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Fortress of Alexander the Great in Nurata

Fortress of Alexander the Great, Nurata

The Nur fortress is a historical monument of antiquity, which is located near the sacred source "Chashma". The chronicles mention the old name of the fortress "Nuri Bukhoro" literally translated as "Light of Bukhara".

According to historians, the fortress was built many centuries before our era. The first mentions of it date back to 329-327 BC, when during the invasion of Alexander the Great the fortress was rebuilt and its length was increased by 22 km.

Nur - now Nurata, a locality and city located northeast of the city of Navoi. The city is located on the northern slope of the western spurs of the Nurata ridge on the caravan route connecting the Zarafshan valley with the main cities of Bukhara and Samarkand and with the regions of South Kazakhstan, Semirechye, etc. It was a border fortress and a large village on the border with the steppe, an important trade hub and a military strategic point protected by powerful fortifications.

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An ancient fortress from the south rises above the city, under it is a large spring and a reservoir, from where the ditches of Nurata originate, to the north was the shakhristan, which has now been swallowed up by the modern city quarters. As in ancient times, the Nura oasis, together with the city, was surrounded by a defensive wall. Almost square in plan (about 7x7 km), it had a single entrance on the north side, opposite the city gates. Its remains can be seen on maps of the mid-twentieth century. Nur as a fortification is mentioned in the history of the struggle of Abu Ibrahim Ismail for the throne in 1004.

At the beginning of 1220, the army of Genghis Khan approached Nur, striving for Bukhara. Its appearance under the walls of the city was so unexpected that the inhabitants in the darkness of the night mistook the Mongols for a caravan that had arrived from afar.

And in subsequent times Nur remained the gateway to Bukhara. The troops of Amir Temur and other rulers passed through it, and in times of peace - trade caravans, ambassadors, travelers.

Until the beginning of the XX century. Nurata was a trade and handicraft town bordering on the steppe with a powerful fortress, where a bek, a protege of the Bukhara emir, sat.

The main street of the city, starting from the city gates, was a covered market, surrounded by trade and craft rows; there the gates of numerous caravanserais were opened, where merchants with goods remained. They carried out wholesale trade in grain, leather, dried fruits, karakul skins, manufactory, footwear, cattle, etc. The territory of the city consisted of four densely built-up parts, each of which included small quarters - guzars. Each block housed a parish mosque for daily five-time prayers.

Several large guzars had two mosques each, and the quarters were supplied with water through an irrigation ditch that ran from quarter to quarter. Irrigation of lands outside the city was carried out by a system of kariz.

The technical layout of the walls and towers of the fortress is very interesting. The main part of the fortress wall is directed up the mountain. At the top of the mountain there was a tower, which was an observation point. In total, the fortress consisted of seven towers. In addition, there was an underground tunnel to the source of drinking water. It is interesting that if the seven towers of the Nur fortress are presented upside down, while the upper tower is directed to the polar star, then the model of the constellation "Ursa Minor" is obtained.

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