Serakhs, Turkmenistan

Serakhs city - an oasis of architectural and historical monuments

Serakhs are located not far from the Iranian frontier on the Akhal Veloyat of Turkmenistan. The middle of the Serakhs etraph is called the city. Modern Serakh, in the middle of the Serakhs Oasis, in the Tedjen River, is more an urban village than a settlement. To date, the land of Serakhs, Old Serakhs and other monuments in the region of the Oasis has become a part of the reserve of history and culture founded in 1991. The area has a long history and cultural heritage.

Serakhs is one of the oldest towns on Central Asia territory. The Eneolithic (IV millennium BC) started its tale when the first villages emerged into the territories of the oasis. Serakhs belonged to the Akhemite Kingdom in the first millennium BC. From this time a hill, which was once an antique Persian Fortress, was surrounded by a few barrows. Before the Arabs settled in Central Asia the city had prospered. Serakhs were defeated in spite of the fierce city-folk opposition. After that for millennia Serakhs had not been populated, and the first villages only appeared under the Takhirids.In the era of the Seljukid dynasty, the city was most prosperous. At that time, because it is situated at the junction of the trading routes, the city became one of the hubs of Central Asia. With the start of the Mongolian invasion, the town began to collapse. Serakh’s was totally destroyed by Mongols, like many other cities in Khorzmanshakh. Nowadays there are only remains in the site of ancient Settlement, and “Old Serakhs” is the location itself. At the end of the 19th century, the new settlement started in 1884, when Russian annexation of Turkmen territories.

The ruins of the XI century Yarty-Gumbez (“half the cathedral”) are 7-8 km south-east of Serakhs. This mausoleum is also one of the finest examples of Medieval architecture in Turkmenistan, along with the Abul-Fazl Mausoleum. There are several theories on the membership of the mausoleum, but the Turkmen think that Muhammad Khanalja was buried in this place.

In 1024 another rare architectural memorial was built in South Turkmenistan. The Mausoleum of Abu-Fazl, or also known as the square Serakh-Baba (15,4 x15,4). This domed structure has marble and Koran inscriptions.

The new city is 15 km away from another attraction. This is Mele Kheyran’s old village. The diggings showed that a Zoroastrian temple of fire once stood. Just a 7-m-high barrow has been left till now. Just a small portion of the walls and a large altar are left of the temple in the middle of the space.