boldumsaz Fortress

Boldumsaz Fortress

Fortress Boldumsaz lies around 28km from Dashoguz and two kilometers further on from the Boldumsaz town.  The square plateau fortress stands on the north of the road and clearly visible if you stop on the road. Some historians identify this place with the medieval town of Nyzvar, though this attribution is disputed. Destroyed by the Mongols, the place was later resettled, now known by its present name, which scholars believe to mean ‘Fortress in a Marshy Place’.

A local legend offers a more colorful description of how the fortress received its name. A khan of Khiva determined to build the tallest and most beautiful minaret in the world (different versions of the legend place this at Khiva or Konye-Urgench). The khan hired a fine architect to build it. The minaret rightfully took shape, the architect remaining at the top of this growing structure day and night as he worked on his masterpiece. The khan was a kind man and decided to kill the architects once they complete the minaret, so they will not build another beautiful structure for anyone else. The architect’s assistant overheard the khan’s plotting and etched a message of warning to the architect on a brick. The resourceful architect sent down for the materials he needed to fashion a pair of wings and, on completion of the minaret, flew from the top to evade the khan’s men. The architect landed at this fortress, exclaiming as he touched the ground: ‘Safe and sound!’ The name ‘Boldumsaz’ is an approximation of the latter expression in Turkmen, and the fortress has been so named ever since. Residents say that an owl seen flying over the ruins of the fortress in the evening is the architect’s ghost.


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