In Republic Tuva, almost on the border with Mongolia, in mountains at the height of 1300 meters above sea level the lake Tere-Hol is located. A mountain reservoir which it is possible to count thousand in Russia. But it is unique with that in the middle of it on island ruins of an ancient fortress have remained. Who and when it has constructed, is not known for certain.
The whole four hectares occupies a fortress Por-Bazhyn (in a translation into Russian - «the Clay house»). Once there were fortification constructions, an area, warehouses, and a palace complex here. By estimations of experts, the height of ancient walls reached 25 meters, and the thickness - nine. Ancient builders had to deliver to island thousand tons of clay and the burnt brick, wood. What for? From whom it was necessary to defend in this deserted and remote district?
The fortress of the Por-Bazhyn in 1891 was opened by the exiled the Russian scientific geographer and ethnographer Dmitry Klements. But archeologists have reached here only in a Soviet period - in 1959 and 1963 expeditions of the doctor of historical sciences of the employee of Institute ethnology and anthropology of AS of the USSR Sevjan WEINSTEIN here worked:
- Thanks to excavation of the central part of the palace complex we have found the weapon rests, pottery, iron blooms- preparations for blacksmith’s works. Most likely, the fortress-palace has been constructed in VIII century of our era by representatives of Uigur culture. And anything similar on the territory of Tuva does not exist. Everywhere on the island we met fire traces, and it is not excluded that people have left this place just from that the fortress has burnt down during storm. But what battle it was is difficult to say.
However, in the Tuva folklore the fortress of the Por -Bazhing was lost not from fire, but from water. Ostensibly before lake there was no here, and nearby to the fortress appeared a spring with amazingly pure water. And then whether enemies have partitioned off an exit from a valley, whether for any other reasons water has filled all hollow. The communication with land has been interrupted, and inhabitants of the fortress had to leave it.
The fortress occupies almost all space of the island and represents itself the correct rectangle focused to parts of the world, with the sizes 211 on 158 meters. The height of fortifications, even in a dilapidated kind, reaches 10 meters. On the East side the gates with fickle towers have remained, the rests of entrance ramps lead to the towers.
Inside of fortifications there is a whole labyrinth of buildings and constructions. Along the western, southern and northern walls it is located 26 compartments divided by wattle and daub with height up to one and a half meters. The premise in the size 7 on 8 meters is built of a brick-raw in each of them. In the middle two palace buildings is revealed. Both palaces settle down on stylobate heights from stamped the soil and clay, they have been connected with each other by 6-metre covered passage. The first building has the sizes 23 on 23 meters, and the second 15 on 15. Their roof was supported by wooden columns. In the bigger premise there were 36 ones and in smaller only 8. Roofs have been covered with a cylindrical tile. A thickness of the walls in palaces was more than meter. This thickness of clay and a brick was covered with ornamental frescos of orange and red colors.
Except various constructions at fortress excavation fragments of ceramics and a treasure from 101 iron blacksmith's preparations are found. But what is surprising, remains of at least one person till now have not been found. The next question, for what nomads have erected so luxurious fortress? Whether there was it a temple construction? Besides, among local residents have remained legends that in the Por-Bazhyn infinite treasures are stored. Other legends narrate about the Elchigen-khan who lived in this fortress, not in the middle of lake at all. But once from a well behind fortress walls has appeared a water fountain, having been frightened of flooding, the khan with the citizens has hastily left the Por- Bazhyn and has taken cover in mountains. And water arrived until the lake Tere-Hol was formed.
Scientists by means of space monitoring have really found ancient road at the bottom of the lake. But it only generates new questions.
The first finds.
Victor Solovev, the camp commander, the professor of Yelets state university, the archeologist:
- We have carried out preliminary studying of the monument. We have revealed anomalies which have been hidden underground. We have found brick and stone layings. It is curious that bricks are put inclined, apparently, for additional support of walls. We have found cultural layer over premises, it differs in colours from a layer over economic constructions. Certainly, it is possible to speak while only about preliminary estimations. Nevertheless they prompt, to us how to operate further. Trial excavation has given to us representation about architecture, a thickness of walls of the monument, a material from which they are erected. As it has appeared, ancient builders used very original method, tape clay, an optimum variant of building in local conditions. With clay layers they lifted fortifications, and also walls of premises. For durability the walls reinforced with wooden beams. Traces from them have remained till now. Five-six rows of clay layers, then perpendicular lining from beams, then again clay layers. Premises in a fortress are erected from the same material, in design of the central building the burnt brick is used, it imposes for durability the basis of walls, paths are laid out, are made paving’s so that there was no dirt. Already there are interesting finds of a decor, small ceramic disks which decorated facades of walls. While we can assume only whether it was a temple, whether a palace, or may be, a building which united both functions. Even trial excavation has shown that the monument is not simply interesting, it is unique. We wait for finds which in many respects will clear not only history of the Por-Bazhyn, but also will help to find a cultural contact with other countries.
Two emptiness have been found.
Igor Modin, the senior lecturer of geological faculty of the Moscow State University:
- Two weeks ago not only our students, but also scientists - geophysics and topographers have left here, who have executed magnetometric shooting by forces of geotechnology. Detailed topographical shooting with scanning has been made. The Tere-Holsky hollow exists for millions years. The difficult geological processes leading to its gradual fall proceed here. The lake is at height of 1300 meters, mountains with height from one and a half to two thousand meters above sea level. In the winter - furious, to sixty degrees, colds. The water getting to cracks, without ceremony splits walls. Very strong wind erosion. Northwest winds prevail. It is proved also by walls of the monument which are asymmetric. From a North side - empty, and from southern one the destruction layer is clearly visible.
We already receive the three-dimensional image of island. Practically the smallest nuances of walls relief, relief lowering was scanned with accuracy up to centimeter and five millimeters. Electrometric researches have shown that the island has an abnormal structure in comparison with lake deposits. One or the other: or it is a rock, one of remains which has driven off and has not plunged into this valley, or it is very frozen block which was generated during the period when lake was not. It means that they are in the frozen condition. Around the island contour there are gliding cracks which lead to its degradation.
Comparison of space pictures with those maps which have been made about thirty years ago shows that the water leaves the lake, and islands actively degrade. One island already has gone. All building design of the Por-Bazhyn, according to preliminary estimations, consists of separate blocks. Ancient builders have applied technology at which blocks can freely move from each other. So that the frozen ground could not destroy a structure. Some emptiness leaves deeply. Two of them have found with width of five meters with depth one and a half meters.
Studying of the bottom of the lake is in turn. We hope to find dams, river or stream traces on which banks this fortress has been constructed. Scientists by means of space monitoring have really found ancient road at the bottom of the lake. But it only generates new questions.
There is a version that the fortress earlier was sentry point on the Great silk way from China to Europe. According to an other version, here lived such robbers plundering merchants, from here there are legends about the certain fabulous treasures hidden in vaults of the fortress. However archeologists now concern this variant skeptically, the most northern branches of the Silk way passed approximately one thousand kilometers to the south of a place where there is a fortress. But less mysterious the Por-Bazhyn does not become from it. Something was protected by soldiers living here.
The Tuva shamans offer their own variant: the fortress stands on the place of northern entrance in the legendary underground country Shambhala. But where it is concrete, now it is impossible to say.
Who lived here and when the fortress has been left where local residents have left? In vicinities of the lake there are no any traces of human life activity. Excepting ...- attention, one more riddle! - Tombs of the soldier Caucasoid type on one of islands in the neighborhood. The burial place concerns to XV century. What did the high soldier-European do here? Experts cannot answer this question while.
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