In the II-IV centuries AD the heart of Buddhist culture was the Karatepa complex. It got its name "Black Hills" for being built on sandstone hills. The area of the Karatepa complex was over seven hectares in the northwestern part of Old Termez. Throughout this territory, there were a large number of monasteries and temples, represented by both ground and cave buildings. In the sandy hills, the locals dug huge caves, and on the hilly slopes they built temples and statues from compressed clay or bricks.
During excavations, archaeologists managed to find a large number of paintings of that time, and even some fragments of frescoes have survived in some temples. All drawings have a high spiritual meaning. One example is the representation of the Buddha, who overcame all worldly temptations and obstacles: greed, laziness, retribution, pride, ill will, and then was able to reach the 7th level of Ashtanga Yoga. The work was done with glue paints, which made it possible to convey the essence of the popularity of earthly desires. In the Karatepa complex there were many stupas (these are structures in the form of a dome, where relics were kept, without an approach to the middle), built of clay and sand. The researchers also discovered a large number of stone sculptures of the Buddha in the Black Hills.
During the Kushan Empire (1st-3rd centuries AD), Karatepa was called "Khadevakavihara", which translated means "Tsar's monastery." Buddhism was also on the rise during this period, but already in the IV-V centuries. n. e. many buildings of the complex are empty, abandoned and do not function. Caves are used for burials or brick entrances. Yet few structures remained Buddhist sanctuaries until the 4th century. n. e. Already in the IX-XII centuries. n. e. half-collapsed and buried caves became a refuge for hermits-Sufis.
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