Termez is a true frontier town, for thousands of years it has been conquered, re-conquered and conquered again by famous historical figures such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Tamerlane. In more recent times it was controlled by the Russians & The Soviet Union: It was from Termez that the Russians launched the assault into Afghanistan during the 80’s. Termez has been heavily influenced over thousands of years by both politics and religion, making the Termez of today a unique melting pot of vibrant cultures and ancient historical sites.
Old Termez includes Koratepa, Fayaztepa, Zurmal stupa, Kyrk-Kyz, Hakim at-Termizi, Sultan-Saodat, Kokildor Honako, Dzharkurgan minaret, Kampirtepa. Old Termiz is located 5 km northwest of Termez, on the right bank of the Amu Darya River. Its area is 500 hectares and it is divided into four parts: the citadel - Kala, two shahristans (cities) and Rabad - the suburbs, separated by fortress walls.
Old Termez arose around the 4th - 3rd centuries BC. The urban settlement was formed in the form of a fortress, probably known as Demetria in the 3rd - 2nd centuries BC. In the Kushan period, the large administrative and ideological center of Northern Bactria was the city of Tarmit with several Buddhist monasteries - Fayaztepa and Koratepa. It reached its peak in the 9th-10th centuries - the beginning of the 13th century, and was the largest trade and craft center of Northern Tokharistan. The Mongols destroyed the city in 1220. 
As a result of archaeological excavations, Buddhist monasteries, the palace of the Termiz shahs, a mosque, the building of locksmiths and potters, walls, household and residential complexes were discovered. Sultan-Saodat necropolis, honako Kokildor, Kirk-Kiz complex, Al-Hakim at-Termizi mausoleum, Zurmalskaya Stupa, Dzharkurgan minaret, Oak-Oston Bobo, Kampirtepa are located in the territory of ancient Termez.
Sultan Saodat Ensemble
For sure, one of the top 15 things to see and do in Termez is visit the Sultan Saodat Ensemble. This complex of gorgeous, historical structures contains mausoleums, mosques, and a khanaqa. Khanaqas are buildings designed to be a sort of spiritual retreat for members of the Sufi brotherhood. Construction on the complex took place between the 11th and 17th centuries. You will surely like the darker shades of teal and brown in the brickwork and tiles.
One thing that makes this complex so special, despite its aesthetic beauty, is that it is the final resting place of members of the Sayyid Dynasty of Termez. The members of this dynasty were descendants of Muhammad, the famous prophet.
The crypt beneath the mausoleum’s dome is among the oldest parts of the complex. The people buried there were so influential that even Genghis Khan chose not to destroy the complex when he demolished the surrounding city. 
Interestingly, though the complex was built during the Islamic Period, its architects added symbols from other religions, including Buddhism and Zoroastrianism.
There’s also lots of beautiful, very specific brick work that can only be found at Sultan Saodat Ensemble and Jakurgan Minaret. 


Kyrk Kyz Fortress 
Another of the top things to see and do in Termez is visit Kirk Kiz. As stunning as its 11th-century ruins are, one of the most interesting things about it is that researchers don’t agree on what its purpose was.
Kyrk Kyz means “40 girls” in Uzbek, and it’s named after the 40 cells it contains and also after the legend of 40 Amazon girls who defended the fortress from invasion.
Archaeologists have excavated the site since 2016, but some believe it was a palace, while others think it served as an abbey, a caravanserai, or a fortress.
The square-shaped complex is 54 meters long on each side and made of raw brick. Because its four corners were guarded by towers, it looked more like a fortress to me. There’s even a local legend that 40 women, under the leadership of a princess named Gulaim, fought off nomadic raiders from the safety of the complex.
Inside the complex are a 15-room residency and an open-air central courtyard. Archaeologists also disagree on whether or not the courtyard was once covered by a dome. Much of the building is in ruins, but it somehow doesn’t take away from its grandeur.
Also on the grounds is a wish tree, where visiting women tie cloths around its branches so God will grand their wishes. Whether you choose to make a wish or not, visiting Kirk Kiz fortress is among the top things to see and do in Termez.


