Merv, Turkmenistan

One of the oldest territories in Central Asia, Merv Oasis (40km from Mary), is the one where irrigation systems first were implemented. It contributed to the creation of one of the world’s largest cities, Merv (Margush, Margiana, Mary). Merv’s roots are wrapped in mystery. However, one thing is definitely known – the first written references to this town were found in chronicles from Avesti from about the 8th to 6th centuries B.C. There were widespread epithets in chroniclers who referred to it as “a king’s soul, a mother of the cities of Khurasa and the town of the world. Omar Khayyam, As-Samani, Imamadde- Isfakhani and other great Middle Ages thinkers stayed there.

The new remains include at least five old villages – Erk-Kala, Gyaur-Kala and Sultan-Kala, Abdullakhan-Kala. Most of them are badly damaged; some remember sloping hills, but Merv is still one of the most unusual monuments in history.

The Sultan Sandzhar Daral-Akhir (1140 A.D.) mauseleum, whose name is related to the stable age of the great Seldom empire, is among the interesting historical monuments. It’s about 40 meters high this impressive landmark. The iconic dome made from two thin shells of brick is a rare medieval skyscraper.

The remains of Bairamalikhan Kalan and its walls, Kyz Kala fortress (6-7th centuries), Al-Jakim ibn amir al-Javari and Burai ibn al-Khusein Al-Islamy (15th century, place of pilgrimage), Moqhammad ibn zeid Mausoleum (12th cen.), are well-known monuments of Merv as the sultan-Kala, Shazriar-Ark City, Abdillakhan-Ka’ala fortress ruins (15th generation. (6-7th century) (6th century),Christian temple Ruins and the Gyaur-Kala Buddhist convent (old Antiokhia Magiana), Beni-Makhan Mosque Ruins (7-12th centuries), high fortifications such as the Major and Small Kyz-kala Ruins, the Kyz-biby mausoleum, and many baths, palaces, main halls and many others.

Other attractive temples include Dandancan and Talkhatan- Baba (12th century), Akuil-Cushuk (9-13th century), Castle of Kharas-Keshk (9-13th centuries), ancient settlements of Durnali (1st – 2nd century), and Ancient Gebek. The Merv History Museum is host to several archeological discoveries that were uncovered during ancient city excavations.

Today Merv is listed as a well-preserved old center on the Great Silk Road in UNESCO’s World Legacy.