Termez is along the border with Afghanistan (the Amu Darya or Oxus river) and is a busy transport hub for goods entering and leaving Afghanistan due to the Friendship Bridge, built by the Soviet Union.
Old Termez lies 12 km west of the modern center. Alexander the Great is credited as the founder of the city, though there is little evidence of his passage. The stuff of the Hellenistic period may still be buried under the layers of the Kushan period, when the settlement grew in importance. Two sites in the vicinity, Shor tepe and Kampyr tepe, seem to have got more importance under Achaemenid and Hellenistic rule. The latter was a fortified city at Alexander's time.
Since from the early days of the unified empire of Kanishka I (127–163), Old Termez, controlling a strategic position on the north bank of the Oxus at its junction with the Surkhan Darya, became an important center on the Silk Road and the caravan trade brought Buddhism' religious precepts along with the distinctive art forms of Gandhara style. In 689 AD the city fell to Arab Muslim invaders, replaced by the 11th century and onwards by Turkic tribes. Karakhanids erected the domed mausoleum over the grave of 9th century mystic Al Hakim At-Termizi.
In 1218 Shah Muhammad II of Khwarezm ordered the execution of Mongol envoys seeking to establish trade relations. As a result Mongol armies crossed the Amur Darya, and, after a two-day siege, razed to the ground Old Termez in their way to Urgench. The city was rebuilt in a new relocation few miles eastwards.
Top Sights of Termez