Koneurgench, called Gurganj in ancient times, is located in the Dashoguz
velayat in north-western Turkmenistan, on the left bank of the former Amudarya
River. Gurganj was the capital of the Khorezm region, the origins of which go
back to the 6th or 7th centuries CE and the early Achaemenid period.
Koneurgench had a favourable geographic location at the crossing of two major
caravan routes: west to east from Europe to China and from the south to the
northwest to the Volga River.
On the southern edge of the KaraKum desert, in the Mary province of
Turkmenistan, the fertile soil and abundance of water provided by the broad delta
of the Murgab River attracted human settlement for over 2,500 years. Although
today’s Merv appears to be a largely deserted landscape, below the surface, at
depths ranging from three to seventeen metres, there lays one of the greatest
archaeological sites in the world. Merv is not only the name of the oldest cities
that have stood on the site but of the whole surrounding area, comprising
Erk-kala, Gyaur-kala, Sultan-kala and Abdullah Khan-kala. The rich history of
these various settlements forms one of the most complex and well-preserved
urban centres on the Silk Road with their ruins occupying thousands of acres.
It is Mashad-Misrian, or Dehistan, a city which had two names. In the Middle
Ages the name of Dehistan referred not only to the administrative centre with the
area of about two hundred hectares, but to the whole, densely populated province
with the network of cities, fortresses and small villages. This part of
southern-eastern Caspian area, up to the Kopet-Dag foothills, is called the Misrian
plateau on contemporary geographic maps. In ancient times there existed a huge
oasis known as Hyrcania. It was part of a more spacious, cultural complex which
included the Gorgan plain in the northern Iran.
The settlement of Old Nisa is located in the outskirts of Bagyr village,
approximately 18km to the west of Ashgabat, and is believed to have been the
residence of the Parthian Rulers and the spiritual centre of the Parthian state. The
fortress at Old Nisa was built in the late 3rd Century BCE and existed until the end
of the 2nd Century CE. The settlement is one of two sites, the second being New
Nisa, which is located 1.5km to the north and is believed to have been a large city
where the main population would have resided.
Forty years ago, in the old, sand-filled estuary of the Murgap River, archeologist
Victor Sarianidi found and started excavations at the largest Bronze Age
settlement in Central Asia. Gonur-depe, which is distinguished by its size. It really
looks like a capital settlement of that enigmatic country. Archeologists found out
that it emerged in 2300-2250 BCE and existed for about 600-800 years. Only the
central part of the monumental constructions of the Gonur complex, about 25
hectares, had been occupied when it was abandoned by inhabitants in the middle
of the 2nd Millennium BCE.
"Marysyyahat" State Travel Enterprise
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