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Atlas Obscura The Ancient Chilpik Tower of Silence

Situated on the banks of the Amu Darya river in the Chilpik (also spelled Shilpik or Shilpiq) region of Karakalpakstan, an autonomous territory of Uzbekistan, is an ancient Zoroastrian Tower of Silence thought to be the earliest example of the traditional funerary ritual, constructed somewhere between the 1st century BCE and 1st century CE.

Towers of Silence, also called dakhma, are a traditional excarnation ritual practiced in the Zoroastrian faith dating back thousands of years. Zoroastrians believed that after death a body was at risk of becoming contaminated and made impure by demons. To prevent this, corpses of the deceased were left atop a tower exposed to the elements and birds of prey which would purify the body, after which the bones would be placed in ossuaries nearby. This practice was believed to be the least harmful form of interment.

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