Founded in the 4th century B.C., the ancient city of Mizdakhan was once the second largest city in Khorezm (after Konya-Urgench). A walk amongst the ancient necropolis today reveals more of a “City of the Dead” - a haunting place dotted with mausoleums and graves sprawling across a desert hillside. As we wandered between the monuments, some dating back over 2,300 years, there was a pervasive sense of the continuity of life and death. The earliest tombs predated Alexander the Great, and generations had added layer upon layer to the necropolis ever since.
Many mausoleums were still in active use, with local women leaving offerings and prayers to the Sufi saints buried within. The most peculiar structure, an irregularly long tomb, lies what local legends believe to be the burial place of Adam, the first man created in Genesis. Regardless the legend holds true or not, the spiritual importance for its people cannot be understated. During our visit, we met pilgrims who traveled hundreds of miles across the desert to pay their respects. Seeing the care families still showed for ancestral graves reinforced that death is not an end, but part of the ongoing human cycle. Mizdakhan's centuries of tombs and spirits served as testament that life's moments, whether joyful or sorrowful, grand or humble, are fleeting yet perpetual.
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In the western portion of Uzbekistan, not far from the town of Nukus and 7 km from the border of Turkmenistan.
Mizdakhan was originally a city first built in the 4th century B.C. , one of the largest cities in the region.
First as a city, then used as a burial place for hundreds of years following its decline, continuing today.
Mizdakhan receives large numbers of Uzbek pilgrims to pay respects to the Tomb of Adam. Outside of the pilgrims, not many visitors make it out to this necropolis.