Fayaz Tepa Buddhist Monastery
Fayaz Tepa, also Fayoz-Tepe, is a Buddhist archaeological site in the Central Asia region of Bactria, in the Termez oasis near the city of Termez in southern Uzbekistan. The foundations of the site date to the 1st century CE, with a peak of activity around the 3rd and 4th centuries during the Kushan period.
Any exploration of Termez will likely center around its historical and archaeological sites, and one of its most fascinating is Fayaz-Tepe. This ancient Buddhist monastery and UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the time of the Kushan Empire. As the empire spread, so did Buddhism, which made its way up from Punjab eventually all the way to China and Japan.
One of the settlements in Kushan Bactria was Fayaz-Tepe, a Buddhist settlement that consisted of a large stupa and a monastery. A shepherd discovered Fayaz-Tepe in 1968, and the Soviet government excavated it soon afterward. The stupa you see upon your approach was actually built to protect the original mud stupa inside.
You have to get the watcher to open the gate to get inside to take a look around. It’s dark and cramped, but it’s worth the trouble. You can really feel the ancient history inside it.
Elsewhere on the grounds, you’ll find the ruins of the monastery, which include what is left of the dormitories, kitchen, and sauna. You’ll find a central courtyard lined with pillars near the dormitories as well as the weathered remnants of the rooms.
Each room has a small hole in a wall where they placed Buddha statues to pray to. However, I don’t advise touching anything. The walls of this site crumble at the slightest touch and have been deteriorating for a while due to exposure to the elements.
But even in its deteriorating state, it’s plain as day that this was a magnificent complex in its heyday. It’s larger than I had initially thought and is a dream to explore. The ruins of the sauna especially impressed me. The monks here used mud pipes to capture water from the nearby river to supply the sauna and complex as a whole.
It’s amazing what the ancient monks were able to accomplish here. If you love history as much as I do, visiting Fayaz-Tepe is easily one of the top things to see and do in Termez.

Khakim At-Termezi Complex
Al Khakim at-Termizi is the largest representative of Central Asian Sufism, the author of about eighty works. For the depth of his knowledge and broad-mindedness, he received the honorary nickname al-Khakim (wise).
To visit Termez’s holiest site, you’ll have to check out the Al-Hakim Al-Termezi. Named after Termez’s patron saint, Al-Hakim, this 15th-century complex used to be a mosque. It’s surrounded by a lush, green garden featuring lots of trees and vibrant flowers. The greenery attracts lots of flies and dragonflies.
On the site is the Mausoleum of Al-Hakim Al-Termezi. It was built between the 10th and 15th centuries, though graves from the 17th-19th centuries can be seen outside. Al-Hakim, also an author and scholar, was considered one of the most important figures in Islamic history.
The interior of his mausoleum, with its white marble walls and intricate blue-and-gold designs, is fitting for a man of his stature and influence.
I also really liked the scripture from the Koran, which adorns the walls. The tomb was larger and wider than others I had seen on my trip.
Another interesting feature of Al-Hakim Al-Termezi is the cave system outside. People venture inside to pray. It’s also a good spot to beat the Uzbek heat, as it’s at least 20 or 30 degrees cooler in there.

Archeological Museum
As a major history and archaeology buff, your list of things to see and do in Termez has to include a stop at the Archaeological Museum of Termez. This museum which focuses mostly on the Graeco-Bactrian and Kushan eras, opened on the 2,500th anniversary of Termez in 2002.
The Termez Archaeological Museum is considered to be the only specialized museum in the Central Asian region. In the entrance hall of the museum there are unique statues made of stone and plaster, a stone pool and large ceramic vessels (hums) of various historical eras. A relief map of the region is also exhibited here, where 20 archaeological sites that belong to different periods of the region’s history are indicated.
The building’s exterior may look more like a mosque than a museum, but inside you’ll find over 40,000 antiques from the Bronze Age all the way up to the 15th century!
On the ground floor, you’ll find a helpful map of the Surxondaryo Region, as well as an 11th-century vase, a bathtub from the 4th century BC. You couldn’t help but marvel at the pottery and statues there, as well as a stone stele of writing from the Koran.
If the first level is impressive, it’s nothing compared to what awaits visitors on the second floor. You’ll find more pottery sherds there, as well as tools, weapons, and paintings. Bones belonging to an ancient Uzbek can also be seen, as well as 10th-century ceramic water pipes, vases, bells, and coin
In addition, there are also specially equipped halls for displaying precious metals and stones.
Termez Archaeological Museum is one of the few museums that offer visitors such a selection of exhibits from the ancient period of Central Asia. Many of the finds are unique and one of a kind. The museum conducts excursions in Uzbek, Russian, Tajik, Persian and English. A fascinating and informative tour will appeal to visitors. Visitors to the museum will get a lot of pleasure going to the world of archeology.

