Termez - one of the ancient cities of Uzbekistan and throughout Central Asia, located on the right bank of the Amu Darya river border Afghanistan. According to legend, the founder of Termez is the first king of Bactria - Zoroaster. The first written reference to the VI century. BC. In 2002 it marked the 2500th anniversary of the city.
The town was founded on the site of a convenient crossing of the Amu Darya River, on its right bank. It was here on the Central Asian land invaded by the armies of Alexander the Great in 329 BC. e. As part of the Kushan Empire (I to III century BC. E.) Termez became an important center for the spread of Buddhism. In 705, the Arabs captured the city and gave the region a new religion - Islam. In the IX-XII centuries Termez - big city, shopping, crafts, scientific and cultural center. At this time the length of the fortifications of the city was 10 kilometers, there were 9 gates. In the IX-XII centuries Termez was part of the Ghaznavid State, Seljuk and Karakhanids. In 1206, the city became part of the Khorezm State. In 1220, after a two-day siege of the city was destroyed by the troops of Genghis Khan. In the second half of the XIII century Termez was rebuilt in a new location to the east of the old town, was a member of the Timurid state, then Sheibanids.

Termez - the administrative center of Surkhandarya region. Termez is located on the right bank of the Amu Darya River, where it meets the Surkhandarya. Viloyat territory stretched from north to south at 180-200 km, from west to east 70-140 km and has an area - 20.1 thousand km Population - 1705 thousand people.. A significant part takes Surkhan - Sherabad valley bounded on three sides by mountain ranges:

Kugitangtau Baysuntau and the west, Gissar Range in the north, the east Babatag. It is the sunniest region of the republic of Uzbekistan. Winter is very warm, summer is long and hot. The main natural areas: river valleys, foothills, and mountains adyrs. The main rivers and Surkhandarya Sherabad. In ancient times this territory was part of the Bactrian state. One of the earliest sites of man belongs to the Middle Paleolithic era (1-40 thousand. BC). This is the famous grotto Teshiktash. The most famous ancient monuments are - Khalchayan, Dalverzintepa, Airtam, Kyzyltepa, Bandykhan, Kampyrtepa. Termez was founded in the middle of the 1st millennium BC Ancient settlement emerged on the natural hill on the banks of the Amu Darya and was well fortified.

In the III-II centuries. BC. Termez became the economic center of Northern Bactria. In I a. BC. - IV BC Termez became the largest city of the Kushan Kingdom with well fortified citadel. In this period of history Termez - one of the centers of Buddhism, has retained its importance until the Arab conquest. In 689 Termez was first captured by the Arabs, and 15 years later, he finally became a member of the Arab Caliphate. In IX-X centuries. he came into possession of Tahirid then Samanids.

Then it belonged to the Ghaznavid, Seljuk and Karakhanids. The heyday of the medieval town of accounts at this time IX - early XIII centuries. Of great importance was the crossing - there was a major port. In 1220 the walls of the city approached the troops of Genghis Khan. On the eleventh day of the siege of the citadel was taken by storm. Termez was destroyed and residents killed.

At the beginning of the XIV century, the city under the old name, but reborn in a new location as part Chagataidov state. In 1333 on his way to India, staying in Old Termez Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta. Here he found a shelter and a table in Zawiya, khanaka one of Seyyids-Sheikh Azizan. In the second half of XIV - early XV centuries Termez - one of the great cities of the empire of Timur. Here in 1404 stopped a representative of the Spanish King Henry III to the court of Tamerlane - Ganzales Ruy de Clavijo, who gave a colorful description of the city in his diary.

At the beginning of the XVI century Termez Sheibanids part of the state. ETO he becomes the object of a long internecine struggle. In the XVII century, when the city Dzhanidah area is reduced. Subsequently, the city comes to desolation. In 1758 it was restored by Muhammad Rahim Khan mango dynasty, but soon the city was again destroyed. In the second half of the XIX century in this area it has only two villages: Patta Kissar on the banks of the Amu Darya and Salavat far from Surkhandarya. In the 90-ies of the XIX century near the Patta Kissara military tsarist army built a strengthening of "Termez Tract". On the basis of a modern and up to Termez.


