Nadezhda Dukhovny
Nadezhda Dukhovny

Ancient and Unique Uzbekistan: Syrdarya Region II

Sardoba. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.
This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Syrdarya region attracts guests with its history and originality. In particular, in the Syrdarya region, there is a historical monument of Sardoba, which is located in the Sardoba region and its name is translated from Persian as “cold water”.

Sardoba. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Sardoba is a special structure for collecting water. Similar structures were built from baked bricks. In ancient times, they served as stopping points for traders on caravan routes.

The first information about this interesting historical monument can be found in the work of Hafiz Tanish al-Bukhari Abdullanoma.

Information about the life and scientific activities of the scientist is limited. He was born in 1549 in Bukhara. His father Hafiz-i Tanish Bukhari Mir Muhammad was an associate of Sheibanid Ubaydullah Khan.

In the 50s of the 16th century, he left for Kashgar and died there. Hafiz-i Tanish Bukhari, like his father Mir Muhammad, was close to the court of the Sheibanid ruler and, from 1583 until the end of his life, was the chronicler (Vakianavis) of Abdullah Khan II.

In the introduction, the author describes in detail the plan for his future book, talks about the official accession of Abdullah Khan to the throne. In particular, he writes: “When this insignificant was thirty-six years old, he had the idea to write a book, including the history of some events that happened under His Majesty Abdullah Khan”.

According to Hafiz Tanish al-Bukhari, the wooden sardoba was built during the campaign of the Bukhara khan Abdullah II against Tashkent in 1579-1583. It was founded in 1580.

Sardoba. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The bricks that make up the sardoba are square. Their size reaches 25x25x5 centimeters. The inner diameter of the dome is 15 meters and the height is 12 meters. Inside the sardoba there are closed honeycomb cells at a height of 2 meters from the ground. The thickness of the sardoba wall at the bottom is 1.5 meters. As it rises, it becomes thinner, and at the top it is about as thick as a brick.

The entrance to the sardoba is from one side – from the north. The other three sides used to have arched holes. The entrance is an arch through which a brick staircase leads into the cistern. There is a special corridor at the entrance. At the top of the corridor were separate rooms for servants and guards. A spiral staircase, attached from the outside, leads to the corridor.

Sardoba. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The wooden cistern was filled with rain and snow. It is located in a ravine, which made it possible to collect water from the surrounding area.

Water collected in a ravine and poured into the cistern by streams. Sardoba is equipped with special flat gutters, which are connected to each other by a common annular gutter. It, in turn, is equipped with three cooling holes, which also prevent water leakage. The top of the dome is also left open for this purpose.

There is a number of sacred places and archaeological monuments in the Syrdarya region. One of them is the urban-type settlement Old Khavast.

Old Khavast. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The total area of this place, recognized as an archaeological monument, located in the Khavast district of the Syrdarya region, is 12 hectares. Professor M. E. Masson, the founder of the archaeology school in Central Asia, doctor of historical and archaeological sciences, and member of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences interpreted the large hill in the center of Mirzachul as the central ruins of medieval Khavast.

Archaeological excavations at the monument were practically impossible since a large population lived on the hill. Initially, the Beklik fortress stood at this place, surrounded by a moat filled with water. And later, until 1953, the village of Khavast existed here. In this regard, the focus of archaeological research was the ruins of Shahristan and the nearby Uratepa.

Old Khavast has a history of at least two thousand years and turned out to be the oldest urban ruins in the entire Syrdarya region (Gritsina, 1989).

Old Khavast. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

During these years, in the upper reaches of the Shorbulak River in Khavast and its environs, in the area where there is a source of water, the ruins of the city of Nurtepa were found. The mentioned archaeological artifacts date back to the 6th-5th centuries BC and indicate that Khavast was a remnant of the ancient settlement of Ustrushna, mentioned in ancient written sources.

Today, there is a shrine on the Ancient Khavast hill in the Khavast district of the region. They say that in ancient times there were 28 shrines in Khavast. Of these, 12 have survived to this day. The most popular of them is the Hasti Busurgon shrine. Bobo Jabir is known under the name Hasti Buzurg, who is considered one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad.

