site includes the remains of Old and New Nisa.
Two outstanding monuments of Central Asian archeology
- the townships of Old and New Nisa- are situated on the
grounds of Bagir village about 18 km from Ashgabat. Old
Nisa was an important center of the Parthian state, which
existed since the III c. BC up to the III c. AD and rivaled
with Rome for supremacy in the Near East.
In particular, in 53 BC the Parthians managed to bring
a crushing defeat upon the Romans in the battle of Karres
(a small village in Northern Mesopotamia); thousands of
Roman soldiers were sent to settle in the remote Margiana,
in the valley of the Murgab river.
New Nisa is older than Old Nisa. Life stopped at Old Nisa
already in the III c. AD, when the Parthian state was
conquered by the Pershian dynasty of Sasanids, however
the New Nisa was still inhabited later, up to the XVI-XVIIc.c.
As a place for erecting the Old Nisa a natural height
was chosen; ancient architects turned it into a menacing
fortress, pentagonal in plan, with an area of about 14
hectares. The walls of the fortress were about 8-9 m thick
near the basis, 43 rectangular towers strengthening them
The main buildings of Old Nisa are grouped into two assemblages:
the Northern and the Central part, the latter being sometimes
called the Southern. The treasury, a vast vine storage,
different workshops and other household buildings were
located in the Northern part of the fortress. The monumental
temples and Throne Hall were grouped in the Central assemblage.
The central place in the Southern assemblage belongs to
the Square Hall/ 20 X 20 rn/.Fired brick was the material
for columns and semi columns, terracotta architectural
details were used for decoration of this Hall. The design
of the two other big constructions of the Central assemblage,
the Round Hall and the Tower, seems to be more closed.
The Round Hall /17 m in diameter/ is enclosed into a legible
quadrate of surrounding corridors. The massive Tower occupied
the area of about 20X20 m and was 8 m high.To the north
of the Square Hall a big group of various buildings and
a vast yard were located, where multi column porticos
were found. This part of the assemblage is likely to have
been dwelled and served for household purposes. The architectural
view of the Northern assemblage is quite different. The
royal solemnity of Halls and temples is changed for constructions
of utility character. The most important is the a Square
House /60X60m/. It consisted of 12 rectangular chambers
surrounding a large yard with 3 chambers alongside. In
each room items of great artistic value were stored: marble
statues, ivory rythons, silver and bronze vessels etc.
Surrounding the main treasury were numerous other constructions,
among them vast vine storage, where huge clay vessels
/ khums / were located. Each khum was accompanied by a
document written on a clay ostrakon/ a broken piece of
a jug/. Several questions are not solved yet.
Old Nisa has been declared a State Archeological Reservation.