Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Uzbekistan | Khwarezm | Janpiq Qala

From Gyaur Qala we drove southeastward 4.5 miles to Janpiq Qala. Built in the ninth or tenth century a.d. during an economic boom in Khwarezm, it was situated on the site of an older fortress dating back to the period between the fourth and first centuries b.c. The walled city, measuring 1500 feet long and up to a thousand feet wide, developed into a substantial craft center with quarters devoted to weaving, stone carving, blacksmithing, and the manufacture of glass and pottery. It was also an important trade entrepôt on the Amu Darya where goods from China, India, Egypt, and the Volga River and Black Sea regions all washed up. Russian researchers have suggested that a large breach in the southern wall was made by the besieging Mongols when they attacked Khwarezm in the winter of 1220-1221, perhaps with a huge battering ram. How much other damage the city suffered at the hands of the Mongols is unclear, but the city did recover and it eventually regained much of its former prominence (the breach in the southern wall was repaired). The city was attacked yet again by Amir Timur (Tamerlane) when he swept through the area in 1388. It never recovered from this onslaught, but the substantial ruins of the fortress and citadel walls have survived to the present day. 
Janpiq Qala (click on photos for enlargements)
Eastern wall of the fortress

Tower at the northeast corner of the fortress
Northern Wall
Northern Wall
Western Wall
Western Wall
Remains of tower in the wall
Eastern Wall
Tower in Eastern Wall
Outside of wall showing the opening allegedly made by the Mongols
Inside of wall showing the opening allegedly made by the Mongols
Entranceway from the outside
Entranceway from the inside
Southern Wall
Interior of the fortress 
Interior of the fortress 
 Ruins of Citadel 
 Ruins of Citadel 
 Ruins of Citadel 
Ruins of Citadel

4 comments:

  1. great post as usual. Don, have you read "Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present" by Christopher Beckwith?

    Jean emmanuel

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I have Beckwith’s Silk Road book in both a hard-copy version for my Scriptorium and a Kindle version for traveling. I also have his other two books.

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  3. Have you travelled to cities like Uzbekistan, Iraq, Basrah etc,. a lot?

    I am interested in any more info. + pictures you have of famous Muslim scholars/saints/Islamic schools you've visited and have taken pics of...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Adeeb—I have written about a few. Check the “Uzbekistan” tag for examples.

    ReplyDelete