Dekhistan, Turkmenistan

The enigmatic and magical ruins of ancient Dekhistan – the remoteness and loneliness of town – are overlooking the totally dry, waterless, clay plain of Balkan Velayat, which was previously named Misrian Valley. Formerly on a caravan road from Khoresm to Persian Hyrcany, it was a flourishing medieval region. Dekhistan is located in the middle of the Misrian Oasis (Messorian). (Dekhistan was named after the dakhs – a tribe that used to live there).

The time of its development was the reign of Khorezmshak dynasty in late 8th and early 9th century. The city’s entire area occupied nearly 200 hectares, surrounded by a double wall ring. The historians of that time said: “Dekhistan is a town with a large mosque which is on the road to the Turks-ogus…”

But the Dekhitan did not survive for much: when Genghis Khan’s forces arrived, they already saw the city dying. In the 13th-14th centuries after the Mongol conquest, life in the city began and the Dakhistan-Missrian life vanished well throughout the 15th century.

The monuments remaining include: the well-known mausoleum Shir-Kabir, two minarets of 25 m, the cathedral mosque gateway, the remains of the city walls with mud-brick clay, the caravan seris and mausoleums of the necropolis of Mashad.

The locations of several city gates are placed on several of the Caravan routes leading from the city, around the ancient settlement, with the South Gate leading from Persia to Turkey, the East – Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv and the North – towards Russia and Europe. The Caravan Series are situated behind the fortification.