Uzbekistan has long been heard by everyone. It is famous first of all for ancient cities: Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva. But not everyone heard, and even more saw the unique ancient fortresses of Khorezm.
We suggest you to learn about the little-known sights of Uzbekistan, and then make Uzbekistan travel tour. In this tempting issue the Uzbek tourist company Peopletravel will be happy to help you.
Trip across Uzbekistan will be unfinished, if not to visit the "extreme west" of the country. It is interesting to walk with your feet on the bottom of the deceased Aral Sea.
The Aral Sea is relatively young. According to one of the hypotheses, it was formed about 10 thousand years ago, when the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya changed their channels and began to fill the Turan lowland. During its existence, the Aral swallowed twice, but both times again filled to a mark 55 m. above the level of the World Ocean. Annually about 56 cubic kilometers of water flowed into the Aral Sea. But from the end of the 1960s the runoff began to decline - the cotton fields, the areas of which grew rapidly, required intensive irrigation. For thirty years it fell almost ten times. By the 90th the sea level dropped by 14 m., and it itself was divided into two parts: small and large. The first feeds the Syr Darya, the second - the Amu Darya. Now half of the territory of the former Aral belongs to the desert of the Aralkum, adjacent to the deserts of the Kyzylkum and Karakum.
After the Aral, one can visit the neighboring Khorezm region (viloyat), in particular Khiva, and continue studying Karakalpakstan from here. In the 1930s, the archeologist Sergey Tolstov discovered here an entire ancient civilization - the world of ancient Khorezm (VI-II centuries BC). On the territory there are dozens of abandoned cities-fortresses. You will lucky enough to visit four of them.
The first one is already on the way to Khiva.
A little farther, on the right side of the Nukus-Turtkul highway, on a lonely hill Chilpik hillfort stands. In the II-IV centuries it was a religious and cult center of the Zoroastrians. There were found the remains of dakhma - the sanctuary and funeral site, where they left to devour the animals and birds of the bodies of the dead. Much later, in the IX-XI centuries, the local population again used Chilpik, having built a signal tower there.
The other fortresses: Kyzyl-Kala (I-XII century), Toprak-Kala (II-VI centuries) and Ayaz-Kala (IV-II centuries BC) are included to the "standard" tour. The first two are located side by side. Kyzyl-Kala rises right in the middle of the cotton fields and is oriented with corners to the sides of the world. Almost square in terms of a citadel measuring 65 by 67 m. it is completely empty. But there are well preserved very characteristic for Khorezm arrow-shaped loopholes. Next there is a huge Toprak-Kala - 500 by 350 m. It is a rectangular fortification surrounded by fortified walls, which turned into a frayed shaft. In some places it reaches a height of 8-9 m. One of the quarters was occupied by temple buildings, traditionally built here throughout the history of the city's existence. In the III-IV centuries AD here was the residence of Khorezm kings. Cross streets divided the building into 10 blocks. Now these are only walls. Archaeologists thoroughly studied Toprak-Kalu (excavations lasted 52 years) and took out all the items of material culture for museums.
But, perhaps, the biggest impression is produced by Ayaz-Kala. In order to visit it, it is necessary to call in the Kyzylkum. Until now, there are the remains of two fortifications and two citadels, built on the hills at an altitude of 60 and 90 m. one above the other. Historians believe that Ayaz-Kala, most likely, never used for its intended purpose. Moreover, there is an opinion that for some reason the fortress was not completed. Archaeologists have not found any evidence of human habitation here, but they found a lot of pre-prepared but unused building material. From the top of the citadel you can see the salt lake Ayaz-Kul, which is about two kilometers away. And next to the fortresses there are two competing yurt villages for tourists.
Of course, a "standard" tour of the fortresses of Khorezm is very little. But there are other reasons for making a tour of Uzbekistan. Everybody will surely find something for himself: delicious cuisine and fresh fruit, Chimgan mountains and Lake Aidarkul, monuments of history and religion, and not only Islamic. A photographer in Uzbekistan needs to stock up with a camera roll or memory cards; and a souvenir lover with a big bag.