The citadel of Hulbuk lies approx 30 km southwest of Kulob. Already in the Bronze Age, people settled in the area in sight of the salt mountain Chodscha Mumin, which rises 1334 m above the valley.
A first palace, which burned down at 950 AD was built to around 800 AD. In 970, one built a second palace on the ruins of the first. The palace complexes were in the southern area. An integral part was a mosque. This area lies approximately 5 m higher than the northern one.
The huge entrance gate is 13m high and 8.5m wide. It is said to resemble the Rabati Malik portal. Rabati Malik is a caravanserai from the 11th century lies between Bukhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan. We will visit it later.
The living quarters including a harem were in the northern area. The houses and the palace had underfloor heating and water pipes. A swimming pool was also available. Some fireplaces were surrounded by seats. These point to the practices of Zoroastrianism ( the religion of Zarathustra), which was still prevalent here before Islam.
The wall of the Hulbuk Citadel has been completely rebuilt since 2005. It is not an exact reconstruction but serves to illustrate the original size. Only the lower 1.5 m consist of original masonry.
During our visit, Safar, an archeologist, explains the architectural structure of the building. He was part of the excavation team that found five bodies, one man and four women from the Bronze Age, in 2003. He demonstrates where the ruler sat and where the remaining audience was allowed to take a seat.
The Banijuriden ruled here in the 9th and 10th centuries. After a revolt, the Samanids burnt down the palace. Later the Ghaznawiden took the power over the Samanids. Hulbuk was one of the largest cities in Central Asia at that time. Then came the Seljuks, which destroyed the city and the citadel.
Please read on > From Hulbuk to Anjirobi Bolo
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