Deep inside Siberia on an interior island of Tere-Hol lake, which lies very close to the Mongolian boarder, in the Republic of Tuva, an ancient fortress, which has been dated to more than 1500 years ago has been discovered. Fortress Por-Bajin as it has become known, in translation from the Tuva language means “Clay House”.
The Por-Bajin fortress was built in the middle of the 8th century by the order of the chief of Uigurian chagan Eletmish Bilige-chagan on the island of Tere-Khol. In 750 A.С. he came with his troops to the territory to conquer it. In order to consolidate his position on his newly captured territories he built a fortress. The fortress walls were about ten meters high. The central palace which was situated on a high platform belonged to Eletmish Bilige-chagan himself.
Ancient builders had to bring thousands tons of clay and burnt brick. The monument has a complex architecture – inside it’s rectangular walls lay an entire labyrinth of buildings, in whole, resembling the Buddhist or Hindu mandola. At roughly the same time an entire system of fortresses – 17 similar constructions in all in the Valley of the Hemchik River appeared. But the Por-Bajin fortress differs greatly in its construction from all other known monuments. The influence of the Sogdian culture is highly prominent in its architecture. It is possible that the Sogdians – natives of China, who traded with all nomadic population of Central Asia – participated in the building of the fortress.