Kafir-kala (Uzbekistan)

Kafir-kala
Kafir-kala is located in West and Central Asia
Kafir-kala
Kafir-kala
Location of Kafir-kala
Kafir-kala is located in Uzbekistan
Kafir-kala
Kafir-kala
Kafir-kala (Uzbekistan)
Kafir-kala is located in Bactria
Kafir-kala
Kafir-kala
Kafir-kala (Bactria)

Coordinates: 39°34′19″N 67°01′17″E / 39.572013°N 67.021506°E / 39.572013; 67.021506 Kafir-kala ("Fortress of the infidels") is an ancient fortress 12 kilometers south of the city center of Samarkand in Uzbekistan, protecting the southern border of the Samarkand oasis.[2] It consists in a central citadel built in mud-bricks and measuring 75 × 75 meters at its base has six towers and is surrounded by a moat, still visible today.[2] Living quarters were located outside the citadel.[2]

Ruins

The citadel was first occupied by the Kidarites in the 4th-5th century CE, whose coinage and bullae have been found.[3][4] A large amount of seals were discovered in Kafir Kala, including seals associated to the Kidarites, such as the one mentioning “the king of the Oghlar Huns, the great Kushanshah, the ǝfšyan of Samarkand.”[5]

Many examples of coinage were excavated in Kafir-kala, which also show the transition from Sogdian to Islamic rule in the area of Samarkand with good precision.[6]

Wooden gate

Reconstruction of the Kafir Kala gate by Sultanova (2017).[7]

A calcinated wooden gate with elaborate decorations was discovered in 2017 in the throne room of the ruins of Kafir-kala, and was probably the gate to the throne room itself. The sculptures on the door represent adorations scenes for the goddess Nana, who stand centrally on a lion throne.[8]

The adorants are dressed in knee-length tunics, with long boots over trousers, suggesting clothing styles similar to those found in the paintings of Penjikent, and wear shoulder ribbons which have been associated with Hephthalites nobility.[8] The gate is dated to the first half of the 6th century CE (500-550 CE), and the destruction of the palace is attributed to the Islamic conquest of Samarkand in 712 CE.[8][10]

Some details of the attendants

Artifacts

Zoroastrian ossuary, 6-7th century CE, Kafir Kala, Uzbekistan.[11]

A Zoroastrian ossuary (with the shape of a cross, but unrelated to Christianity), dated 6-7th century CE, was also discovered in Kafir Kala.[11] Numerous seals and pottery items have also been found.

References

  1. ^ "Antiquities of Samarkand. Kurgan in the Vicinity of Samarkand. Location of Kafir Kala". www.wdl.org. 1868.
  2. ^ a b c Mantellini, Simone (2012). "Change and Continuity in the Samarkand Oasis: Evidence for the Islamic Conquest from the Citadel of Kafir Kala". Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology. 7: 227–253. doi:10.1484/J.JIAAA.4.2017012.
  3. ^ "Administration, law and urban organization in the Late Antique and Early Medieval period". Universitetet i Bergen (in Norwegian Bokmål).
  4. ^ "The Kidarites in Bactria". pro.geo.univie.ac.at. Coin Cabinet of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.
  5. ^ Shenkar, M. "The Origin of the Sogdian Civic Communities (nāf)". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 63, 3: 357–388. Thanks to recently published seal impressions from Kafir Kala near Samarkand, we know that some time around the fifth century, Samarkand had a ruler of Hunnic descent, who used the Bactrian language and the title “the king of the Oghlar Huns, the great Kushanshah, the ǝfšyan of Samarkand.
  6. ^ Gariboldi, Andrea. "NUMISMATIC FINDS FROM KAFIR KALA AS EVIDENCE OF THE ISLAMIC TRANSITION IN SAMARKAND" (PDF). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Begmatov, Alisher (1 January 2020). "New Discoveries from Kafir-kala: Coins, Sealings, and Wooden Carvings (introduction, and drawings of wooden carvings)". Acta Asiatica 119: 13.
  8. ^ a b c Frantz, Grenet (2022). Splendeurs des oasis d'Ouzbékistan. Paris: Louvre Editions. pp. 149–153. ISBN 978-8412527858.
  9. ^ "Splendeurs des oasis dOuzbekistan 2022" (PDF).
  10. ^ Begmatov, Alisher (1 January 2020). "New Discoveries from Kafir-kala: Coins, Sealings, and Wooden Carvings (introduction, and drawings of wooden carvings)". Acta Asiatica 119: 13.
  11. ^ a b Frantz, Grenet (2022). Splendeurs des oasis d'Ouzbékistan. Paris: Louvre Editions. p. 155. ISBN 978-8412527858.

External links

  • Location map of sites around Samarkand

Further reading

  • Mantellini, Simone; Berdimuradov, Amruddin (2005). "Archaeological Explorations in the Sogdian Fortress of Kafir Kala (Samarkand Region, Republic of Uzbekistan)". Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia. 11 (1–2): 107–132. doi:10.1163/1570057054352934. hdl:11585/395975.
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