A further 2-3km along the main road brings you to Buddhist Termez, which also spreads out a little to the east. The oldest of the three sites (and possibly the oldest building in Uzbekistan still standing) is the Zurmala Tower, a brick-built structure 16m high that dates from the 1st to 2nd century ad, when Buddhism was ruling religion in the Central Asian region. It is the only remaining part of a vast Buddhist stupa (mound containing relics) that would originally have been clad in stone and richly decorated, an expensive and labour-intensive design that demonstrates the significance of Termez as a Buddhist centre.
The site of Ancient Termez is located 10 km to the west of the modern city. Its countryside is known for a whole complex of ancient Buddhist buildings which covered agricultural fields in the Middle Ages. In the course of time, the Buddhist stupa reduced almost to a shapeless mound of clay, which could be hardly identified as a Buddhist ritual structure. Once here, in the suburb zone, were seemingly the whole complexes of Buddhist constructions, but at the Medieval centuries, this territory was occupied by the fields.
Nevertheless, thousands of years ago the Stupa Zurmala had an important religious significance for the people of that region. Like other stupas, found in Central and South-East Asia, it symbolized Buddha's death and burial (“stupa” is translated as “a heap of stones, a top” from Sanskrit). It is indicative that the structure of later Buddhist stupas with upwardly decreasing “umbrellas of honor” was developed into pagoda type of construction in China, Korea, Japan and other south-eastern countries.
Just the main construction - huge mortar, lacking in its facing transmitted the centuries. At present it only the unformed massif, however, excavations showed that the building had the rectangular pedestal, where was erected cylindrical shaped tower monolith with dome shaped coronation. All laying was erected from adobe bricks, pedestal was once faced with white flag stone, and main base of the mortar - backed bricks, dyed with bright-red color. The diameter of the mortar equal to 14,5 m. the total height reached once 16 m. it was crowned pole with "umbrellas of honor". The upper part of the tower had a reliquary – a chamber to store Buddhist scriptures, statues or Buddha relics. Outside, the Stupa was painted in bright red.
The erection of Zurmala connected with Great Kushan, and its scale much bigger than Fayaztepa mortar. It shows about the outstanding value of this building in Buddhist construction in the territory of Central Asia. Zurmala was the first Buddhist monument discovered in the territory of Central Asia in the early XX century. Its belonging to Buddhist cultic structures was identified by A. Strelkov, a member of scientific expedition of the Museum of Oriental Cultures as early as 1927. In total, about 40 monuments of Buddhism, half of which is located in the territory of modern Uzbekistan, were found and studied in Central Asia.