Mizdakhan Necropolis


On a hill 20km west of Nukus, near Hojeli, are the remains of ancient Mizdakhan, once the second-largest city in Khorezm. Inhabited from the 4th century BC until the 14th century AD, Mizdakhan remained a sacred place even after Timur (Tamerlane) destroyed it; tombs and mosques continued to be built here right up to the 20th century.

The most impressive of the tombs is the restored underground vault of the Mausoleum of Mazlum Khan Slu, dating from the 12th to 14th centuries, and the seven-domed Mausoleum of Shamun Nabi.

On the neighbouring hill towards the Turkmen border are the remains of a 4th- to 3rd-century BC fortress called Gyaur-Qala, which is worth checking out if you missed the forts of Ellik Kala.

To get here, take a shared taxi or minivan from Nukus' Konye Qala bus stand to Hojeli (5000S, 20 minutes), crossing the Amu-Darya (Oxus River) en route. From Hojeli take a shared taxi (2000/8000S per seat/car) bound for the Turkmen border and get off after 8km in Mizdakhan. A private taxi from Nukus will cost around 50,000S return with waiting time.