The interior of the mausoleum Khasti Buzurgon in Khavast district. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

Bobo Jabir came to spread Islam among the inhabitants of Khavast and its environs. Bobo Jabir was respected by the locals for his hard work for the benefit of the people and their education.

The Sa’du-Sa’id mosque in Khavast district. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The ancient mosque “Namazgokh” was also known under the name “Sa’adu-Sa’id” (the great of the sayyids) in honor of the wise sons of Baba Jabir.

The interior of the Sa’du-Sa’id mosque in the Khavas district. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Bibi Acha temple was built in honor of Bibi Khadija, the wife of Bobo Jabir. Local residents call the bride or young girl “bibi”, and the mother or grandmother – “acha”. In this regard, the place where the wives of Bobo Jabir’s associates spent the night was called “Bibi Acha”.

Bibi Khadija was an extremely devout woman and served as an example to others. That is why pilgrims come here in search of greater happiness and pray to Allah that their life will be as happy as that of this woman.

The Bibi Ocha mausoleum was built in 2009-2011 by the Dustmukhamedov family. The mausoleum is located 100 meters above the Hasti Buzurgon shrine.

Bibi Ocha mausoleum in the Khavast district. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Sherbobo Temple was built in honor of a man whose real name was Abraham. He was nicknamed “Sherbobo”. “Sher” in translation from Farsi means “lion or tiger”. According to legend, Sherbobo possessed such divine power that he could stop the enemy’s horses with his bare hands. This is why he was also nicknamed “Bolosher”, which means “superior to the lion.”

The exterior of Sherbobo mausoleum in the Khavast district. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Sherbobo Mausoleum was built in 2008 by the Khavast Railroad Security Service.

The interior of the Sherbobo mausoleum in the Khavast district. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Yusufbobo temple was built in honor of the local resident Yusufbobo, who was engaged in blacksmithing and medicine and helped people a lot. He was considered a very skillful blacksmith.

The Yusufbobo mausoleum was built in 2010 by a businessman from Khavast M. Nurullayev.

The Yusufbobo mausoleum in the Khavast district. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

In addition to the fact that on the territory of the Syrdarya region you can find so many archaeological monuments, here you can visit three local museums in order to get a closer look at the history of this place.

The Syrdarya State Museum of History and Culture. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Syrdarya State Museum of History and Culture is located on Alisher Navoi Street in Gulistan. The building is a historical architectural monument built in 1907 and was opened on December 13, 1990. Today, the museum has 4 sections and 847 exhibits.

The Syrdarya State Museum of History and Culture. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Khavast District Museum of Local Lore was established in 2020 and is located on the part of the M-34 international highway passing through the Khavast district, in the newly built Khavast Memorial Square.

The Khavast District Museum of Local Lore. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The museum houses ancient artifacts found on the 2,500-year-old hill of Old Khavast, including pottery, coins, jewelry, and copperware, the wall remains, and other archeological artifacts. The museum has all the conditions for visitors, and there is a cultural worker who tells about the museum.

The Khavast District Museum of Local Lore. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

The Gulistan Regional Museum of Local Lore was established on May 26, 2020. Prior to this, the building was part of the Romanov Church, which was built in 1895.

The Gulistan Regional Museum of Local Lore. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.

There are more than 4500 exhibits in the museum. The exposition of the museum presents items that allow tracing the historical development of the peoples who inhabited the territory of the Syrdarya region in the past, starting from the last century and the time of the appearance of the first state formations on the territory of modern Uzbekistan to the present day.

The Gulistan Regional Museum of Local Lore. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Syrdarya Region Tourism and Sports Department.
About the Author
Nadezhda Dukhovny was born and raised in Uzbekistan and made aliya in 2005. She holds an MA in Linguistics from Tel Aviv University and works in translation. She has a true interest about her motherland and would like to tell more about that fascinating country to make Israeli readers familiar with another culture from other part of the globe.
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