Shemakha Kala

Shemakha Kala

Shemakha Kala (Or Tersek) was a large settlement and a center of trade and crafts of Khorezm in the 13th-14th centuries. It is located in the South-East part of the Ustyurt plateau, about 50 km west of Kunya-Urgench, Tashauz region of Turkmenistan just next to the border with Uzbekistan. The time of the establishment is unknown but the deserted area is full of ruins of a large citadel and an old city. 

The sight was investigated under the leadership of S.P. Tolstov (a soviet archeologist) in 1946 and 1948. According to the findings, Shemakha-Kala was divided into two parts. The oldest part had straight streets intersecting and it was fortified with an adobe wall with towers and gates on the south side. The second outlying quarters arose in the Golden Horde time and did not have a regular layout. It is assumed that there was a cathedral,  mosque and houses of the nobility in the city center that were built from well-worked stone blocks. The outskirts were occupied by craft quarters (potters, metallurgists). There was also a large suburban settlement at the foot of the plateau.

There is not sufficient information yet about visiting the site for tourism purposes. If you are interested in visiting the site, you should check the current position with a Turkmen travel agent when applying for your tourist visa. Definately a place out of the beaten path though! There is also another old ruined and more famous city called Davkesen just few kilometers to the west, but onfortunately it has also been lately forbidden to be visited by tourists.

Page updated 9.3.2021

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