(also Toprakkala), the ruins of a city and fortress dating from the early Common Era to the sixth century A.D. Toprak-Kala, the residence of the rulers of Khwarazm in the third and fourth centuries, is located in what is now Biruni Raion, Kara-Kalpak ASSR.
Toprak-Kala was first excavated in 1938 by S. P. Tolstov. The rectangular city, measuring 500 by 350 m, was surrounded by a wall with towers and an arched passageway. The main street extended from the southern gates to the temple of fire; cross streets divided the city into ten blocks. In the northwest part of the city are the ruins of a palace erected on an artificial socle measuring 14 m high and 80 by 80 m in area; there are also three adjoining towers.
Approximately 100 dwellings and outbuildings have been excavated, as well as eight main halls decorated with clay haut-relief and three-dimensional sculpture. The halls are also decorated with multicolored murals; which are found in many other buildings as well. Finds have included pottery vessels, weapons (among them large bows), ornaments, and documents on leather and wood with commercial notations.
REFERENCESTolstov, S. P. Drevnii Khorezm. Moscow, 1948.
Tolstov, S. P. Po drevnim del’tam Oksa i Iaksarta. Moscow, 1962.