Buddhist stupa Zurmala

To the south-east of the ancient settlement of Old Termez, on the side of the road leading to modern Termez, there are the remains of a structure known as the Zurmala Tower. The ruins of the tower have long attracted the attention of archaeologists. Back in 1926, they suggested that it was nothing but a Buddhist stupa. A detailed survey, conducted half a century later, confirmed that this is a cult structure that belongs to the era of the heyday of the Kushan kingdom. The tower was badly damaged by the time, however, it makes an impressive impression. It is laid out of raw square brick. All bricks have a characteristic brand in the form of a feature and two pits. Such bricks were used in Bactria only in the Kushan time, that is, at the beginning of the III century. n. e. Scientists estimated that it took almost 1,200,000 such bricks to erect a stupa. A solid block of raw brick has in the upper part a small chamber for relics - a reliquary.

The cylindrical body of a stupa 14.5 meters in diameter rises 13 meters above the base. Stupa is one of the most important and ancient Buddhist symbols. The oldest stupas, and the stupa Zurmala, also belong to them, represented a hemisphere composed of bricks and stones. By the way, the very word "stupa" in Sanskrit literally means "a lot of land or stones". Another important purpose of the stupa is repository of Buddhist relics. In the first centuries after the death of the Buddha, a box of cubic form, the so-called "house of God," was laid with a strand of hair from the head of the Buddha, a cloth flap from his clothes, a particle of his incorrupt relics. Later, as precious relics were stored precious metals and stones, grains - symbols of God and divine power. The reliquary was placed on the top of the stupa.  As you know, Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of the teachings, received the name Buddha "Enlightened", was the son of a prince of northeastern India. And since the Buddha was perceived by believers not only as a spiritual mentor, but also as the king of the gods and the universe, then several umbrellas were placed on the stupa in honor of the supreme authority of the Teacher.

The rod and umbrellas on the stupa, of course, did not survive, but the wall drawings from the cave Buddhist temple of Karatepa, located nearby, on the ancient settlement of Old Termez, allow us to judge the design of the Bactrian stupas. As a rule, it is a stepped three-tiered tower with a dome completion, on the top of which a rod with "umbrellas of honor" is erected. Based on an analysis of stupa proportions, archaeologists came to the conclusion that the original appearance of the Zurmaly tower was close to these images.

Buddhist Monastery of Fayaztepa

The Buddhist complex of Fayaztep was first discovered and explored by the archaeologist L. Albaum. The modern name of the monument was formed from the name of the director of the Surkhandarya Regional Museum of Local History R.F. Fayazov, who provided great assistance to archaeologists in 1968, when excavations began here. This monument is located not far from the ancient settlement of Tarmita. The complex covers an area of ​​117x34 m. It is located between the Amu Darya River and the ancient caravan road.

This grandiose structure is clearly divided into three parts: a temple, a monastery and outbuildings with a refectory. Each of them consists of a courtyard and the premises around it. Apart from the main part, a stupa with an ideally round dome is erected on a special pedestal. It refers to the I century BCE and is considered the oldest structure of the complex inside which is hidden symmetrical to it, but smaller in size -only 2.8 meters in diameter. The central part of the complex consists of a courtyard, on the perimeter of which there are rooms, and an adjacent aivan. The walls of the aivan gallery, resting on a number of columns, are decorated from the bottom to the top with colored images. According to the assumption of archaeologists, there was a temple here. The north-western part of the complex is a complex monastic layout. In his small courtyard were located a one-sided closed aivan and cells of monks.

