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Chalpyk-kala fortress

Chalpyk-kala fortress

Chalpyk fortress (Chilpyk, Chil’pyk, Shilpyk), from Turkic – the Tower of Silence, is located in 43 kilometers to the South of Nukus, near the highway to Turtkul. The fortress is visible well from the road.

Chil’pyk is a building with high cob walls, located on the separate natural 35-meters conical hill. Walls of the fortress form an unequal round, 65 meters in diameter with the entrance from the north-western side. Before there was a 20 meters stair well with 72 steps, which led to the entrance on the steepest side of the hill. There is a passage in the foundation, which leads down to the river. Cob walls are saved about 15 meters height in some places. Their thickness is 2-3 meters in upper part and more 5 meters in the base. Whole interior of the fortress is a plane clay area, paved on the backfill from fragments of black sand stone, almost on the level with exterior wall. The top of sand rock stands in the centre of area. A lot of fragments of clay ossuaries were found on slopes, which lets draw a conclusion about an original cult destination of the fortress as Dakhma, which was used in Zoroastrian rituals. According to Zoroastrian beliefs, bodies of dead people put to be eaten up by birds. When the bones were clear from flesh, family of the dead person collected them and put to clay or stone urns for burial. Hills, around Chil’pyk, are full of burials, and it is possible to see patterns of such urns in historical museums of Nukus and Tashkent.

The age of the fortress was defined as the end of the I century BC - early I century AD, but there were reconstructions in VII-VIII centuries after Arabs arrival in these places, and then again in the IX-X centuries during the period of ancient Khoresm prosperity. In that time, Chilpyk fortress was used as watch and signal tower as many other fortresses in Khoresm.

Tourists like visiting the fortress surely, by the way, a wonderful view to Amudarya river opens from the top of fortress.


Chalpyk-kala fortress photos

Chalpyk-kala fortress on map

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