twelfth century, is located in the ancient Khorezm. This sacred place,which is different by its unique architecture and almost tragic legend, attracts hundreds of tourists from all over the region.
The legend tells of a ruler of Khorezm, who wished to have a mausoleum whose greatness would fully reflect the power of the Empire. The construction was commissioned to a young architect, who one day saw a girl near the construction site, whose beauty outshone even the heavenly bodies.
Young architect fell in love with her, but she did not answer in return. Then the architect learned that the girl was the daughter of the ruler, who commanded him to build a mausoleum. Architect confessed to the girl in his feelings, but her heart was not touched. The proud and stubborn girl said that she would respond to him in return only when he jumped off the roof of the mausoleum. Without hesitating a second, the architect fulfilled this wish.
The daughter of the governor, seeing the dead body of her fan, realized how much he loved her. Being in despair and deep sorrow of the offense, she committed a suicide. Based on this legend the name to this mausoleum was given in honor of the deceased ruler's daughter, whose name was Hansulu. The girl was buried in this mausoleum, where these tragic events unfolded.
Initially, the mausoleum, where other graves were also discovered was located exceptionally under the ground. Over time, many of its elements were destroyed, so the builders had to almost completely rebuild some elements on the surface. The interior of the mausoleum has remained virtually untouched:
  • A large central hall;
  • The set of shallow niches;
  • An arch, joining the small hall and the west wall;
  • A large number of art of painting;
  • An 8-sided shaped dome that is coated with azure dye.
















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