Also, according to irrigation, there was a water pipeline to Fayaztepa - the water was fed to the temple along an aqueduct 2.5 km long. The second half of the 1st century is considered to be the time of the monastery construction. Excellent Buddhist sculptures, found during excavations, depicting the Buddha, Bodhisattva and the characters of the upper Kushan state, enriched the treasury of monuments of the ancient culture of Uzbekistan. It was here that archaeologists discovered a beautiful statue of Buddha with two monks -the famous "Triad", now adorns the exposition of the Museum of History of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.

The final stage of the great archaeological work carried out in the temple and monastery complex of Fayaztepa for forty years was the opening here of a scientific center for its study. In recent years, the joint Uzbek-Japanese expedition under the direction of E. Rtveladze and Kiyudzo Kato has worked and worked fruitfully on the complex. Given its important historical significance for the study of the Buddhist era, the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan, UNESCO, the Trust Foundation from Japan awarded a grant for the restoration and conservation of the facility. And after the restoration work carried out during 2004-2006, the Fayaztep complex became an open-air museum.

Cave monastery of Karatepa

In 1928, the historian and art historian A.S. Strelkov discovered several caves in the slope of the sloping Karatepa Hill (in translation from the Uzbek "Black Hill") near Termez on the Amudarya bank. The caves were filled with sand and debris of raw bricks. These bricks are large, square, from unbaked clay, used here long before the Arab conquest and not later than the 7th-8th centuries of our era. In the autumn of 1961 excavations under the direction of archaeologist B. Ya. Stavisky began on the hill of Karatepa. Before that, he had unearthed the cities buried in the loess hills near Samarkand, and secluded castles in the mountains of the Zeravshan Range, drove hundreds of kilometers in pursuit of the ghost of the Kushan culture, each stretch of this path steadily southward, to the banks of the Amu Darya, to Tarmita.

During the excavations at Karatepa, the entrances to the underground temples, littered with stone blocks and sand, were discovered. When analyzing the debris in the mountains of rubble and bricks, broken bas-reliefs came across, ceramic pottery, sometimes coins. It took three seasons to clear a few caves and a square yard. On its perimeter lay the stone bases of columns, round, on square bases. There was a smooth bright red plaster on the walls of the courtyard, a path on the floor of white limestone tiles and a high white stone threshold, on which, sixteen hundred years ago, someone painted with a black outline two unopened lotuses. A small hall opened behind the threshold. In the courtyard, archaeologists found fragments of statues, large, in human growth.

Long vaulted corridors, fragments of bowls, jugs, many lamps, oil-filled pots with a mashed spout for the wick all suggested the monastic life, the meager meal at the common table, the night prayers in the lamp-like semidarkness. On the lamps there was 1,500-year-old soot. As a result of the excavations of Stavisky, it was established that there were more than one temple or monastery on Karatepa, and the whole Buddhist complex was a system of temples. In addition, the finds on Karatepa declared their primordial Bactrian origin with such certainty, as if each were branded: "Made in Bactria." Sculpture and colorful ornaments, the very architecture of Temmi temples all roots in the ancient local tradition. Bactrian art school as a whole, together with the renowned Gandhar school in India, participated in the creation of the art of early Buddhism, which left an indelible mark on the history of world culture.

 This art has long dispensed with the image of the Buddha. His presence denoted symbols. For example, the wheel his first sermon, the beginning of the doctrine. The woman on the lotus and the elephant above her the birth of Buddha. The unsaddled horse symbolized the Great Departure, when the prince Gautama left his palace, his wife, his son and went to wander the Indian roads in search of truth. A particularly noteworthy finding made on Karatepa is a fragment of the wall painting "Buddha and monks". The painting fell from the wall once, and clay, rubble, sand fell from above, but it did not scatter into a thousand pieces, but only cracked, lying under the weight of the dam, seventeen or eighteen centuries. On the mural, the image of the Buddha is an expression of abstract thoughtfulness, in the youthful ace, traditional distracted smile. But this is not a psychological portrait. This is not a face at all, but only a mask of higher understanding, to which, according to Buddhism, one should strive. The mask is just as conditional as the signs of the greatness of the Buddha a protrusion on the crown of the head, a third eye between the eyebrows, elongated lobes of the ears, and as symbolic as the blue background, a white halo around his head, a white halo covering the entire figure. Thus the canonical image of the Buddha was created, and so gradually the memory of the wandering philosopher, brave wise man, who said: "Poor, rich and noble everyone is equal".

