The Kirk Kiz fortress is one of the most interesting ancient sights of Termez.
At present, the fortress is practically destroyed, but even the ruins that appear today to the eyes of tourists make it possible to compose a picture of the former greatness of the building and marvel at the skill of ancient architects.
The exact dates of the construction of the fortress and the names of the masters have not survived to this day. Historians date the construction of the Kirk Keyes fortress to the 9th century. Presumably, it was built by the Zoroastrians, but if we take into account that at that time Termez was a Muslim city called Shahri-Gulgal (which translates as "The Noisy City"), it is likely that Kirk Kiz was built by the Arabs. The citadel was destroyed, probably, during the campaign of Genghis Khan.
Scientists' disputes also concern the purpose of the structure: at different times Kirk Keys was considered a palace, monastery, caravanserai, khanaka or even a closed educational institution.
Most often, Kirk Keys is called a fortress: powerful walls with watchtowers speak of the defensive purpose of the structure. The name "Kirk Keyes" is translated as "Forty Maidens" and legends associate it with the folk tale of the brave princess Gulaim and her army, which consisted of forty girls who defended the fortress from the attacking nomads. In those days, there were frequent cases when girls united in detachments and defended the city from external enemies on a par with male warriors. In addition, the number forty refers to the number of citadel towers used to defend the structure.
Another version says that within the walls of Kirk Kiz there was a female madrasah or a female Sufi khanaka - a rare, but still sometimes found institution in Central Asia. This version is supported by some archaeologists, who believe that the plan of the construction, namely the presence of a large number of identical small rooms, may indicate that they both studied and lived here at the same time. The mention that the school was female is contained in the writings of the chronicler Ahmad ibn Muhammad Sagani Usturlobi. According to his memoirs, forty girls were brought up in the women's madrasah, and it was led by a woman, extremely educated for her era, Ruhaida binti Varrok.
The most common version is that the fortress was the ruler's country residence, in which he rested from the noise of the city and state affairs. In defense of this version, the location of the fortress speaks: in the southern suburb of ancient Termez, far beyond the city center.
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