Settlement Kampyrtepa

Just thirty kilometers from the city of Termez, you can find the remains of once a famous Kampyrtepa city, located on the steep bank of the Amu Darya River. Preliminary estimates of the experts suggest that nearly 4 hectares of buildings with different functional load reached us in a relatively preserved condition. This ancient settlement was a Citadel, which was surrounded with a massive moat. Inside the municipal territory there were city buildings, protected by a massive wall with towers.


Historical evidence suggests that this place began actively culivated by people only at the end of the fourth century BC. Initially, construction was carried out exclusively in the lower part of the complex on a specially approved type of design. Everything that was built during this time in the “lower city” existed till the period of reign of Kanishka I.


Stages of the study of the architectural complex


For the first time the historical and cultural monuments were discovered in the late 1972s. Since then, for more than three decades, various expeditions were engaged in a detailed study of various aspects of this complex. Today we can say that almost 70% of the complex is well-known to scientists. Based on these descriptions it is possible to highlight the main features of the fortress Kampyrtepa:

1. Residential buildings presented here cover several eras;

2. Various household items that have been found here, allow us to make many conclusions about the historical and cultural characteristics of all that happened here for thousands of years.


The process of a detailed study of the eastern part of the complex intensified in mid-2004. This is explained by the fact that this area for many years had been considered of little interest to historians and archaeologists. Only relatively recently it has been discovered that the eastern part of the abovementioned complex has a number of architectural artifacts. Already in the first few months of work of the research team they managed to find several important cultural layers:

1. Kushan and Yuechzi;

2. Greco-Bactrian;

3. Early Hellenistic.


A distinctive feature of the entire complex is the presence of a distinct functional component in each element:

1. The terraces had special gullies, stretching for two kilometers, thanks to which it was convenient place for crossing the river;

2. The terraces were built on the edge of the steep bank of the river, which enabled the process of the ferry service to be greatly simplified.


Historical evidence suggests that a ferry service operated here until the fourth century BC. Then it slowly moved into the area of lower Kampyrtepa. This port was busy transporting various types of cargo heading from Afrasiab to Bactria, which was located at a distance of nearly seventy kilometers to the border of modern India. At the new place it stayed only until the early Middle Ages, when it was decided to transfer it to Shurobkurgan.


Historical excavations led to important discoveries


Scientists admit that this area significantly expanded the amount of information that had been accumulated before. For example, research teams were able to draw almost a detailed picture of life of people living in this place:

• identified and studied in detail the remains of the destroyed sanctuary used by Buddhists;

• numerous terracotta statues of seated Buddha, found in the ruins of the sanctuary, led to the conclusion about the features of folk art;

• sculptures of the Buddha allowed scientists to conduct detailed analysis of the iconographic features of the region;

• the discovered sanctuary was one of the few Buddhist religious buildings in the area, so the scientists were able to create a rough map of the spread of this belief in the region;

• Points of view, existed until recently, recognized the existence on these lands of only Zoroastrianism and local occult beliefs, however, the discoveries made here allowed scientists to reconsider the previously used dogma.


Conducted research also allowed them to establish a common history of the architectural development of this place:

1. from the end of 4 to the end of the 2nd century BC there was an arsenal, located on the northern side;

2. from the end of the 2nd to the end of the 1st centuries BC there was also built several guard rooms and a ceramic matrix. In order to popularize the existed then pantheon of gods, inside the room a lot of terracotta figurines were placed.


Historians note that Kampyrtepa was a classic vintage port city located on the banks of the Amu Darya. In a way it was the third port after Ayrtam and Tarmita. During all the time of the research work it was possible to work out and bring to almost perfection the different technologies:

1. Restoration of architectural monuments;

2. Preservation of artifacts;

3. Strengthening the walls of ancient buildings.


The active position of the local authorities and constant work of archaeologists and art scientists have made it possible to include some of the artifacts found here in the UNESCO heritage list.