Buddhist art is a vast artistic world, vast in number of works, multisyllabic in composition and origin. All the more striking is the idea that art developed in the Kushan culture was part of it. The fate of Buddhism is intertwined with the fate of the Kushan state.


Khakim at-Termizi Complex  

The architectural complex of Hakim at-Termizi was built in honor of the famous spiritual figure and Sufi Hakim at-Termizi, who was the founder of the Sufi order "Hakimi". The complex was erected on the site of a Buddhist temple in the IX century. From the first building only the courtyard, fenced with raw walls, has been preserved. After the death of the Sufi, his burial is kept outside the khanaka, where a mausoleum with kari-hana was later built.

Judging by the legend, the son of at-Hakim - Abdallah rests in this mausoleum. During the reign of Khalil-Sultan in the beginning of the XV century, a large khanaka was built for rituals. Khanaka was erected in the best traditions of the dynasty of the Temurids and compared to the modest dwellings, favorably stood out against the general background. It is worth to cancel the tomb of Hakim at-Termizi, made of white marble and decorated with ornamental patterns. The side of the gravestone faces the mosque and is considered a mikhrab. In the center of the gravestone is a niche, along which the lamps are located.

To date, the writings of Hakim at-Termezi are of great interest not only to fans of Sufism, but also as works of philosophy in the field of Islamic studies. Hakim al- Termizi wrote many significant treatises after performing the hajj in Mecca. He wrote more than 30 books, where he re-wrote the meanings of many of the Koranic dogmas, among them the most famous is the "Great Assembly." In this book, he expounded 408 hadiths about the personal life of the Prophet Muhammad.

Being already in his old age Hakim at-Termizi returned to Termez, where he settled near the ruins of a Buddhist temple. It was at this place that the Hakim at-Termizi complex was built in the 9th century. The modest way of life of the Sufi and his philosophical works still cause genuine interest among Sufi fans. The architectural complex of Hakim at-Termizi is one of the popular places for pilgrimage. In 1990 Termez celebrated the 1000th anniversary of Hakim at-Termizi on the initiative of UNESCO.

Sultan-Saodat Memorial Complex

The Sultan-Saodat Memorial Complex consists of 143 buildings built from the 11th to the 18th centuries. The earliest building is the burial vault, where the founder of the Termez clan of the Sayids, Khasan ali Amir, is buried. Then a mausoleum was built with a mosque. Initially, it was planned to arrange a single necropolis for the emirs, but each subsequent ruling emir built up the tombs to his taste, which eventually formed the whole complex for burial. All the mausoleums are built with a view to the west and do not have any inscriptions, so whoever is buried in the graves is still unknown. But if you believe the legend, in one of the mausoleums rest Emir Hussein, who was an ally of Amir Temur. Inside the mausoleum there are four graves: the emir, his wife and two sons.

This complex was opened to tourists only after independence of Uzbekistan and therefore causes genuine interest among tourists, being one of the best examples of eastern architecture that has survived to this day.


Near the turn of our era in a large Bactrian city, stretching near the coast of Surkhandarya in the tract of Khalchayan, a small palace was erected. On the main facade of it there was a deep six-column portal-aivan, behind it - an oblong reception room, then a two-column, apparently, throne room, and to the right and to the left - auxiliary rooms. Ivan and the hall decorated plastic compositions performed with mastery of extraordinary. Most of the figures to the level of the shoulders were made in full, to the waist - a three-quarter or a half relief, to the feet of the modeling went to the bas-relief.

