Airtam monastery, (towards) Termiz, Surxondaryo Viloyati, UZ

Raw data

"Airtam - Settlement site consisting of a number of separately standing monuments situated along the right bank of the Amudarya river in 18 km to the east of Termez, with a total area of about 90 hectares.
A monumental building - a fort - was erected on the territory of Airtam in the Greco-Bactrian period (2nd c. B.C.). In the opinion of researchers, it was not completed by the time of the Saka invasion.

With the penetration of Buddhism into North Bactria at the turn of the millennium, a mass construction of Buddhist shrines began in Airtam. The ruins of a Greco-Bactrian structures were used as a platform for Buddhist complex. During the Kushan period, a large Buddhist centre consisting of a temple and monastery and stretching for almost 3 km along the Amudarya river, was formed in Airtam. Its buildings were richly decorated with sculpture and architectural decor made of marble-like limestone. Baked brick was used in construction. Around the complex there were auxiliary buildings, including furnaces for baking brick and killing pottery. In the second half of the 3rd century Airtam decayed and was never restored."

"Airtam - Among the oldest Buddhist monastery cities with Caravansarais and temples in Uzbekistan. Situated 18 km from Termez on the banks of the Amu Darya river. One of the important caravan resting places on The Great Silk Road. Discovered in 1932 by border patrols, its finds are preserved in Termez and Tashkent museums, among them stone carved frescoes of musicians, masterpieces of Graeco-bactrian sculptures and columns and fries as well as Bactrian stone carved texts."

"The ancient settlement of Airtam was excavated 17 km away from Termez upwards the river. Two small Buddhist complexes were fixed there. One of them was constructed above the leveled walls of Greco-Bactrian ford. It included square sanctuaries with relics and statue of Buddha, entrance decorated by famous Airtam frieze, joined premises and underground chapel. The space below was surrounded by earthen wall, along which were located cells and economic premises. Another Buddhist structure was located at some distance, from which were remained ruins of two premises and small stupa. Inside this structure was found more ancient mortal with white ghanch plastering. As well as the reconstruction of mortals at Fayaz-Tepa site, it would be evidence for some growing care of Buddhist structures in northern Bactria. The Airtam inscription informs on total restoration of Buddhist complex, being carried out at the time of Kushan king Khuvishka. Airtam frieze dated back to the 2nd century A.D. and related to Buddhist sculpture traditions became famous all over the world."

Input by: tmciolek, Aug 28, 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 01 Oct 2012

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Airtam monastery, UZ.

General location of the Airtam monastery, UZ.
lat=37.254369 long=67.451289
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20UZ)&ll=37.254369,67.451289&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Uzbekistan: Surxondaryo Viloyati

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Ayrtam - Melikian-Chirvani (n.d.)

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Estimated from the GoogleEarth for the location of a spot, circa 17-18 km upstream from Termez. The approx. coords. are Lat: 37.254369 Long: 67.451289 - tmc, 29 Aug 2009.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • [missing data]

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • 1st c. CE - Anonymous (1997).
  • MBM chrono-tag: <=0200 - tmciolek 12 Dec 2012

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag: 0267-99p 0300-32p - tmciolek 12 Dec 2012
  • Therefore, the final list of tags is <=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99p 0300-32p dated-el

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • Airtam's stupa was faced (as at Ushtur-Mulla monastery) with stone slabs carrying reliefs - Melikian-Chirvani (n.d.)

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Archaeological

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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