Toprak Qala and Ayaz Qala Fortresses

There are loads and loads of archeological remains out in the Kyzylkum Desert in Khwarezm. The area is called Elliq Qala which means fifty fortresses.

The uncle of the girl who lived at the house we were staying in offered to take us out to visit some ruined fortresses in the desert for a reasonable price. He knew a different way to get across the river. He diverted off the road and down some very dusty farm tracks to a point on the riverbank where a small que of vehicles was waiting for a ferry barge to take them across.

A car full of melons. No room for the kids!

Cars and a big lorry boarding the barge.

The back of the barge.

Its got character.

The Amu Darya River.

The barge coming back with a load from the other side, including the number 42 bus and a lorry full of doves.

When we got over the other side we drove through green irrigated land with cotton fields for a bit and then we reached the edge of the desert. Its an abrupt change. You can see here where the desert and the farmland meet sharply. Strange to think there's hundreds of miles of desert that just ends so suddenly. I guess its just because the land surface meets the water table near the river. But I'm not sure if its naturally like this or if it's because of irrigation.

The edge of the desert.

Toprak Qala. A fortress made of mud. Apparently this was a temple complex of the rulers of Khorezm in the 3rd and 4th centuries. It was probably a Zoroastrian temple.

Ayaz Qala. This one was built in the 6th century.

Looking down at Ayaz Qala from the fortress at the top of the hill.
A salt lake in the desert.

Then back to Khiva. Back across the river.

Waiting for the barge to come and get us.

1 comment:

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