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Old Termez was formed on the right side of the Djaikhun — Amu-Darya in a place convenient to cross the river, at the intersection of Great Silk Road routes, five kilometres to the northwest from the city of Termez. Over centuries it was developing as one of the leading city of Bactria and then Kushan Empire.The long-term scientific research and archeological excavations have proved that this peaceable placid town has a long and rich history. For thousands of years Surkhandarya area and its main town Termez were part of and shared the destiny of many ancient empires — empires formed by Alexander the Great, Chingis khan, Amir Temur.Modern Termez sprang up at the end of the 19th century and looked like a typical semi-Asian, semi-European town: with exclusively single-storey buildings, with public offices built from the baked bricks, with dwelling houses built from the adobe, with oriental flat roofs and western-like disposition of windows, that is overlooking the streets, with verdure of the gardens surrounding the houses, with customary acacias, elms and plane trees along side walks. Today Termez is a modern town, the center of Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan.The site of ancient settlement of Old Termez, located on the area of about 500 hectares, consists of a citadel — kala, two shakhristans and suburban part — rabad. The settlement dates back to the 4th century B.C, which means that Termez is more 2500 years old. In the 3rd century B.C. there was formed here the urban settlement-fortress named Demetria.In the epoch of the ancient Kushan Empire, formed in the 1st century A.D., the city got the name Termit and became a large administrative and religious center of Northern Bactria. The Kushan’s domain stretched from Darband in the north of Surkhandarya region where massive border fortification walls were constructed, up to the territory of modern Pakistan. Kushan empire reached its highest might during the reign of Kanishka I . Kishan kings adhered to religious toleration, and alongside with Zoroastrism, Hinduism and other religions Buddha worship was prospering here. It is from here that many missionaries used to leave for Sogdiana in the north, for Margiana in the west, for China and Tibet, where they propagated Buddha’s teaching.The discovery of site of ancient settlement of Dalverzintepa, which was situated in 60 kilometers from Termez, not far from Shurchi town, was the notable event in the history of the world culture. Dalverzintepa is a splendid archeological monument of Kushan Empire. The 10-metre thick defense wall with the towers, inside of which the casemates and galleries were situated, surrounded the site of ancient settlement; on the crests of the walls there were the areas for the missile weapons and slingers. The central part of the town was occupied by the residential quarters of rich citizens, with many-roomed houses and household yards. In the southern part of the city the craftsman’s workshops were situated. Numerous archeological finds representing articles of Buddhist and Hellenic culture are the evidence of the fact, that Dalverzintepa was situated on one of the most ancient branches of the Great Silk Road, which went from Termita along the Surkhan valley. Further caravan routes led to the Stone Tower, presumably situated in the region of modern Tashkent and mentioned in «Geography» by Claudius Ptolemy, who described the way from Syria to China.In the suburban area of Dalverzintepa the archeologists discovered the ruins of Buddhist sanctuary, built up here approximately in the 1st century A.D., judging from the coins found at the site. There was the stupa, the room for praying and so called, «king’s hall», richly decorated with the sculptures representing religious and secular Buddhist and Hellenic images. One of the most wonderful sculptural images is the head of a Kushan’s ruler in the pointed headdress. The elements of Greek — Bactrian culture are presented in the architectural details — in the Attic bases of the columns, in the acanthus leaves and in the garment folds of the sculptural figures.Also, there was found the second Buddhist complex with Buddha and Bodkhisatva statues, as well as a Bactrian temple with the wall paintings, which pictured priests and infants. The vivid monument of the epoch is the «golden» treasure, weighing 36 kilograms, which was found on the excavations in Dalverzintepa and consisted of the articles and trappings made of gold, silver and precious stones.The remains of Buddhist monuments are being found up to the present day. During the last ten years Uzbek and Japanese scientists have been carrying out the joint investigations on the site of ancient settlement Koratepa. Recently, there have been found the dwellings of Buddhist monks. The stone steps, which are more than two thousand years old, lead down under the earthen cupola 5 meters in diameter. Nearby, there have been found simple things, with the help of which the monks maintained their modest life, the sculptural images of a dragon and a winged lion. The Buddhist monastery with well-preserved stupa has been discovered not far from there.During the Soviet period Termez was practically closed for the foreigners. Today, on the contrary, the town on the Amudarya is visited by ever increasing number of tourists, who wish to touch the mystery and the beauty of the past epochs. Each hill here keeps something unknown, each monument is a legend. Modern Termez still functions as the outpost of independent Uzbekistan, the connecting-link with the neighboring states.

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