Kampyr Tepe
The vast archeological site of Kampyr Tepe sits on the right bank of the Amu Darya — the Oxus River of antiquity — which divides Uzbekistan from Afghanistan. Archaeologists have been digging here since the 1970s, and in summer 2019 finally unearthed enough evidence to announce convincingly that Kampir Tepe was none other than Alexandria on the Oxus, an ancient city built by Alexander the Great.
Tourists rarely come to remote Kampir Tepe, so those who do get to site to themselves. It’s like a Central Asian Pompeii: you can still walk the streets, enter rooms, and climb atop the city walls. It’s likely that the city was abandoned when the river changed its course, and each season the archaeologists are finding more of its secrets.

Jarkurgan Minaret
A little over four miles outside the charming town of Jakurgan is the area’s most famous landmark, Jarkurgan Minaret. Built between 1107 and 1109 by the architect Ali ibn Muhammad Serakhsi, it is the oldest minaret in Central Asia.
The minaret that stands today is only a fraction of its former self. Though the tower was originally over 160 feet tall, only its lower 72 feet remain. A large mosque once stood nearby, but it too was destroyed.
However, even considerably shorter than it should have been, it is still spectacular. The minaret’s architecture is unique. The minaret features sixteen rounded semi-columns around its base, all of which are inlaid with intricate herringbone brickwork.  Its style was only replicated in one other place, the Sultan Saodat Ensemble near Termez.
After you marvel at Jarkurgan Minaret from the ground, we recommend climbing it to view the area from above. The 12th-century staircase isn’t the easiest to navigate. The stairs are tiny and the climb is steep. But once you emerge at the top, you’ll be greeted with the epic views of the town and surrounding farmland. It will be one of your favorite things to see and do in Termez.



Dalverzin Tepe
Dalverzin Tepe, a large site in southern Uzbekistan located not far from the bank of the Surkhandarya river near Denau, a small city approximately 60 km northeast of Termez.
Dal'verzin Tepe is one of the most important sites of ancient Northern Bactria. The place is situated in the Middle Surkhan Valley, about 7 km to the north of modern Shurtshi (Uzbekistan). Dalverzin-Tepe consists of a citadel, a rectangular shape of shakhristan and an urban extension. During excavations, craft and pottery workshops were discovered. In 1972, a treasure was found with gold bracelets, earrings, pendants and other products of ancient jewelers. 
Archaeologically, Dalverzin Tepe is an almost “sterile” ancient city, the excavations of which make it possible to study urban planning features, fortification, architecture, art and material culture of Northern Bactria, especially for the time of the Great Kushans.
Not only the objects found, but legends and tales give an idea of the ancient city of Dalverzin Tepe, as a once flourishing city.
Part of the archaeological collection of Dalverzin Tepe was exhibited at exhibitions in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, the USA, Malaysia, and the Republic of Korea.

Zurmala Stupa
A few km outside of Termez along the M39 highway stands the Zurmala stupa. It is a brick tower, the remnant of the largest Buddhist stupa in the area and possibly the oldest construction still standing in Uzbekistan.
The Zurmala Buddhist stupa - today it is a monument preserved to a height of more than 12 meters, having a diameter of 14.5 m. In an area extremely rich in Buddhist antiquities, it is, nevertheless, one of the most outstanding archaeological sites of a cult character. Finds from last year rekindled interest in Zurmala.
It was built in the Kushan era, around the 1st-2nd centuries. AD, when Buddhism was widespread in the Central Asian region.
Zurmala was the first Buddhist monument discovered in Central Asia at the beginning of the 20th century. Its belonging to Buddhist religious buildings was determined back in 1927 by A. Strelkov, a member of the scientific expedition of the Museum of Oriental Cultures.

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