Kunya Urgench


Kunya Urgench was an ancient city. As early as at the beginning of the 1st century AD, Chinese sources mention the city of Yue-gan, also known as Urgench. In 712 the Arabs overthrew Khorezm, and Kunya Urgench took its Arabic name Dgurdganiya or Gurganj. In 995, Gurganj became Khorezm Shah’s state capital and the second city after Bukhara – capital of Samanids. It was a famous seat of learning during the reign of Khorezm Shahs. The prominent scientists like Avicenna, Al-Beruni and the traveler Ibn Battuta spent some time in Gurganj.
In 1221, after a half-year struggle, the city was captured and destroyed by the Mongols. Nevertheless, due to its beneficial position, Gurganj revived rapidly and retained its importance of a trade and administrative center. In 1388 Tamerlane, considering the city as a rival to Samarkand, completely destroyed the city. Attempts to rebuild the city started in 1391 and continued on.
Kunya Urgench revived after the irrigation channel of Khan-Yab was built in 1831.

Sightseeing and excursion

Kunya Urgench city tour:

Turabek Khanum Mausoleum – was built in the middle of the 14th century for the Mongol princess Turabek. It is a structure with twelve-sided sanctuaries with honeycomb decorations and tiling. On the sparkling mosaic, there are 365 sections, symbolizing the days of the year; 24 arches, for the hours of the day; 12 bigger arches for the months of the year; and four windows for the weeks of the month – some sources suggest 4 seasons a year.

Kutlug Timur Minaret was built in the 1320s, and still survives, even though the mosque that it guarded is long since gone. The highest minaret (67m) in Central Asia is decorated with bands of brick, now leaning noticeably.

Arslan II Mausoleum is the oldest building in Kunya Urgench with 12-faced conical dome and the floral terracotta moulding on the facade.

Najmeddin Kubra Mausoleum – is the holiest place in Kunya Urgench. Najmeddin Kubra was a famous 12th – 13th century Sufi spiritual leader and poet who founded the Sufi Kubra order. The Mongols beheaded him. When he was buried, they made two tombs; one is for his body and one for his head.

Sultan Ali Mausoleum – was erected in 1580 for Sultan Ali who ruled in Khorezm in the 16th century.