The statues and their background were painted. The painting of the palace in Khalchayan supplements sculptural compositions in aivan and the main hall of the palace. On the panel and in the aisles there was a picturesque pattern of white paint on a red background with spontaneously spread vines, bunches and shoots in combination with leaves, stems and round fruits. The entire structure of these lungs, as if sewn on the fabric patterns, is close to the paintings of the Hellenistic circle and the motives of the Parthian art. Complex figures of the composition of the palace depicted different ethnic types in the appropriate hairstyles that corresponded to the Hellenistic and Asian fashion. The manner of writing is very picturesque. The master uses the game and the modeling of the plastic form without chiaroscuro.

This painting is expressive, expressive and laconic. The sculpture, painting and decor of the palace in Khalchayan were one whole. Clay sculptures show the hand of the painter. Wipe mentally the dark pupils on the stern faces of the rulers of Gerai's family, a dense blush on the swarthy and weather-beaten faces, manganese blue of the induced eyebrows and heavy eyelashes drawn from the outer corner of the eyes to the temple, and the beautiful sculpture of the Bactrian masters will lose some of their expressiveness. Consequently, the ancient painting of Central Asia - is not only a wall painting, it's a painting on sculpture. It is painting, not coloring. In it, the artist goes beyond the plane of the walls and invades spatial and plastic arts.


 Kampyr-tepe Fortress

The unique ancient monument of ancient Bactria, the fortress Kampyrtepa is located on the bank of the Amu Darya 30 km north-west of Termez, in the south of the Surkhandarya region of the Republic of Uzbekistan. 

Kampyrtepa originated in the days of Alexander the Great's campaigns or a little later. It was erected on the edge of the right high the bank of the river, cut by a grid of ravines with gentle estuaries and natural circuses, extremely convenient for the device of crossing, with the creation and functioning of which the history of the fortress is connected: it was located on the main road connecting the capitals of two neighboring states - Bactria and Sogd.

For almost 40 years, since the reopening of the monument of the academician of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan E. V. Rtveladze, the territory of the fortress of the Kushan period has been studied more than 70%. After the reconstruction, Kampyrtepa became an open-air museum and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The works of recent years conducted by the Institute of Archeology made it possible to establish that initially life in the settlement was concentrated on the terraced slopes of the ravine, where powerful cultural layers of the Hellenistic period were revealed up to 10 m. The construction techniques and techniques used here, as well as the ceramic complex and finds found during excavations - coins, household and cultural objects, farm implements, military equipment, fragments of Greek letters, etc., indicate, if not about the immediate presence of Greek settlers on Kampyrtypa, then the deep penetration of Greek innovations into the most diverse spheres of life of the Bactrians in the Hellenistic period.

The expedition of the Institute investigated about fifteen rooms of the Kushan period and two large residential complexes of the early Hellenistic time. The latter demonstrate unique examples of architecture and construction technology, which are characterized by the use of natural terrain, in particular terraces, the erection of buildings from raw brick in combination with the cutting of premises in the thickness of the continental rock, the construction of artificial platforms and drainage systems. A rich complex of ceramics and individual finds was obtained, indicating close trade ties, including with the Greek cities of southern Bactria, in particular Ai-Khanum and the cities of India.

In the Seleucid and Greco-Bactrian periods around the settlement, servicing the crossing, apparently, there were no fortifications. Only later, when Greco-Bactria fell under the blows of nomadic tribes, the core of the citadel is allocated to Kampyrtepa, which will be filled with a powerful fortress wall. In the I c. n. During the formation and flourishing of the Kushan state, a fortress with a powerful fortification, built according to a single plan, the area of ​​which expands to 3.5 hectares, appears here. The richest material, including a numismatic one, was found on the monument of thousands of coins - obtained from the blocks of a one-time residential building from Soter Megas to Kanishka I (middle I - first half of the 2nd century AD), became a reference for the early period of the Kushan Empire .

