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Date of Submission: 18/01/2008
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Tashkent Region, Akkurgan District
Coordinates: N41 12 E68 59
Ref.: 5286

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A site of ancient settlement of Kanka in the territorial and administrative attitude is located in 80 km in the southeast from Tashkent, in the southeastern outskirts of Eltamgali settlement. It is the ancient and one of the large city centers of Tashkent oasis. Kanka is the first capital of Chach state, small estate of Kanguy. Monumental fortification walls with towers surround the huge territory of more than 160 hectares. There are three cities inside, allocated into each other, and each of them by own fortification, curtains and ditches. Inside-small town typical of antique plan, once it has affixed with other suspension bridge. In its northeast part rise the most powerful construction of the city-citadel-arch, with the height more than 40 meters with palace of governor, man-sided bastions and house temple. The total area is 220 hectares. Kanka divides into three parts - citadel, shakhristan - town territory and rabad - trade and commercial outskirt.

Citadel is almost square-shaped at the height of 35 m. There is a huge castle with four towers at the base of citadel. The castle has been separated from building with huge ditch. It stands on the powerful platform, the top part of which has nine lines of pahsa (adobe clay). Inside of the platform are concealed more ancient buildings. There are buildings of VI - VII and XI - XII centuries in top layer of citadel. In the centre of northern facade was placed the only entrance to citadel. Distinctive peculiarity of Kanka is that it has three Shakhristans, establishing of which reflects stages of dynamics of town development.

Shakhristan I includes citadel (in the northwestern edge and it has correct square form of quadrangle stretched to the west from the river. The height of fortification walls from its base is 26 m. Shakhristan I was encompassed with wide ditch (about 35 m.). The only gate is in the center of the southern side. Evidently, there was built a tower, from where was thrown a drawbridge. The depth of the cultural layers is not the same, and in the western part, it equals to 26 m. In the territory of Shakhristan I was found urban development of XI - XII centuries and ruins of town temples of VI - VII centuries.

Shakhristan II surrounds Shakhristan I from three sides and it has square form too, but it stretches along riverbed. Its total area equals to 45 hectares. It has very compact planning and encompassed with its own fortification wall. Separation of this territory is the result of temporary shortening of urban territory in the beginning of VII century.

Shakhristan III includes all these parts; its planning nears to trapezium. Total area of urban territory, surrounded by the stronghold walls, is occupied 160 hectares. It has discovered that there was a terrace and little ditch in front of stronghold walls. Southwestern and Central tracts of Shakhristan III have been planned very densely with street net and bazaar squares. Western and northeastern parts do not have any buildings. There are unique production shops and city caravanserai, which were discovered as well in this part of the settlement.

Rabad encompasses urban territory as horseshoe from the east and southwest. It is unknown whether stronghold walls have been installed because large territory of rabad is ploughed up. City appeared in the IV century B.C. and it was identified by the Greek sources with Antihiey Zayaksartskoy. In further centuries it was apart of Kanguy State and was known as a first capital of Chach (in Chinese sources - Yuni-Shi). The north route of the Great Silk Road ran through it. It was described as Kharashet in Arabian sources (etymological meaning is «the city of holly farna»), a second under the economical and cultural center of Shash in Middle Age.

During the archeological researches on the Kanka site of ancient settlement was discovered a palace of the ruler with house temple of fire in citadel. The monumental city temple was discovered in Shahristan I, direct data that is given in Chinese sources. The unique discovered here the remains of monumental lists of temple and type-bull connected with Manichean religion. The residential area, industrial workshops, big monumental caravanserai and bazaar squares were discovered in Shahristan III.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

A site of ancient city is unique as monument of history and culture humanity, town-planning history of Uzbekistan and included into the list of ten great sites of ancient cities of Central Asia. Monument is unique by its safety.

Comparison with other similar properties

By its size, meaning and role became close to such cities like Merv, Samarkand and Balkh.