The frontier town of Termez bordering with Afghanistan is one of the few cities in Central Asia where you can see rich Buddhist influence amidst this Muslim dominated region. Located along the shores of Amu Darya River, it is also one of the ancient cities of Central Asia.
History Of Termez
Just like other major cities in Uzbekistan, Termez too had to endure numerous conquests by multiple rulers. Even though the exact founding date of the city is not yet known, surprisingly there was a celebration of 2,500th anniversary of the city. Dating back as old as 6th Century BC, Old Termez was first conquered by Alexander The Great and named it Achaemenids. Later it came under the rule of Kushan Empire who were great patron of Buddhism and extensively ruled South Asia. During this time (roughly 1st to 3rd Century BC), it was called Ta-li-mi and was a prominent Buddhist center. Then from 5th to 6th Century, it was governed by Hephthalites and Sassanids. Then till the 7th Century various regional dynasties emerged and ruled Termez, but perhaps the biggest cultural influence on Termez was imparted by the Arab invaders who arrived on scene in around 705. It became an Islamic center during the Abbadids and Samanids rule. From 9th to 12th Century with continuous progress in art and culture, Termez transformed into one of the biggest cities in the region and also a profound cultural center. In 1220, the city got almost completely destroyed by Genghis Khan before being restored during the Timurid Empire. The city prospered during the Soviet rule who established a military base and other industrial enterprises which aided development of Termez.
Currently, Termez serve as a busy transport route for goods exchange between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan via the Friendship Bridge which was built by Soviet Union.
Things To Do In Termez
As Termez is as old as one could get and with rich history of various faiths and religions, inevitably there were various monuments created from time to time, some of which date back to 6 -7th century.
Major Historical Sightseeing InTermez:
Built somewhere around 20th Century, this madrassah stands tall in the downtown and under the leadership of a talented architect named Usto Kyrgyz. The irregular pentahedron is surrounded by khujdras which is due to topography of the land, giving it a standout look.
Kara-Tepe Buddhist Monastery
It’s a Buddhist cave complex situated on the bank of Amu Darya River. It was built probably during the Kushan Empire primarily for practicing Buddhism.
Fayaz-Tepe Buddhist Monastery
It is also an ancient Buddhist monastery which in is sight of Kara Tepe. Numerous valuable frescoes and sculptures were unearthed by archaeologists from this place which are now exhibited in historical museums of Termez and Tashkent.
Abu Isa Ai-Tirmidhi Mausoleum
This mausoleum is dedicated to Al-Ḥakim al-Tirmidhi whose full name is Abu Abd Allah Muḥammadibn Ali al-Ḥakim al-Tirmidhi al-Ḥanafi who was a Sunni jurist and traditionist. This mausoleum is now adorned with gardens and trees.
It was one of the first Buddhist monuments discovered in Termez. Built completely out of mud walls, the stupa located in the center is considered to be among the oldest Buddhist symbols in the area.
Mausoleum of Al Hakkim At-Termizi
Built in the honor of Khoja Abu Isa Muhammad Imam Termezi, who was the founder of dervishes order and whose contributions to Hadith are remarkable, this mausoleum got renovated from time to time up until the Timurid Empire who installed a state-of-the-art gravestone sagana built out of marble.
Sultan Saodat ensemble
This is a cultic complex of Sultan Saodat where various other cult structures were intermittently added. Now this complex boasts of numerous constructions ranging from mosques to mausoleums which resemble in design to one another.