Mizdakhan is a complex of historical monuments located on three hills and a plane between them. The flat top of the west hill is crowned with the ruins of Gyaur-Kala Fortress, built in the 4th century BC. This fortress was used to defend a large town that occupied the eastern hill. Scholars identify Mizdakhan with the town Mazda built in honor of Akhura-Mazda - the main fire-worshippers’ deity who was mentioned in the holy Zoroastrian book Avesta. Today the eastern hill hosts the oldest Central Asian necropolis. The necropolis spreads over an area of about 100 hectares and historians believe it is over two thousand years old. On the slopes of the hill there is a large number of clay ossuary – urns or chests to keep the bones of the deceased Zoroastrians. There was also discovered a rich burial place with a ceramic sarcophagus; some ossuaries contained gold ritual objects, religious symbols and inscriptions made in Ancient Khorezmian language. A big part of Zoroastrian necropolis is overlapped by a Muslim graveyard; its earliest graves date back to the times when Khozem was conquered by the Arabs.

The whole complex of monuments is located on three hills 3-4 km south of the city Khodjeyli in Karakalpakstan. How Mizdakhan became a place of pilgrimage for Muslims? Most likely, Gyaur Kala appeared first. The emergence of the settlement dates back to the 4th century BC. At the first view on the fortress, the power of its ten meters thick walls makes a strong impression, its remnants continue to protect the ruins of the two city citadels, one of which, as believed by archeologists, used to be a construction at the palace, and another one- - the Temple of Fire.

The other hill, opposite the fortress, was originally a place for there Zoroastrian cemetery where residents of the fortress buried their dead. This is evidenced by the ossuaries (vessels for burial) discovered by archaeologists, as well as something like dakhma - a tower with a flat roof, where Zoroastrians would leave their dead. Birds chews their bones, and relatives collected the bones and piled in ossuaries.


At a distance of 120 meters south of Muzkumkhan-Sulu Mausoleum are the ruins of the most mysterious Mizdakhan structure – Erejep Caliph Mausoleum. According to the legend, it is the burial place of an Islamic saint who preached in the area when Islam only began spreading in the region. However, many people believe that it is the burial place of Biblical Adam. Yet scientists reckon that this is the grave of Gayomard – the first man on earth in Zoroastrian mythology. This is not the only reason why this mausoleum became a pilgrimage place for so many people from all over the world. Archeological excavations revealed that the solid foundation of the mausoleum, built in the 9th-10th centuries, has a cane base to protect the building from ground water and to make it earthquake-resistant. However, only three walls and fragments of the dome have survived. The only surviving part of the façade is represented by brickwork piece of the former portal and at the entrance there lies a heap of polished baked bricks. An old legend, which can be traced back to pre-Islamic times, relates that it is the place of ‘the world clock’, which ticks mankind’s life away. Every year a brick falls off the walls of the mausoleum, and the day it gets to the last brick will become the doomsday, and the life on the earth will come to an end. Pilgrims who come here to beg from God for realization of their cherished wishes have built thousands of little pyramids by putting the fallen bricks one atop the other. The number of the bricks in such a pyramid must be only  "seven", and one must not take bricks from other pyramids – destroying the happiness of someone else you cannot build your own happiness. To take away from Mizdakhan even one brick means to commit a sin. Nobody has ever seen brick falling off the walls of the mausoleum, and nobody has counted the bricks that are still in the walls.

The magic power of the number "Seven" is also connected with the mausoleum of Shamun-Nabi, a legendary magician. His mausoleum stands on the northern hill of Mizdakhan. They say that the saint Shamun worked wonders, healed the sick, controlled the weather and the movement of the heavenly bodies; he understood the languages of animals and preached the belief in God. The mausoleum was built in the 18th century on the ruins of an ancient structure. Inside the mausoleum with a tall portal and seven domes there is a tombstone of over 25 meters in length. However, when archeologists opened the tomb, no remains were discovered inside.


Next to Shamun-Nabi Mausoleum there is a 5-metre-high burial mound supposedly built over the grave of the saint Jumart. According to popular belief, a woman who wants to be healed from sterility should tumble down the slope of Jumart hill with seven somersaults of hers.

The mystery of  "the world clock" and the magic power of numbers, history and folk beliefs are all intertwined in the legendary hills of Mizdakhan; they are equally attractive for pilgrims, scholars and tourists.