Khiva Fortresses Tour – 1 day
Already 2000 years ago, people who lived in the fertile Amu-Darya delta built many fortresses to defend themselves against the invasions of nomadic tribes, who lived with their herds in the Kyzyl-Kum desert. Most of the fortresses are located at the edge of the Sultan Uiz Dag mountain range. With this day trip to the deserts around Khiva you will have a chance to explore the ancient desert capitals of Khorezm and learn about the fascinating legends related to them. The program includes visits to the fortress such as Toprak Qala, Ayaz Qala, Jonbos Qala and Qoyqirilgan Qala.
- Toprak Qala
- Ayaz Qala
- Jonbos Qala
- Mysterious Qoyqirilgan Qala and legends related to it
Best time: All year around
Day 1 – Khiva – Ellikqala –Khiva
9:00 Drive to Ellikqala district (100 km) to visit archaeological sites Toprak Qala, Ayaz Qala, Jonbos Qala and Qoyqirilgan Qala. Learn about fascination legends about these ancient fortresses of ancient Khorezm. Return to Khiva in late afternoon.
END OF THE PROGRAM
Price & Service
|Number of People||1||2||3|
|Price per person||USD 140||USD 80||upon request|
What is Included
- Transport throughout the tour
- Guide service
- Entrance tickets as per itinerary
- Lunch in the Yurt camp / lunch pack (depending on the season)
Map of Ancient Fortresses
Day - 1 - Khiva – Ellikqala region - Khiva
In the morning meet with your guide and driver in the hotel and start full day excursion to the ancient desert fortresses of Khorezm. From Khiva you will travel 100km passing the towns of Urgench, Beruni and Boston to reach Toprak Qala, one of the most impressive desert fortresses in the area. The rectangular fortress dates back to the 2nd and 3rd century AD and was built on a 9m high platform. The city included a temple, a residential area and gardens. The items and coins that were found during the excavations in Toprak Qala testify the fortress was used until 6 century although it was abandoned for some time in the 4th century. On the way to Toprak Qala you will pass small but well preserved fortresses Qizil Qala that might have been an army base. From Toprak Qala head towards Ayaz Qala, the most spectacular fortresses of the region. Ayaz Qala consists of three fortress complexes and it is believed to be built during the reign of Kushan Empire between in 1-2 centuries AD. The view from the top of Ayaz Qala to the Kyzyl-Kum desert, the small lake Ayaz and the Sultan-Uiz range is stunning. Lunch in nearby Ayaz Qala yurt camp famous for its traditional dishes.
On the way back to Khiva, visit Jonbos Qala and Qoyqirilgan Qala and learn about the fascinating legend related to these fortresses. Jonbos Qala was most probably built as early as the 4th century BC. The double walls of the fortress are 20m high and enclose a rectangular area of 200mx170m. From the top of the two storied galleries, archers could defend the fortress. Through the loopholes in the fortification walls they could fire their arrows onto the invaders. The unique building style can be traced back to the architecture of the Assyrians and Achaemenids and was not used anywhere else in ancient Khorezm. Inside the fortress residential buildings were erected on both sides of the wide central road. About 1000 people could be housed in 150-200 rooms. At the end of the main street the city’s main fire temple was excavated.
In the outskirts of Jonbos Qala, a necropolis (burial site) was found. Burial gifts (terracotta statuettes, ceramics, jewellery) discovered here date back to the 1st century AD. Some scientists believe that the town must have been captured by nomadic tribes in the 1st century AD. Another theory suggests that the dwellers abandoned the city when the Amudarya changed its flow in the 2nd century BC, flooding parts of the site. The view from Jonbos Qala onto the farmland and the plains below is gorgeous. Having visited Jonbos Qala, continue another desert fortress called Qoyqirilgan Qala. Excavations in Qoyqirilgan Qala shows that it might have been originally built in the 4th century BC shortly after Khorezm gained its independence from Persia. According to the findings, the place had been destroyed by fire and had later been ransacked. The purpose of this Early Antique Period building still remains mystery for the scientists.
Return to Khiva in the late afternoon.