Architecture of Medieval Termez

In the ancient architecture of Surkhandarya, as all Central Asia, timeless building methods, construction materials and structures were employed. Loess, that is to say, ordinary clay, which was used as an elongated dried raw brick (guvala), and compacted earth (pakhsa), a normal kind of brick, were the main building materials. At first, wooden beams were used to block out small rooms and a wooden column system to block out heavy bay lodgings and terraces.

However the shortage of good timber and high flammability of wood moved ancient builders to seek other stable, economical, seismostable overhead-cover constructions. So, arches were often used instead of wooden horizontal supports. They built arches and then completed the structure as domes.In the early medieval period, VI-VIII centuries, arches and domes were used in angular sails in wooden structures in Termez, as in all Central Asian monumental building. Wall paintings, statues, and wood and ganch (alabaster) carving were the main decorations in the interior of buildings in the Pre- Islamic period.In the IX-X centuries the abovementioned raw bricks, earthen material (pakhsa), and wood were the main materials used in buildings.

Thus we read in the information of the X century that part of the streets, squares and markets of the city were paved with bricks, but all the buildings of the city were made with clay. (1) At the same time individual constructions were totally built from the baked brick based on clay and with a plaster finish. In the construction of water-resistant structures baths, sardobas special place for keeping water, bridges and foundations they made a special mixture of lime, dry alabaster and charcoal ash, called "kir".In the XI century, almost all the significant and sacred constructions of Termez were built from the baked bricks, including the minaret of Chor-Sutun in the XI c., and the memorial complexes of Hakim at Termizi and Sultan Saodat and Zul-Kifl.Quite often the surface of raw brick walls (for Shahs palace in Termez) was clad baked brick. In a 1070-1074 source we read, "Even the walls of the citadel of Termez with its towers were clad with the baked bricks by the order of Malik Shah the Sultan of Seljuk and conqueror of Termez."

An example of the potential of such construction is found in the design of the portal dome, which was executed in such a way that the design looked beyond the gates themselves, aspiring to grandeur.This period, the brick layers craft rose to level. In the monumental architecture of this period, baked brick was the main building material, as well as being a decorative one. The smooth surfaces of the facades were decorated with different ornaments, but most were in the shape of "a fir tree," and there was a space of two bricks between each repeat in the pattern. (Examples are (Zul-Kifl, ( Sultan Saodat). Here, at the vertical joint between each pair of bricks, on the smooth side, was a ribbon-like inscription or in a figure eight. That is why this type of facing got the name "bow facing" (we will refer to it as such further in our text).The prohibitions of Islam against the use of live( images caused the development and use of geometrical, vegetable and epigraphic (Arabic) inscriptions as ornaments. They can be recognized on the smooth surface of the walls as curved relief details and created a rich play of chiaroscuro treatment of light (and shade).It should be noted that monumental calligraphy, with the further development of the handwriting of Kufi and neskhi (the types of calligraphy) played a great role in the decoration of the buildings, intensifying the impact of art on architecture (for example, the minaret of the mosque

Chor-Sutun, mihrab of the complex Hakim at Termizi etc). On the whole, calligraphy is the main source of information about the client and artist, the date of the mausoleum construction, and those who were buried there. In the architecture of the IX-XII c., a typical style was developed, for private architecture houses, palaces and kushks (castles) and public buildings (caravansarai, rabats, bathhouses and trade buildings). New types of cultural constructions, those typical of Islamic architecture, such as mosques and mausoleums and hanaqohs were more monumental and expressive in their form.It should be noted that the courtyard and court yard-terrace compositions were typical of many constructions of the medieval period - caravansarais, big mosques, madrasses and a number of palaces. The courtyard is generally encircled by a complex of buildings, such as khujras a place for religious students to study or live or arched pillars of galleries in Juma Mosques (Moslim prayer day is Friday, which in Uzbek is Juma).

The composition was the same in a terraced courtyard, but only two or four axes of the inner courtyard had the high domes.Researchers refer to the genesis of this composi tion repeatedly, assuming that it was borrowed from Iran, Syria and the other countries of the East. (3) At the present time judging from the court yard structures of Surkhandarya in the early Iron Age, especially from the farmsteads like "Kizilcha-6" of the( VI- IV c. B.C. (4), we may conclude that this form had its roots here on the basis of earlier local traditions.The development of this structure in the period ( IV c. BC- IV c. AD and also in early medieval times (V-VIII c) led to the appearance of the courtyard scheme, where on the perimeter of the yard there were built galleries and portal terraces on the axes of the yard. In the Islamic architecture of Central Asia the courtyard scheme became more traditional for large monumental premises (palaces), religious buildings (madrasses and Juma mosques) and trade and hotel buildings, due to its universal functionality and maximal suitability to local climate conditions.In the periods of IX-XII c. and XV-XVI c. the development of different types of construction for terraced courtyards deserves much more careful attention; there was refinement and development according to the different requirements for caravansarais, rabats and they became more spectacular( in the case of Juma mosques and madrasses.

Let us note that the architecture of Termez in the Islamic period was highly original and that it possessed interesting local peculiarities.In Termez there can still be seen today buildings of these two periods: the end of IX-XII c. and XIV- XVI c. The decor and overall architecture of these structures are largely due to the territorial closeness of Termez to Khorasan, and their common history is strongly influenced by the traditions of Khorasan architecture.This is particularly noticeable in the architecture of the edifices of Termez in the IX-XII cc, when the city and its neighbourhood were part of the kingdom of the Gaznavidz and then Seljuks. The countries of Mawarannahr had a great deal in common with Khorasan and the strong local traditions in the formation of Surkhandarya architecture. These in turn developed into a new form of architecture incorporating the regional peculiarities of Surkhandarya.