Библиографическое описание:

Хамроев К. The use system of pontoon bridges connected with the activity of caravan routes of Middle Asia [Текст] // Вопросы исторической науки: материалы III междунар. науч. конф. (г. Москва, январь 2015 г.). — М.: Буки-Веди, 2015. — С. 6-7.

With the development of trade roads system in Middle Asia, complex hydro-technical buildings, especially, the constructions of bridges connected with the activity of caravan routes began. Large rivers, streams, comprehensive irrigation constructions crossed the caravan routes in different directions, they were serious natural barriers for trade caravans, military troops and generally, for the movements of passers-by. This is the vital element that requires constructing bridges. If the previous bridges were made of wood and were built over not much of streams, beginning in the first millennium, bridges made of stone and brick started to be bridged(1,c.287–291).

If trade caravans crossed relatively small rivers using convenient crossings in the region, crossing large rivers like Amu-River and Sir-River with large trade caravans, troops with their horses and weapons, temporary and built for a short time bridges were utilized. These kinds of bridges were usually constructed by tying boats together. The construction of these kinds of bridges began in the ancient times in the history of the world.

According to Herodotus, the king of Iran, Kir II crossed his large troops on pontoon bridges made of ships on Amudarya river when he made a military attack to Massagets’ land in 530 BC (2,c,92). This is the first written material cited in the reliable historical source regarding the bridge bridged in Amudarya river.

Tying ships together tightly in old-time and in the Middle Ages, special spun ropes were used in building temporarily used bridges. These spinning ropes were made from papyrus’s bark and leaf in ancient time (2,c,363), then in middle ages made from mane of horse(3,c.20).

In the Middle Ages sources, there is much information in respect to pontoon bridges built over large rivers and they were used for military purposes in the region.

It is well-known that, in the Middle Ages near Termiz city situated along the important crossing of Amudarya river, bridges were made of ships and they were utilized for a while. When Makhmud Gaznaviy attacked Mavaraunnakhr in 1025, had sailing bridges by tying ships bridged in the part of Amudarya river lower Termiz, with the help of them he passed his troops from the left bank of Amudarya river to the Prophet Island and from here to the right bank of Amudarya river(3,c.18). His heir, Ma’sud Gaznaviy (1030–1040) also constructed a pontoon bridge over Amu-River and passed it with his army, on he attacked Chaganiyan in December, 1038(4.c.24–25).

It is stated in sources that, when Chengiz-Khan attacked from Termiz to Balx, he crossed Amudarya river with the assistance of pontoon bridges made of tying ships together too (3.c.18).

In accordance with military-political situation in the region, pontoon bridges were constructed over other crucial crossings of Amudarya river too and they would be used crossing from Mavaraunnakhr to Khurasan.

Chinese monk, Chan Chun also stated that the bridges played a great military-strategic role in crossing Amudarya river.

According to him, in the late of 1221 forces fought against Chengiz-Khan’s capture kicked a goal in lighting all bridges and ships in Amudarya river. It took conquerors a few months to rebuild them(5.c.239–240).

Well-known historian, Rashididdin pointed out that, Khan of Mongols, Xulagkhan in the period of attacking Iran, in the beginning of 1258 decreed to build pontoon bridges for Mongol troops to cross Amudarya river. For this, all ships and boats in Amudarya river were gathered (6.c.23–25).

It is clear that pontoon bridges were constructed over another large river of the region, Sirdarya river in the Middle Ages too. For instance, in sources related to the 9th century, there is information that near the flowing point of the Angren River into Sirdarya river, by Banokat city, there was a pontoon bridge and trade caravans used from it too (3.c.21).

Making pontoon bridges of ships over large rivers in Middle Asia was continued in the reign of Amir Timur and Timuriys. Particularly, according to Sharafiddin Ali Yazdiy, Amir Timur had pontoon bridges made of ships built over Sirdaryo and crossed it with his army when he carried out his first military attack on Dashti Qipchoq, against To’xtamishkhan in 1389 (7.c.122).

In this period, bridges made of ships built not only to be used by military troops, but also they were built to be used by trade caravans and passers-by.

For example, as Ibn Arabshox wrote, Banokat city, which had been destroyed by Mongols, was rebuilt in 1392 with the decree of Amir Timur, it was named Shoxrukhiya and near it a big bridge was built using ships and boats over Sirdarya river (8,c.118).

As we mentioned above, this bridge was used not only for military purposes, but also it had a big role in economic relations of eastern lands with southern and western lands temporarily. Building bridges using ships and boats also continued in the reign of Timuriys. For example, with the decree of Shox Malik who was appointed as the patronage of Ulugbek, pontoon bridges made of ships were bridged near the Kelif crossing of Amu-Daryo in 1405.

In the reign of Mirzo Ulugbek, there also was a pontoon bridge near the Farob crossing on the way to Bukhara and Marv (3,c.19–20). These bridges played an important part in relations of Mavaraunnakhr cities with Khurasan and its center, Khirot. In the late Middle Ages, pontoon bridges made of ships tied together were used to cross over Amudarya river and Sirdarya river. On Shayboniy Abdullakhan II attacked Tashkent, crossed Sirdarya river using pontoon bridges made of ships and boats (9.c.280–281).

When Iran king, Nodirshakh carried out a military attack on the Khanate of Bukhara in 1740, he had masters of Iran and India build pontoon bridge near Chorjuy so as to cross Amudarya river. This bridge was bridged in four five days in the length of two camels to pass at the same time (10,c.159).

So, building temporary bridges using ships over Amudarya river and Sirdarya river considered two large rivers of Middle Asia began in the ancient time.

In the Middle Ages, experience in this field was developed, enriched and became perfected.

Additionally, pontoon bridges were mainly built for military-political situation demands. Constructing them required large force and capital. Therefore, they constantly did not play an essential role in the development of economic trade relations.




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