The settlement of Yerkurgan is the remains of an ancient city, located ten kilometers from Karshi. In the IX-VIII centuries BC. the settlement was founded here. Later, a rather large city for its time, which existed until the 10th century AD, appeared on this territory. The city was enclosed by two rows of defensive walls from the attacks of nomads. According to the inscriptions on the coins, scientists established that previously the city was named Kasan. The first written mention of the city dates back to the IV century.
During the 1st century AD. Yerkurgan settlement was part of the powerful Kushan Empire. This period is distinguished by the flourishing of trade and crafts. Among the architectural structures studied at the settlement of Yerkurgan, the remnants of monumental structures of public and ceremonial purposes are highlighted. In the center of Yerkurgan a city religious complex-temple with wall paintings, sculptures and objects of jewelry art was discovered and explored.
On the territory of Sogd, as scientists and researchers believe, the painting of Yerkurgan is the earliest example of monumental art. It is older than the famous paintings of Samarkand. The architectural remains of the palace of the ruler of Yerkurgan were revealed during the excavations. In the basic principles of planning, it continues the ancient traditions of the architecture of Central Asia.
The name “Yerkurgan” is translated as “earthen fortress”. This is due to the fact that the inner and outer parts of the ancient city were surrounded by powerful adobe walls. They protected the city from all enemies and detractors. According to some reports, the thickness of several walls reached as much as 17 meters. This was done so that two-wheeled carts for domestic transportation of grain or water containers could move around. The remains of this wall were discovered in 1999. Inside the citadel life was in full swing: artisans made ceramic dishes, shoes and clothing; blacksmiths prepared tools, and the population was engaged in farming and cattle breeding. On a high hill, in the very center of the Yerkurgan settlement, the magnificent palace of the ruler was. It was a symbol of his power and authority. Representatives of the nobility and respected personalities lived around the palace, and commoners lived at a distance.
In addition, a monumental mausoleum of the 3rd — 4th centuries was excavated. Here a funerary sculpture and a golden circle resembling the preparation of a coin were found. During the excavations of the southeastern part of the city, craft complexes consisting of residential and industrial buildings dating back to the 2nd century BC were discovered. In Yerkurgan settlement gold items were also found. Among them there is a number of items which were once included in the set of ornaments of the ceremonial costume.
Yerkurgan settlement near Karshi changed many times in its history. Unfortunately, to this day only ruins and earthen mounds have remained from the mighty city. They keep a long history. In the VI century Yerkurgan was conquered by the Turks and completely destroyed. Currently, all the unique finds from the excavations are represented in the Afrosiab Museum in the city of Samarkand. Among them are coins and ossuaries, fragments of dishes and household items - everything that can tell us a little about the structure of ancient life.
The settlement of Yerkurgan is of great interest among the representatives of the UNESCO scientific expedition, as well as among numerous tourists. And this is quite understandable. Each of them is eager for new discoveries, wants to step on the most ancient mysterious land, find a piece of the oldest coin, or just imagine what the city was like thousands of years ago.
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