|ROUTE: Nukus -> Chilpik Kala -> Gyaur Kala -> Jampik Kala -> Kizil Kala -> Toprak Kala -> Ayaz Kala -> Khiva|
|DAYTRIP DETAILS: Daytrip Duration is 8-10 hours; Driving time is 5-6 hours; Driving Distance is 360 km.|
|INCLUDED: Brand new cars, fuel and a good driver with basic English & Russian|
|EXCLUDED: Entrance tickets of the sites, meals and etc.|
We pick you up from your place in Nukus with our driver and start the Daytrip. You can start the Daytrip at any time of the day. It is recommended to start the trip in the morning after breakfast. It takes about 40 minutes to drive from Nukus to the first Castle – Chilpik Kala. It is a Dakhma or Tower of Silence which was used by people of the Zoroastrian faith for exposure of the dead. The bodies were laid out under the open sky for the birds to eat. When the bones were cleared, families collected them and placed them in clay or stone ossuaries for burial. The building was originally constructed in the first centuries CE but saw a phase of rebuilding in the 7th - 8th centuries and again in the 9th - 10th centuries.
Next fortress is Gyaur Kala - was founded in the Early Antique period and continued in use until the 4th Century CE. Today all that can be seen of the fortress is the north wall and a short section of the western one. The fortress originally had a trapezoidal plan, with typical Khorezmian double walls and double stores archer's galleries, towers, and arrow slits. Only base of the eastern wall remains, while the southern side has disappeared completely, washed away by the river. The northern wall is about 200 meters long while the east and west walls were once over 400 meters long. Gyaur Kala remained in use into the Kushan period, around the 3rd century CE.
Jampik Kala. The earliest foundations are ancient (4th BCE - 1st CE) but the walls visible today date to the medieval period, in the 9th to 10th centuries CE. There are domestic and industrial areas within the fortress which date to the 12th to 14th centuries CE. On the Northwest side of the fortress is a palace building or citadel with walls that preserve the elegant fluted facade moldings indicative of medieval architecture in Khorezm (V.N.Yagodin & A.V.G.Betts (2006) Ancient Khorezm, UNESCO).
Kizil Kala was originally constructed in the Late Antique period, 1st to 4th centuries CE, but was abandoned and then rebuilt in the 12th-13th centuries on the eve of the Mongol invasions. There is some debate about how this fortress may have been used in ancient times, with some scholars proposing that it was a garrison barracks for troops, whilst others suggest it was an early example of the many fortified manor houses that were typical of Khorezm in the early medieval periods.
Toprak Kala. It is dated in the Kushan period, around the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE and was the royal residence of the kings of the Khorezm. The place at the North West corner of the settlement is one of the largest and best preserved monumental buildings of the Kushan era in Central Asia. The place, having first served as a Royal sanctuary, was briefly abandoned in the early 4th century and then after some restorations, was used as an administrative citadel for the city.
There is a lake – Akchakul Lake between Toprak and Ayaz Kala. There are also Yurt camps and restaurants next to the lake where visitors can enjoy local meals. Sometimes visitors enjoy swimming and sand bath in Akchakul Lake.
Last fortress for the day is Ayaz Kala which is the one of the most spectacular fortresses in the area. There are in fact, not one but three fortresses clustered together on and around a prominent hill at the Eastern end of the Sultan-Uiz-dahg range. The fortress provided defense against nomad raids. A gravel road leads up to a small cluster of Yurts, a tourist rest center overlooking a shallow but picturesque lake. The Fort dates to medieval times. It was probable founded in the Afrighid period, some-time around the 7th to 8th Centuries CE… (V.N.Yagodin & A.V.G.Betts (2006) Ancient Khorezm, UNESCO).
After visiting all four fortresses, it is about 90 minutes to drive to Khiva. Our driver may drop you off in your hotel, Airport or Train Station both in Khiva or Urgench at the end of the trip and will finish the tour.
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