Terra of silence. The Forgotten Civilization of Ancient Khorezm

Organizers: Gallery "Bonum Factum"

General partner: Swiss Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Switzerland in Uzbekistan

The project presents archival photographs, modern photographs, videos:


  • Photo-film archive of the first Uzbek photographer and cinema Khudaibergan Divanov (1879-1938), which celebrates this year the 140th anniversary of his birth;

  • Cinema archive of the period 1930-1960;

  • Archival film-photo materials of the educational media project "Film Studio" (author and director Eldjon Abbasov, scientific consultant Nigora Karimova);

  • Photographs by contemporary authors: Aitor Lara (Spain), Victor An (Uzbekistan), Pavel Kim (Uzbekistan).

In recent years, people around the world are beginning to pay more and more attention to their identity - national, racial, gender, religious, territorial.

Central Asia in the Middle Ages was a center of education, science and culture. Uzbekistan occupies a key place in Central Asia. It includes almost all the historical centers of state formations of the region — from Khorezm in the west to Ferghana in the east, from Tashkent in the north to Termez in the south.

 At the beginning of the XX century. The peoples of Central Asia named themselves by the name of the regions and cities in which they lived. For example, Khiva, Bukhara, Kokand, Andijan, Ferghana, Tashkent, etc. After the revolutionary coups, the lands of Central Asia were divided into administrative parts: Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Turkmens, Kyrgyz, Karakalpaks and Tajiks, and gained independent formations as part of the young Soviet state. The map of Central Asia was redrawn so that the population of the Turkestan Territory could be conveniently managed geographically, geographically and administratively. Such a decision radically changed the situation in the region.

@Aitor Lara

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent states, freely developing peoples, realizing themselves as a nation, considered it necessary to write a new history of their people. Original thoughts and ideas began to appear, special concepts of building their statehood were developed. In order to assess their validity and scientific significance, it is necessary to know the historical roots well. And this is one of the urgent problems today.

The project visually tells about the history of the formation of Khorezm, one of the most ancient historical and cultural regions of Central Asia. Currently, most of this territory is located in Karakalpakstan, surrounded on one side by the desert, on the other - the dried Aral Sea and the destroyed remains of ancient settlements.

@ Viktor An

Initially, Khorezm was the center of an independent state, which did not submit to any of the dominant empires, which from time to time rolled onto Central Asia from the south. Neither the Persian Achaemenids, nor Alexander of Macedon ever mastered Khorezm.

If we accept the point of view that the religious doctrine of Zoroastrianism was formed over several centuries, and the system described in his holy book "Avesta" was connected with statehood, we can say that Khorezm was the homeland of Zarathushtra, which, along with the states of Asia Minor, was one of the oldest state formations.

The period of the appearance of Zoroastrianism (especially the 5-1 centuries BC) is the heyday of Khorezm. There are a lot of monuments of this period, and they are diverse. Almost all the cities of the ancient period of this region were built in order to protect it from neighboring tribes. The luxurious Kanga-Kala, Dzhanbas-Kala, Bazar-Kala, Kirkkiz, Kurgoshin-Kala, Ayaz-Kala and Toprak-Kala stretched along the right bank of the Amu Darya were built near irrigation structures and close to each other for defense, which showed the real power of Khorezm of that period .

 “How could we understand the meaning of time and space without a subject who is aware of the past, present and future, or the difference between right and left? And first of all, how could we find out about this if we are not able to see what the world is like when no one perceives it? By Quentin Meillassoux “Time without Becoming”.

Ancient Khorezm - the land of the ancient Aryans, Great Scythia and Zoroastrianism. This is the place where ancient civilization once flourished and one of the first foundations of statehood was laid. Currently, the place is surrounded by desert, the destroyed remains of ancient monuments and the dried Aral Sea.

@ Viktor An

Khorezm is shrouded in folk traditions and legends that live to this day. For example, according to one of the legends in the ancient town of Mizdakhkan, there are World clocks that count down life on Earth. According to legend, one brick falls out of the ancient walls every year, and when the last of them touches the earth, then the world will end. However, here you can see many small pyramids built by pilgrims of fallen bricks. Each pyramid consists of seven stones, and people believe that in this way they extend the life of the planet for seven years and hope that the Almighty will hear their prayers.

This complex is also surrounded by mysticism and magic of numbers, history and folk tales are interwoven here. There is a legend that this is where the grave of Adam is located. Scientists identify this hypothesis with the tomb of Guyomard - the first person on Earth in Zoroastrian mythology.

At the same place, barren women are currently performing a fertility ritual.

@ Aitor Lara

Khorezm gave birth, received, synthesized and transmitted knowledge, religion, movement, culture. The earth gave birth to famous philosophers, poets, politicians, scientists such as the creator of the al-Khorezmi algebra (whose name itself was transformed into the word “algorithm” ...), the astronomer, historian and geographer al-Biruni (XI century), Ibn Sina (Avicenna ) - whose work is very relevant at present.

“And by all means scattered and destroyed Kuteyba everyone who knew the writing of the Khorezm people, who kept their traditions, all the scientists who were among them, so that all this was covered with darkness and there was no true knowledge of what was known from their history at the time of the coming Islam to them ... ”Al-Biruni.

Exhibition "Terra of Silence. Forgotten Civilization” is the result of three creative expeditions from 2005-2019 to famous Uzbek and foreign photographers who fixed and presented  their view on the history of a forgotten civilization.

The visitors will also be able to look at the past captured in unique archival film and photo materials. The desert voices reproduced in the speakers will allow the exhibitor to plunge into the atmosphere of this forgotten and lost world.

@ Pavel Kim

© 2018 Галерея «Bonum Factum».  

Ташкент, Узбекистан,ул. Садык Азимова-20,тупик-3

e-mail: vkartfact@gmail.com



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