Nadezhda Dukhovny
Nadezhda Dukhovny

Ancient and Unique Uzbekistan: The Jizzakh Region II

Welcome to Uzbekistan! Welcome to Jizzakh Region!

Posted by Uzbekistan Embassy in Israel on Saturday, June 5, 2021

When it comes to spiritual life, the journey of a soul many people turn to religion. Over the centuries, religion has determined the moral norms of society. And to this day people are looking for solace in visiting temples. Places that in ancient times were related to spiritual mentors serve as shrines.

Have you ever thought about modern life and what role a person plays in it? Allow yourself to stop for a moment, forget about the endless pursuit of modern and fancy things. Take a break and think. Can a modern person be called happy and what makes him or her so? To find answers to philosophical questions, some take their whole life, others, unfortunately, never find these answers, and other people go on pilgrimage.

In the village of Novka, Bakhmal region, there is an old shrine. The name of the Novka-Ota shrine is often associated with “Nakatun” (Arabic), which means “camel” and is associated with the cult of animals.

The Khojabogbon-Ota shrine. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

Another famous pilgrimage site is the Khojabogbon-Ota shrine, located in the village of Karatash, Nurak village council, Farish district, Jizzakh region. Seven hundred and fifty years ago, in the seventies of the twelfth century, Khojabogbon-Ota, whose real name was Ibn Muhammad Wasit, came and lived in these places to spread the Islamic belief.

You can get to the Khojabogbon-Ota shrine directly by taxi or private transport. Visitors can take a bus from Jizzak in Farish District, and then take a taxi or public transport from Farish to the Khojabogbon-Ota shrine.

The Said ibn Abu Vakkos complex is located in the village of Avlieota in the Gallaral region and is divided into two parts. The upper part of the sanctuary is the outer territory of the complex, with beautiful and sacred springs, unique nature, and inimitable landscapes. In the lower part is the tomb of Said ibn Abu Wakkos with ancient mosques and a mausoleum.

The building of the mosque was built in the 19th century by the outstanding masters of their time – the master Kamil, the master Cairo, the master Zuhur and the master Mirzielar.

The Said ibn Abu Vakkos complex. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

The settlement of Avliyot arose in the 7th century and is associated with the name of a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad – Said ibn Abu Wakkos, who was an Arab commander and participated in the historical battle at the Mug fortress. Said ibn Abu Wakkos, who became an associate of Muhammad, was one of the first to accept the Islamic faith at the age of 16. There is also a holy spring and a small lake that received the same name.

The local reservoir is inhabited by various plankton, including corals listed in the Red Book of Uzbekistan. The territory of the complex is 14.2 hectares.

In the green corner of the Zaamin district of the Jizzakh region, there is the Khujay Serob-Ota shrine. The ancient cultural site is a popular pilgrimage site and dates back to the 8th-12th centuries. On its territory is the tomb of Maulan Muhammad (Serob-Ota) Peshagoriy, a Sufi sheikh of the Naqshbandi order.

Another feature of the shrine is that the Fountain of Intent is located here, filled with a variety of fish. People say that if visitors with a sincere intention take a stone from the source and make the most secret wish, then it will certainly come true. And, of course, after its execution, the stone must be returned to its place, as a token of gratitude and hope.

Khujay Serob-Ota shrine. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

The shrine has become a local landmark along with other places of worship in the Jizzakh region. Next to it is the ancient Peshagor cave.
The cave is located in the Peshagor gorge near the mountain village of the same name and is part of a natural complex consisting of four caves.
The name “Peshagor” means “vestibule” or “cave entrance”. It is the largest of all the caves, and to get into it you need to go through the entrance, the size of which reaches 1×1.5 meters.

At the entrance to the Peshagor cave. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

Then the entrance goes up at a steep angle. Inside you will find yourself in a small corridor, and at its end, there is a hole. Its length extends to two meters and leads to the first central hall. In the large hall, you will meet cave dwellers – bats, extraordinary fluorescent creatures.
At the end of the first hall, there is an entrance to the second hall. There you will find mysterious stalactites, mostly orange in color. Behind the second hall, there is an ascent to the third hall, its size is slightly smaller than the previous ones. The stones and clay in the hall are slippery.

Inside of the Peshagor cave. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

Surprisingly, ancient people lived in the cave. This is evidenced by numerous artifacts and traces of life. The walls and dome of the central hall are covered with soot. There were found vessels, household items, rock paintings, burials, and bones dating back to the 4th century BC.
The cave itself is quite deep and in its depths, there are halls that have yet to be explored by speleologists.
Not far from the cave there is forestry where wild pistachios and almonds grow. Forest dwellers such as partridges, jackals, porcupines, foxes, and wolves are also found there.
Hikes and excursions are organized to the cave and shrines. You can visit untouched natural attractions, see the Zaamin National Park, the Malguzar mountains of the north-western spurs of the Turkestan ridge, evergreen junipers, and much more.

Peshagor. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

People coming to see the unique natural beauty of the region and get acquainted with this land are invited to learn new things among which is a national traditional equestrian game “Kupkari”. Kupkari is one of the most popular national sports among the people of Central Asia since ancient times, mainly celebrated on the occasion of victory and harvest holidays, weddings, and celebrations.

Kupkari. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

In fact, in ancient times, such games were played not only by rulers but also by ordinary people, mainly after circumcision (chipron) or wedding ceremonies. Kupkari is popular among many Turkic peoples, especially among his descendants, such as Uzbek, Kurama, Min, Mangit, Oirat, Yayylma, Kenegas, Kipchak, Barlos.

Kupkari. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

In particular, this game is popular in the Bakhmal, Zaamin, and Gallaarol districts of the Jizzakh region and is held at almost all weddings and similar events.

Kupkari. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

At large weddings, prizes include money, fabrics, clothing, carpets, rams, and more.

Zaamin keeps up with modern sports life, as well. On June 26-27, 2021, the Zaamin ultramarathon was organized – a unique sporting event that is part of a series of Samarkand marathon races. The event was held within the framework of the project of the Fund for the Development of Culture and Art under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which is the organizer of the country’s first ultramarathon.

Zaamin Ultramarathon 2021. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

The marathon was opened by Aziz Abdukhakimov, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Chairman of the Samarkand Half Marathon organizing committee.

Zaamin Ultramarathon 2021. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

Together with the athletes of the Republic of Uzbekistan, athletes and amateur runners from the CIS countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and other countries took part in the ultramarathon.

The ultramarathon was organized along 4 distance routes, 50 km of which the athletes had a view of the unique beauty of Turkestan and the Malguzar ridges. In this direction of the route, the total height was 1535 meters, the highest point of the road reached 2500 meters above sea level.

Participants in the 21 km half marathon reached the city of Aeol and enjoyed the view of three rivers – Kattashir, Kizilmazar, and Obikul.

And for participants with little experience in marathons, the 10-kilometer distance led to an observation deck that offers views of the Kizilmazar ridge and access to the Chortanga canyon.

For Nordic walking, and those who will run the marathon for the first time, a route of 2 km was organized.

Zaamin Ultramarathon 2021. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

The participants of the ultramarathon forgot about fatigue in the concert program of electro-music organized for them.

Zaamin Ultramarathon 2021 Concert. This photo is courtesy of the Press Service of the Tourism and Sports Department of the Jizzakh Region.

This two-day Zaamin ultramarathon, full of great excitement, ended on June 27 with the award ceremony for the marathon participants.

 

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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