Termiz is along the border with Afghanistan (the Amu Darya or Oxus river) and is a major supply hub for the NATO war operations there. It is also a busy transport hub for goods entering and leaving Afghanistan due to the Friendship Bridge, built by the Soviet Union.
Old Termez lies 12 km west of the modern center. Alexander the Great is credited as the founder of the city, though there is little evidence of his passage. The stuff of the Hellenistic period may still be buried under the layers of the Kushan period, when the settlement grew in importance. Two sites in the vicinity, Shor tepe and Kampyr tepe, seem to have got more importance under Achaemenid and Hellenistic rule. The latter was a fortified city at Alexander's time.
Since from the early days of the unified empire of Kanishka I (127–163), Old Termez, controlling a strategic position on the north bank of the Oxus at its junction with the Surkhan Darya, became an important center on the Silk Road and the caravan trade brought Buddhism' religious precepts along with the distinctive art forms of Gandhara style. In 689 AD the city fell to Arab Muslim invaders, replaced by the 11th century and onwards by Turkic tribes. Karakhanids erected the domed mausoleum over the grave of 9th century mystic Al Hakim At-Termizi. In 1218 Shah Muhammad II of Khwarezm ordered the execution of Mongol envoys seeking to establish trade relations. As a result Mongol armies crossed the Amur Darya, and, after a two-day siege, razed to the ground Old Termez in their way to Urgench. The city was rebuilt in a new relocation few miles eastwards.
In the second half of the 19th century, the village of Patta Hissar became important when it was made a dock for the Russian steamships on the Amu-Darya. In 1898 Termez was annexed by the Russian crown.
- 1 Termez International Airport (TMJ IATA). Linked with Moscow-Domodedovo, St Petersburg and Tashkent by direct flights of Uzbekistan Airways. Minibuses 11 from the airport stop at Yubileyny Bazaar.
Coming from Afghanistan, it is possible to take a shared taxi or drive to Hairatan on the other side of the river and then walk across the border. The 3 main bus station is in the city centre at the western end of Navoi street.
The first half of the Gozar-Termez leg of the road from Bukhar is of poor quality and should not be underestimated. It's not uncommon to see multiple accidents on this stretch. The second half is easier and the views are some of the most breathtaking in Uzbekistan. Truckers driving these roads often don't know the area and take the corners far too fast.
Isuzu 7-seater marshrutkas. Unmarked but just tell the driver where you're going and they'll either nod or drive on. 10,000 som standard fare.
As in other Uzbek cities, flag down any car as an unofficial taxi and negotiate price beforehand.
Termez is the southernmost city in Uzbekistan which has a lot of historical sights. You can arrange a taxi with your hostel to visit the close sights for 100,000-200,000 som.
- 1 Termez Archaeological Museum, At-Termezi str. 29a, ☏ . 09:00-18:00. Exhibits from excavations in 20 archaeological sites in Surkhandarya region. 20,000 som.
- 2 Palace of Termez rulers (Old Termez).
- 3 Zurmala Tower (Old Termez). The domed, cylindric tower is the remnant of a Buddhist stupa, built in the 3rd century AD and originally faced with tiles.
- 4 Fayaz-Tepe (Old Termez). A 3rd-century AD Buddhist monastery partially rebuilt and now open for tourist visits. 7,000 som for the entrance fee plus 7,000 som to take photos.
- 5 Kara Tepe monastery (Old Termez). The access to Kara Tepe is restricted. The remains of a Buddhist cave monastery built on top of three hills in the late 1st century AD. The complex flourished in the next centuries but was deserted when the Arabs captured the city in 705 AD and finally destroyed by the troops of Genghis Khan along with the rest of the Old Termez in 1220. The caves were partly rebuilt with support from UNESCO. Archaeological excavations revealed wall paintings with one of the world’s oldest images of Buddha surrounded by monks. A permit is required to visit, as it is so close to the Afghan border. Acquiring the permit can take several days.
- 6 Architectural Complex of Al Hakim At-Termizi (Old Termez). Set on a hill overlooking the Amu Darya River with superb views to the shores of Afghanistan, the complex hosts the mausoleum of a Sufi saint who lived in Termez until his death in 869 CE. To get here, take marshrutka 305 from in front of the bazaar, heading north).
- 7 Architectural Ensemble Sultan Saodat. The burying place of the sheikh's clan from Termez regarded as descendants of Prophet Muhammad and therefore deeply revered by Muslims. The domed tomb of Khasan al Emir, the founder of Seyid's clan, was built in the 12th century.
- 8 Airtam (18 km east from the City center, on the banks of the Amu Darya river). Ruins of an important caravan resting place on the Great Silk Road. Russian excavations have revealed two Buddhist complexes constructed above an earlier Hellenistic fort and Kushan coins. As of September 2017, Airtam lies in a restricted border area, closed for tourists.
- 9 Zul Kifl Mausoleum (Dhul-'i-Kifl) (Aral-Paygambar Island in the Amu-Darya). Built in the late 11th century, the mausoleum has a tall portal and a dome chamber on simple squinches
- 10 Isa at-Tirmidhi Mausoleum (in Sherobod, 60 km north of Termez along M39 road).
- 11 Kampyr Tepe (Kampirtepa) (Marshrutka to Gagarin). The results of the excavations certify to the authenticity of the monument and allows identifying it with the ancient city of Alexandria Oxiana. free.
- 12 Kyrk-Kyz Fortress (Kirk Kiz Khanaka). Kirk Kiz Khanaka is thought to be the ruins of a castle or a summer retreat for the dynasty of Samanids. The name Kirk-Kiz means "Forty Girls" and according to local legends the Amazons were living here.
Central bazar near clock tower (centre of modern town). Black market money changers opposite on the same street.
- Burger House, Alisher Navoiy Street 18 (East of the clock tower. Right on the intersection (not the roundabout) of Alisher Navoiy Street. Near Berezka and the sports stadium. Mikrorayon-5), ☏ . Daily 09:00-23:00. Very reasonably priced, smart and clean corner cafe. Friendly owners who are also involved in Couchsurfing in Termez. Drinks, burgers, doner, lavash, hot dogs, 'non dogs' and desserts. Halal certified meat. Blinds might be down but it is open. Free Wi-Fi (ask for code). 4,500-18,000 som for a meal.
Last chance for alcoholic beverages before crossing to Afghanistan (Uzbek customs ban export of alcohol.)
- 1 Meridian Termez Hotel, 23, Alpomish Str, ☏ . In the city center with restaurant, bar, swimming pool and sauna from US$100 (2014).
- 2 Surxon. Check-out: 12:00. Buffet, hairdresser on ground floor. Under new management. Price has nearly doubled for foreigners Double room 255,000 som (including breakfast).
- 3 Asson, 27, At-Termezi ko‘chasi. Check-out: 12 noon. Swimming pool is out of operation. Double 350,000 som.
- Sharq Hotel, English-speaking staff. Clean rooms. Prices range from US$30 to $50 for a double room.
- Akant guest houses, At-termiziy 6, House number 6, ☏ . US$10 for a double room.
Post office by the central clock tower. Small internet kiosk across the street (near taxi rank).
- Denau (Denov), to cross the tajik border.
- Bukhara, by shared taxi. You might have to get first to Karchi, then to change of taxi there. 150,000 som.