Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Kala (Fortress/Castles) of Ancient Khorasan (500 BC)

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The name "Khorasan" is derived from Middle Persian khor (meaning "sun") and asan (or ayan literally meaning "to come" or "coming" or "about to come"), hence meaning "land where the sun rises".

"Forgotten realms of the Oxus region.....Ruins of thousands of fortresses (Kala) are disseminated at boundless open spaces of the Khorezm steppes.......The ancient cities and fortresses along the Oxus and nearby rivers........It's unknown exactly where antiquity-era Chorsamia was centred, although part of the ruins of Kyrk Molla at Gurganj date back to this period, as do part of the ruins of Itchan Kala in present-day Khiva (Khwarezm's capital). Probably the most impressive and best-preserved ancient ruins in the region, are those of the Ayaz Kala fortress complex, parts of which date back to the 4th century BC. There are numerous other "Kala" (the Chorasmian word for "fortress") nearby, including Toprak Kala and Kz'il Kala. "....http://greenash.net.au/thoughts/2014/10/forgotten-realms-of-the-oxus-region/

Ayaz Kala (fortress 2) of Khwarezm (Chorasmia), today desert but in ancient times green and lush....http://greenash.net.au/thoughts/2014/10/forgotten-realms-of-the-oxus-region/

"In classical antiquity, a number of advanced civilisations flourished in the area that today comprises parts of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. Through this area runs a river most commonly known by its Persian name, as the Amu Darya. However, in antiquity it was known by its Greek name, as the Oxus....The Oxus region is home to archaeological relics of grand civilisations, most notably of ancient Bactria, but also of Chorasmia, Sogdiana, Margiana, and Hyrcania. However, most of these ruined sites enjoy far less fame, and are far less well-studied, than comparable relics in other parts of the world......most of the ruins have been neglected by the modern world – largely due to the region's turbulent history of late....."...http://greenash.net.au/thoughts/2014/10/forgotten-realms-of-the-oxus-region/

Overview map of the Oxus region, showing major rivers and antiquity-era archaeological sites..... Forgotten realms of the Oxus region......http://greenash.net.au/thoughts/2014/10/forgotten-realms-of-the-oxus-region/

"The Oxus is the largest river (by water volume) in Central Asia. Due to various geographical factors, it's also changed its course more times (and more dramatically) than any other river in the region, and perhaps in the world."

Faizabad Kala....(Fayzabad, Feyzabad, Fazelabad or Faizabad) (Pashto:فيض آباد), Persian: فيض آباد‎) is the provincial capital and largest city in Badakhshan Province, in northern Afghanistan, with around 50,000 people. It is situated in Fayzabad District and is at an altitude of 1,200 m. (3,937 ft.)....It is located in the northeast of Afghanistan, on the River Kokcha. It is the main commercial and administrative center of the Pamir region."

Kaakha fortress, overlooking the Panj river.....(Hava Afghanistan). ....The second fortress intended for protection of the Western Pamir is called Kaakha after a legendary warrior, the king of fire - worshippers. It was constructed later, in the 4th century, on a rocky height in the Panj valley. It seems that the fortress borders the rock with its mud brick wall. Only the sagged clay rampart from the second inner wall has remained. The fortress design is similar to that of Yuachmun: with a citadel and three platforms. The length of the rampart is really impressive - 750 m (!). No buildings were found inside the fortress. Probably the rooms were only in the citadel.The alleged purpose of the fortress was as follows: due to its powerful walls it prevented the invaders, who could come through the valleys of the rivers Panj, Shakhdara and Gunt, from getting to the fertile oases. Today the remains of the fortifications can be seen directly from the highway which passes 15-20 meters from the fortress. In spite of the fact that the fortress it badly damaged you can clearly imagine what a powerful structure with numerous towers it was, how impregnable and formidable it seemed in ancient times...http://www.advantour.com/tajikistan/mountains/pamir/kaakha-fortress.htm......Kaakha Fortress, Pamir.....http://greenash.net.au/thoughts/2014/10/forgotten-realms-of-the-oxus-region/

