Secrets Of The Two-Headed Sphinx
- Dear Friends,
Click the link if you can't proceed to page 2.
Love and Light.
Secrets of the Two-Headed Sphinx
By Paul Stonehill
FATE :: May 2006 Uzbekistan is a land of a great historic heritage and ancient culture. Located in the very heart of Central Asia, ever since ancient times it has been at the crossroads stretching from the Orient to the West. Many mysteries and secrets that traveled along the Great Silk Road are buried in the sands and mountains of this country. Very few of them have been unearthed.
Vokrug Sveta, a popular Soviet magazine, carried a fascinating article in 1967 (Issue 4). S. Abdulleayev and Sh. Babashev of the Karakalpak State Museum published a brief report about a most unusual discovery in the Central Asia.
The Sultanuisdag Mountains are located about 80 kilometers from Nukus, a standard Stalinist-style city in the middle of the desert, in the delta of the Amu Darya River. The river spreads out into a delta before draining into the vanishing Aral Sea.
Sometime in the 1960s, a Soviet construction crew was at work in the mountains, placing electrical lines. Their bulldozer chewed into the rocky soil, with great difficulty overcoming numerous geological obstacles. One day, a grinding sound put a sudden end to the operation. A marble plate, almost completely covered by detritus, was lying under the bulldozers blade. The driver stepped down and carefully used his glove to wipe off the dirt.
The cold marble eyes of a strange creature stared at him. Next to the plate he found an identical head, which had been cut off by the bulldozer. The strange head possessed steep, bent down horns. The two-headed sphinx was carefully removed from the ground.
Years have gone by, but no one was ever able to determine the origins of the mysterious sphinx. No one ever learned why the sphinx was buried in the ground: was it part of some strange ritual, or was the sphinx hidden from enemies of its owners or worshippers?
Antiquities in the Sand
Uzbekistan is well known for its ancient oasis settlements and towns along the famous Great Silk Road. But there are countless treasures of antiquity lying under the desert, silent witnesses to the passing armies of Alexander the Great, buried in the hot sands and barren soil.
In the 1930s Soviet archaeologists found cities lost long ago under the desert sands of Uzbekistan. There were literally hundreds of ancient sites, some fortified, preserved for ages by a dry and merciless sun.
The autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan comprises 37 percent of Uzbekistan, and includes some areas of the ancient khanate of Khorezm. Khorezm emerged as a famous and powerful state in the fourth century a.d. and reached its peak in the tenth century. It was a country with a strong army, a trade and scientific center that gave the world algebra. Long before the Great Silk Road emerged, ancient Khorezm had links with Europe and the Orient, with Siberia and civilizations in the south. There are over 1,000 archaeological monuments in Khorezm, many of them unique cultural shrines. Herodotus called this land a country of 1,100 cities. Khorezm is also mentioned in the Avesta, the sacred book of the Zoroastrians.
Ustyurt, a desert plateau between the Caspian and Aral seas, has Nazca-like geoglyphs, mysterious lines and drawings reported by Soviet pilots. UFOs have also been reported here. As yet there has been no serious endeavor to study the geoglyphs.
Khorezm has such fascinating sites as the Toprak-Kala, a palace believed by the ancients to house the Axis of the World. Assembled about an enclosure located on an elevated platform, Toprak-Kala ascended to a height of three stories, and was overlooked by three tremendous towers. The palace possessed three enormous halls. There are statues of soldiers in the Hall of Warriors, and in the Hall of the Kings stand sculptures of the ancient rulers, made from unfired clay.
Nukus is the capital of Karakalpakstan. It is in the delta region of irrigated farmland, located at the southern end of the shrinking Aral Sea. The terrain here is a patchwork of agricultural land, cotton fields surrounded by the mercilessly expanding desert. Once this was a fertile and prosperous land. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of irrigation systems that provided water to this region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. But centuries of war and the environmental mismanagement of the Soviet era devasted the land. Ecological degradation has resulted in poverty, lack of opportunities, and generally poor health for the local population.
Nukus is a city of contrasts. Because of the great diversity of the people who dwell there, it is actually more European than Middle Eastern. Some call it the ninth wonder of the world. Its very name is a curiosity: Nu means nine in Farsi, and kus can be translated as concubine. An ancient legend claims that the citys name originated from a caravansarai founded and managed by nine young women along the Great Silk Way. They were emancipated and friendly, and the caravan-bashi (caravan leaders) promoted their fame.
Not far from Nukus lies the small settlement of Mizdakhan. The archaeological complex of ancient Mizdakhan occupies a huge territory, with thousands of tombs, mausoleums, and shrines. Moslems called it Gyaur-Kala, or the City of Infidels, their term for the the fire-worshipping Zoroastrians.
> continue to page two[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]