Ayaz Kala is a desert fortress on the Khorezm section of the Great Silk Road. Grape presses and twelve golden statues were found in the ruins of the ruler's palace, dating from the third century BC. These statues were taken by the Russians to St Petersburg and it is difficult to see any case for keeping them there, unless one argues 'to the victor, the spoils'. They have much to do with the cultural history of Central Asia and nothing to do with the culture of the Baltic coast. The two surviving forts date from 400 to 700 AD. They are classic Silk Road fortifications and illustrate the near impossibility of Central Asian forts of this type having had garden space near residential areas. [Note: the tented yurt hotel, popular with tourists, is about 200m east of the rectangular fort]
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