Igdy Kala.......Igdy Kala is a Parthian fortress dated I century B.C. - IV century A.D. located on the high rocky bank of Uzboy river, creating a narrow and picturesque canyon. It’s situated in 150 km to North from Serdar city........Settlements along the lower Uzboy part of Hyrcania (which was on occasion given a name of its own, Nesaia) were few. The most notable surviving ruin there is the Igdy Kala fortress, which dates to approximately the 4th century BC, and which (arguably) exhibits both Parthian and Chorasmian influence. Very little is known about Igdy Kala, as the site has seldom been formally studied. The question of whether the full length of the Uzboy ever existed remains unresolved, particularly regarding the section from Sarykamysh Lake to Igdy Kala. ... S.P.Tolstov discovered this monument in 1954....in whole the fortress constructed from stone which is non-typical material for Khorezm....http://www.dagtravel.net/en/sightseeing-list/balkan/igdy-kala/

Aerial view of Koykrylgan Kala....Koykrylgan Kala (also spelt Qoy Qirilq'an Qala) is an amazing and enigmatic site. Its circular shape is unique. Koykrylgan Kala is a 4th century BC fortress, but what lay within the fortifications is a mystery. Today, the site lies in a remote part of the surrounding desert. In the 2nd century BC, the complex was destroyed by fire, was rebuilt and remained in use until the 4th century AD. "...http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/khvarizem/page4.htm

Koy-Krylgan-kala: the Fortress of Lost Rams....Ruins of thousands of fortresses are disseminated at boundless open spaces of the Khorezm steppes, but the remnants of Koy-Krylgan-kala, the Fortress of Lost Rams, are unique. The fortress was discovered by archeologists of the Khorezm expedition casually in 1938. Archeologists were surprised with the form of ancient construction, unprecedented till then in Khoresm: the powerful citadel with the remains of a protective wall was not square and or rectangular as it was used to see, but it was round. Outside, protective constructions had the form of a correct circle with the citadel in the center, it was surrounded with an external fortification with towers. The space between the central building and the wall named the "ring" appeared completely built up. The clay construction was enormous: diameter of the central building was 42 m, height in the best remained part was about 8 m, the diameter of the whole construction - about 90 m......Thousands of fragments of magnificent pottery have been scattered on sandy barkhans round the fortress and among its ruins. Along with other findings, in particular bronze tips of arrows, they were used to identify its age - archeologists found out that it was the most ancient of all the monuments to ancient Khorezmian statehood known by that time. The earliest finds dated back to 4th-3rd centuries BC.... the fortress had two stages of the development. Earlier stage dated back to 4th-3rd centuries BC. The second period of the fortress referred to the first centuries AD."....http://www.advantour.com/uzbekistan/karakalpakstan/koy-krylgan-kala.htm

"Koy-Krylgan-kala was the powerful well fortified fortress with a number of protective walls which were destroyed with time, it was possible to trace them only in a small site. Similar fortifications were peculiar to all monuments of antiquity and the early Middle Ages of Khoresm. According to researches of archeologists, the Fortress of Lost Rams is one of the most ancient monuments ancient Khorezm statehood, the temple complex that partially functioned as a burial of the unknown ancient king or queen.......The fortress population consisted of Zoroastrians, worshipping Anakhita, the goddess of water and rivers, and Siyavus, the god of sun. This monument is interesting in terms of the central complex location. Its western part was built in honour of the goddess Anakhita, and eastern and the southern parts were turned towards the sun rising in honour of the god of sun Siyavush, evidenced by number of figurines and relicts of vessels with images of gods......The fortress history Koy-Krylgan-kala totals a millenium. The remnants of the most ancient ossuaries in the Central Asia were found along with paintings and inscriptions in ancient Khorezmian language. This fortress remains a historical puzzle until now, standing out with its unique design among other fortresses of Ancient Khorezm.".....http://www.advantour.com/uzbekistan/karakalpakstan/koy-krylgan-kala.htm

Khairizem / Khvarizem/ Chorasmia Historical Sites...http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/khvarizem

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

March 2015

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico

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