Termez - Buddhist center
Ustyurt is a plateau in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, located between the Mangyshlak and the Gulf of Kara-Bogaz-Gol in the west, the Aral Sea and Amu Darya delta in the east. The Ustyurt Plateau is a clay and stony desert with the total area of about 200 000 km². Also, there are areas of sandy desert. Very often Ustyurt is called the boundary separating Europe from Asia. The Ustyurt Plateau occupies a huge area between the Aral and Caspian Seas, and has a characteristic feature: the escarpment, a steep inaccessible slope with the height of about 150 m (the East Escarpment facing towards the Aral Sea, reaches 190 m). According to scientists, Ustyurt is the bottom of a dried-up sea, which existed here in the early and middle Cenozoic Era (21 million years ago).
Termez is located on the right bank of the Amu Darya river and is one of the ancient cities of Central Asia. The city evolved throughout the history on different places around the modern city, reflecting multiple cultural layers depicted in remains of historical sites.
The cultural heritage that was developed from the inception of the city was completely destroyed by Genghis-Khan in 1220, after the city refused to surrender peacefully.
A new city was erected to the east of the old town. Rui Gonzales de Klaviho, the ambassador sent by Castilian King Henry III to Amir Temur, gave the best description of this new town: “entering the city, we were going so long crossing squares and crowded streets that we came home tired and angry.
A new location, established in the XIX century, had been growing to the south of the late medieval location, closer to the Amu Darya. Before it was destroyed by Genghis Khan, Buddhism played a considerable part in the ideology of ancient Termez for seven centuries I – VII (AD). Several Buddhist sites were uncovered during the archeological works around the city which remind about the days when Termez was one of the Buddhist centers.