Civil Architecture of Termez

The dwelling houses utilized traditional designs, featuring clay frame work. The palaces and also kushk (castles) were more monumental constructions from pakhsa (packed earth) and raw brick. In the period of V- VIII cc. the farmsteads and castles of rich farmers were often erected on high ground (e.g. Balalik tepa, a 9m. hill) in Termez using strong pakhsa. The facades of the farmsteads were generally smooth, but sometimes were decorated with corrugations. On the corners of the castles were round or multi-sided towers. The entrance to a castle was by means of a ramp or draw bridge. In the centre of the kushk was a hall or courtyard surrounded by dwelling places or other household premises of one or two floors. The structure of the central hall or courtyard surrounded by these premises was typical of Central Asia at that time. However, we can see another type of plan-a hall type, in which a number of rooms were built along the sides of the hallway.

Thus the "Kurgan" built in the northern part of Rabat also belonged to this kind of architecture. Basically, this was a building of the Kushan period, in the IV-VI c. AD a burial structure (naus) was located here. In the VI c. AD a two-storied building was erected on a monolithic platform (25x25m) with its connecting points, decorated facades with traditional corrugation. The arched entrance in the centre of the southern facade led into a longitudinal hallway, where there were five oblong rooms. The flight of stairs at the end of the hajilway led to a second floor or flat roof of the building. The hallway and rooms had arched ceilings.This monumental building, with strong walls and ceilings, has lasted almost one thousand years and is in a reasonable condition at the present time. Beginning in the XI c. it became a place to live for pilgrimes. Visiting the mosque of Chor-Sutun and Hakim at Temizi, complex till XVI-XVII c.The palaces of the rulers were magnificent. Frequently, in the centre of the palace was a large yard surrounded by dwellings and other household premises consisting of one or two floors. In the centre there were great portals. The majestic arched portals were blue and formed a bay that served as a shady terrace.

The great palace of the Termezshah, which belongs to this period (XI-XII), is famous for its ma jestic and unique carvings in ganch. It features a rectangular raw brick construction, about 100x75(m) with a vast terraced courtyards. The main longitudinal axis of the structure went from east to west. There was a huge arched portal in the west and the eastern end opened into an audience hall with a terrace, which itself led further to an inner courtyard. In the middle of inner courtyard was a square pool about 8.5 m. The brick walls of the reception hall were covered with baked brick and then, in the XII c., their surface was decorated blue ganch carved with different geometrical and zoomorphic pictures. Judging from archaeological discoveries, the entrance of the building had ganch bars - panjara - with colored glass and wall inscriptions in black, blue, red and green colors. It is notable that the zoomorphic pictures in carved ganch in the palace of the Termez Shah were part of a frequently occurring phenomenon in the Islamic architecture of that period. The image of magnificent lions on two panels is very interesting. The first of them has a lion head in front and a human head behind and the second is a picture of two winged lions placed in heraldic composition and decorated with the stars and rosettes on the body. It 'should be noted that the images of two bodies have been famous in Central Asia from ancient times. In medieval times the figures of birds and animals with one head and two bodies became more popular and were used as emblems. Therefore one can consider both the assumption of B.P. Denike that the lions in the Termez palace served as a heraldic emblem and G.A. Pugachenkova's supposition that these frightening creatures were keepers of the palace to be grounded.

The oasis of Termez is unusually rich and unique with its raw brick constructions. In its villages appeared many characteristic features of late medieval architecture of dwellings. It is known that the raw brick dwellings of Central Asia were typically roofed with flat wooden beams, and this can be seen in the Termez. There were some dwellings built domes made from raw bricks, but these had gether disappeared by the end of the 1930s. N.M. Bachinskiy, while researching the raw brick buildings of ancient Termez, noted the stability and high level of craftsmanship of the brickwork. He also observed the marvellous quality and stability of raw bricks, which were prepared and dried by the ancient masters using a special technology developed over many years. N.M. Bachinskiy drew attention to a number of square dome constructions the outside walls were strengthened in the manner of the flat arched bay. The passage to the dome was reached through simple arched buttresses. Meanwhile, in monumental raw brick constructions the same constructive and often decorative methods applied in baked brick buildings were used. Four constructions which were not studied by N.M. in 1979 were investigated by Z.A. Arshavskaya and E.V. Rtveladze. Two of them were square with four open arches with portal - like mausoleum. In the other two constructions in which only two-storey aivans were preserved, they were covered with transversal arches.Of special interest are the raw brick dome dwellings in the village of Saliabad on the east-west line of Termez.

The mosque of Khwaja Mulk in the same village, researched by V.A. Nilsen, is also. The dwellings in Saliabad with cades consisting of two or three domed premises. They frequently featured arches and were built far inside on rather large farmsteads. Packed clay walls encircled them. Some of them, including the house of the mudarris of the madrasse in the village of Khwaja Mulk, had two dome halls and between them a blue portal terrace, repeating an ancient tradition used in the complex of Sultan Saodat. The rooms were equipped with bay areas for household items. In the domed dwellings with their relative high and vast interiors, the temperatures were more stable. The orientation of these buildings also helped keep them cool; the buildings in this southern area faced north, taking into account shade and cool winds. According to V.A. Nilsen assumption these ( houses belonged to well-to-do people or to religious people who were sayyids inhabiting in Saliabad then.

The unique "Kirk Kiz" building ("forty girls”) which has attracted the attention of researchers for a long time , has been variously considered a palace, an abbey, a caravanserail, Hanaqoh, IX-X c. country farmstead; however, it may belong simply to civil construction. The complex "Kirk Kiz" is situated 3 km. from the ancient city of Termez. Local tradition connects it with the well-known national legend in which the princess Gulaim and her forty girls bravely struggled against raiding nomads. (21) The building of "Kirk Kiz" is a square about 54m. of raw brick construction, which faces outwards in all directions. In the corners of the buildings are strong towers. There is an inside arched aperture, and also some large windows cut through each facade. There are two in tersections in the hallways placed on the two axes of the building dividing it into four equal parts. There is a little square courtyard in the centre of the building (11.5x11.5m), covered by a dome (to the mind some scholars, but according to another there was no overhead cover. The two northern quadrants of the building have identical floor plans. They consist of a group of five rooms that exit onto a three-sided Russian II letter shaped hallway. The southwest quadrant of the building is almost identical. The largest three-pillar room was used as a sitting room in the southwest quadrant of the building. The different system of its roofing and style, the design of the bay walls, window frames and doorways are examples of raw brick architecture.