Necropolis Mizdakhan

Karakalpakstan is famous for a great many of tourist sites, but this necropolis is a leader in the number of annual visits. This ancient cemetery was built in the immediate vicinity of the ruins of the ancient city Gaur-Kala, which if translated means «the fortress of infidels.» The fortress got its name during the active era of the Arab conquests. The invaders chose this name for the fortification which was used by Zoroastrians.


Features of layout of the necropolis


The entire necropolis, located at a distance of about four kilometers from the settlement Khodjeyli, was built on three hills. It is believed that initially here on this site appeared a well fortified castle Gaur Qala, around which there was a settlement in the 4th century BC. The fortress walls were built so solidly that even now they are protecting the ruins of Gaur Kala.


The second hill was used as a small Zoroastrian cemetery where the remains of the inhabitants of the fortress were buried with military honors. This version can be proved by a large number of vessels found at this burial place. Also on this hill there were found the ruins of towers with a flat roof, used for the burial ceremony. During the ceremony, birds of prey would eat the remains of the deceased, the rest of which were put in special vessels.


In the eighth century, Zoroastrianism in this area was completely destroyed. In many ways, the arrival of the Arabs to this territory contributed to this. Since that time, the local necropolis has become a burial place on the basis of the classical Islamic tradition. There is a legend that says that it was here that Adam found his final resting place. This fact allowed the necropolis to become one of the revered places for thelocal residents.


The shrine, which was built over the supposed tomb of Adam, is also sacred. It is called really philosophically – «the Apocalypse Watch». Numerous legends say that every year the tomb loses one brick. On the day when the last brick of this building falls, the world that we are used to seeing ceases to exist. That is why many believers are constantly trying to return fallen bricks in place to slow down the «hours of the Apocalypse.»