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Settlement Barak tam 1.

Trip to Karakalpakstan.

"Lands of ancient irrigation", vast areas of the desert, bearing traces of irrigation and abounding in ruins, have been known in Central Asia, and in particular in the parts of the Kyzyl-Kum and Kara-Kum surrounding the Khorezm oasis, for a long time. They were celebrated by numerous travelers. A significant part of them was plotted on geographic maps. The very origin of these lands, the reasons for their desolation have long worried not only historians, but also geographers and geologists, making up one of the historical and geographical mysteries of ancient Central Asia”.

S.P. Tolstov. "Along the ancient deltas of the Oxus and Yaxart." Eastern literature. 1962.

Express tours in Karakalpakstan.

The settlement of Barak tam 1 (Bayrok), is located in the eastern part of the Kyzylkum desert, 21.1 kilometers to the west and slightly south of the small village of Karantakyr, 112.1 kilometers to the northeast from the village of Takhtakupyr, 53 kilometers to the north. east of the Karazhengeldy reservoir in the Takhtakupyr region of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.
“The best preserved castle is Barak tam 1, which was subjected to excavations (the head of the detachment E. Ye. Nerazik). Barrack there 1 is a two-story building, the lower floor of which, consisting of a number of vaulted rooms, was connected to the upper one by means of a ramp.
This building did not follow the ancient Khorezm traditions in everything, meeting, apparently, the everyday and aesthetic needs of the owners of the castle - the Khionite leaders, who built it on the northeastern outskirts of Khorezm at the turn of the IVth and Vth centuries.
The building was built of adobe bricks of typical antique Khorezm sizes, but the details of its layout differ significantly from those of Khorezm structures. Of particular interest is the ceremonial hall located on the top floor with huge niches with circular arches on the walls and a large sufa.
It is curious that the Sufa, as an architectural detail, appears in the Khorezm architecture only in the Afrigid period; in the monuments of the "barbarian" tribes (Apasiacs, Tochars), we meet her much earlier, at the end of the 1st millennium BC.
It is quite clear that if the "barbarian" Chionite-Ephthalite khums are the prototype of the Afrigid ones, then the Chionite-Ephthalian castle Barak-tam is an undoubted prototype of the Afrigid castles. The sufas of the ceremonial hall were decorated with carpets; their traces were imprinted on the surface of the sufas.
In the room adjoining the hall, fragments of a woolen pile carpet were found; its threads were dyed with vegetable dyes in blue, red, pink and golden colors. The central field of the carpet was filled with some kind of plot composition, of which only a small part has survived.
In the center of the hall there was a kind of altar-hearth in the form of a truncated inverted pyramid, laid out of adobe bricks. The overlap of the hall was made up of two criss-crossing powerful arches, composed of two rows of adobe bricks.
The arches were much higher than the castle walls. There is no sign of a flat wooden floor. This suggests that the four corners of the hall were covered with cloth or felt carried away by the residents as they left the castle. On the whole, this is a kind of yurt, but not with a wooden, but with a mud frame, a yurt that, however, repeats all the main features of a nomadic dwelling.
S.P. Tolstov. "Along the ancient deltas of the Oxus and Yaxart." Eastern literature. 1962.

The settlement of Barak tam dates back to the end of the IVth - Vth centuries AD, consisted of several dozen three-four-room one-story adobe houses. In the center of the settlement, the ruins of three large buildings made of adobe bricks, distinguished by their peculiar architecture, still rise.
The largest building was named Barak tam 1. The main part of the area of ​​its upper floor, where a steep ramp led, was occupied by a large ceremonial hall. Its overlap was supported by two mud brick arches over the center of the hall.
In the walls, opposite each other, there were vast arched niches, which overlooked wide brick sufas that went around three sides of the hall. Once upon a time, judging by the finds of fragments and prints of paints, they were covered with multi-colored carpets.
In the center of the room was a brick stand for an altar, over which a fire burned during a ritual unknown to us. In the architecture of Barak tam 1, traces of the influence of both Khorezm itself and more remote regions of Central Asia are noticeable.
Some constructive and decorative techniques that give the architecture of the building originality make it possible to define this art as a mixture of various Central Asian architectural schools. The building was built by order of a wealthy cattle breeder, whose tastes are captured in the solution of the original ceiling of the hall, where the tradition of the yurt, the dwelling of nomads, familiar to the owner of the settlement, is reproduced in clay.
The described complex was left by the population, which was mainly engaged in cattle breeding, and among these semi-sedentary herders there is a sharp social differentiation, which is reflected in different types of dwellings.
Most of the ruins on the right bank are associated with images of Karakalpak and Kazakh legends. So, with a complex of ruins of the III - IV centuries. n. e Barak tam, on the far northeastern outskirts of Karakalpakia, near the borders of Kazakhstan, there is a legend about King Barak.
In the best-preserved castle of this complex, the king himself once lived, in another castle - his hunting bird, a huge eagle. The king was cruel and stubborn. One day his eagle was visited by his mother - the mythical giant bird Angka.
Barack was going to hunt that day. In vain did the confidants persuade him not to go, not to irritate the eagle. He disobeyed them. And then the offended eagle lifted him with his claws together with his horse high into the sky and threw him from a height to the ground.
Barak corpse was buried in his castle, the area was desolate, and since then the caravans have avoided entering the cursed place. 
Geographic coordinates of settlement of Barak tam 1: N43 ° 20'34.51 "E61 ° 35'52.63"


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