Akshakhan-kala (III century B.C. – VI century A.D.) situated on the ancient bed of the Amudarya River is one of the largest and most sophisticated monuments of the Ancient Khorezm period. Most of it is covered with barchan sands. The monument was named after the famous local ruler – Akshakhan.
The form of the Akshakhan-kala Settlement resembles a square, whose angles are directed to the cardinal points. It is surrounded by thick, now strongly revetted, double ramparts with several towers along each side. A huge for tified settlement adjoins the site of the ancient town. Its area is much bigger than the town itself. The settlement is surrounded by double walls with corridors and fortified by towers with cut-away arrow slits.
The Akshakhan-kala Fortress consists of two large buildings – Upper and Lower Town. The Upper Town is an almost-square construction fortified by towers and a moat. Later on it was reinforced with another rampart (Lower Town). Both towns were protected by walls with towers and arrow slits located at regular intervals.
Traces of monumental buildings can be found in the Upper Town: a square-shaped temple or a hypostyle palace with 100 florid column pedestals. The size of the palace was 60 × 60 metres. The interior was decorated with ornamental modelling. Along their entire length the corridor walls were adorned with procession images and magnificent paintings from the II century B.C. that depicted portraits of unknown Ancient Khorezm monarchs. The character of a king wearing a crown in a form of a bird remains a mystery to science.
In the centre of the Fortress is a building, possibly a mausoleum, which consists of two square towers on the sides of a cylindrical vault.