The highest prosperity of the city reached during the reign of Kanishka I (first third of the 2nd century AD). In this era, the most favorable conditions for the development of international trade and culture were created. The most numerous are archaeological finds that relate specifically to the Kushan period. Thus, a Buddhist sanctuary was built, built from the outside of the fortress wall of the site, as a tribute to the Greco-Bactrian tradition. At the same time, the architecture of the sanctuary is Zoroastrian and is a cello with a bypass corridor. At its base was found a terracotta figure of the sitting Buddha, which simultaneously embodies the features of the Buddha and Ahura Mazda - the deities of the then dominant religions of Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. Also found are coins of various epochs, ancient Bactrian papyrus. It is interesting that in the reign of Kanishka I on coins, besides the Buddha, deities of even more than 30 different religions were depicted, which is another confirmation of the atmosphere of tolerance that prevailed in that era, and religious tolerance inherent in the philosophy of Buddhism.


Archaeological Museum of Termez

The Termez Archeological Museum was built and opened in 2002 to celebrate the 2500th anniversary of the city of Termez. Today it is the first and only in the Central Asia archaeological museum, many unique exhibits of which are dated researchers more than 100 thousand years BC. Among them there are 624 unique museum relics of world significance. In museum halls they are demonstrated using modern information and communication technologies.

As a result of the ongoing archaeological excavations and research works in the Surkhandarya region, the collection funds of the Museum are constantly replenished with new finds. Today the funds of the Termez Archaeological Museum number more than 76 thousand exhibits, more than 5 thousand of which are exhibited in the demonstration halls. Behind all this is the enormous work of numerous domestic and international archaeological expeditions. The most famous among them are the Tocharistan complex scientific expedition led by Academician E. Rtveladze, Uzbek-Japanese, Uzbek-German, Uzbek-French and Uzbek-Russian expeditions.

In the lobby of the museum are established unique historical statues of stone and gypsum, a stone basin and ceramic vessels (hums) of large size. There is also a relief map of the area, where 20 archeological monuments are marked, referring to different periods of the history of the region. In 9 main halls of the museum are exhibits found in Surkhandarya region, starting from primitive stone tools of primitive man to works of art made by skilled craftsmen. They are arranged in chronological order (from 100 thousand BC to the beginning of the XX century AD).

In 2007, under the Termez Archaeological Museum, a branch was opened - the Scientific Center for the Study of the Archaeological Site of Fayaztepe.

The museum also has a scientific library with a modern reading room, numbering more than 17 thousand volumes of valuable books on archeology and history, as well as a conference hall. In addition, there are specially equipped halls for displaying precious metals and stones. Annually, about 50 thousand people visit the museum's exhibition halls. Excursions are conducted in Uzbek, Russian, Tajik, Persian, English.

The Termez Archeological Museum consists of scientific departments: Department of the Stone Age and Bronze Age. Department of the Hellenistic era and Ancient Bactria. Division of the Kushan culture of Northern Bactria. Department of Early Middle Ages of Northern Tokharistan. Department of the developed Middle Ages. Department of the Khanate period. Department of numismatics.

The scientific staff of the museum conducts active work on the study of archaeological monuments in the territory of Surkhandarya region. Scientific works and articles of leading scientists and historians and archaeologists are studied, scientific articles are published in the press, booklets are issued, translations of valuable manuscripts are made and great attention is paid to the study and preservation of museum exhibits.

For numerous guests of the city, foreign tourists and students in the exposition halls of the Museum, thematic exhibitions are held on the results of archaeological research conducted in the Surkhandarya region. Regularly there are also personal art exhibitions for local authors dedicated to various historical and cultural events in the life of the country.

In addition, the Termez Archeological Museum actively participates in republican international exhibitions. Thus, in 2008, 32 local exhibits relating to the culture of Buddhism were demonstrated with great success in museums in 8 Japanese cities.




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