- is one of the richest regions with its architectural
monuments on the territory of Turkmenistan. About two
hundred historical, archeological and architectural monuments
were discovered and displayed in this region. Ancient
Abiverd, Namazga-Depe, Altyn-Depe, Ak-Depe, Gara-Depe-
these are the oldest places, where people lived in ancient
times- V-II thousand years ago and applied themselves
to the cultivation of grain, applied hand-craft, preparation
of fabulous, varied production. Among historical monuments
in books and notes that are considered to be one of the
ancient monuments the name Abiverd is often mentioned
to us. Even at the period of antiquity , in the epoch
of the Parthian kingdom, during the reign of Seldjuk empire,
even in medieval centuries, when the "Great Silk
Route " passed through Abiverd or Baverd, the town
was considered densely populated, including in itself
several fortresses and was mentioned as the center, that
enclosed all these monuments. This region, that is very
rich in historical-architectural monuments didn-t have
any special organization or facilities in protection,
conservation and study of these buildings. First years
of independence of our country, on the I-st of April 1993
the President of Turkmenistan C.Niyazov signed a special
Decree announcing the territory of medieval fortress "Abiverd",
that is situated in Kahka, as the National historical-
cultural reserve. "Abiverd" reserve commenced
the study of architectural monuments, based on the scientific
levels, arrangements and showing them to the present and
following generation. On these pages we made an attempt
to tell you about some of the architectural monuments,
that are situated in the region and invite you for the
trip to such places.
In the center of Kahka region, about 7 kilometers to the
west, occupying a vast territory (70 ha) , the architectural
monument Namazgadepe is located. People inhabited this
area already in the III millennium BC. At that time the
town had 10 000 inhabitants. First archeological excavations
took place here in 1930-1940. Masson named the culture
of this area Namazga culture. Nam Sufism school and philosopher
Abu Said lbn Makneye. Its double dome s was very typical
for the architecture of that period of time. In the 15th
century the building was partly renovated.
The interior and exterior of the mausoleum are decorated
with Arabic inscriptions and the portal is laced with
mosaics. Abu-Said Mackneyi was born in 968 and died in
1049. When he was 12 years old he could read by heart
three thousand lines in the Arabic language. His father's
name was Ibrayim. He owned a perfume shop and paid a big
attention to his son's education. Abu Said studied in
Mary and gained his education from famous people of that
period Abu Zahir and Abul-Fazil. There are lots of amusing
stories about Abu Said's life experience. Once when Abu
Said was at the mosque in Nishapur, the famous scientist
Abu-Ali lbn Sina entered the mosque and joined praying
people. They met each other and had conversation, lasted
for three days. When Abu Said was about to leave one person
stopped him and asked "How did you found lbn Sina"?
He answered "lbn Sina knows everything". When
the same question they asked lbn Sin, he answered "Abu
Said knows everything that I know".
Namazgadepe - the ancient town of the East
the center of Kahka region, about 7 kilometers to the
west, occupying a vast territory (70), lies the architectural
monument Namazgadepe. This ancient civilizations history
goes back to III thousand B.C, when it grew to yhe high
level both in economy and culture.
1930-1940 the well-known archeologsts like A.A Marushenco,
Ershov held archeological excavations here. Namazgadepe
was first studied by the Russian scientist Bukinch in
1926. And he gave a real appreciation to this monument
"Namazgadepe-is the place to be learnt and one of
the most important cultural heritage. But the main acknowledgements
are given to famous Soviet archeologists B.I Masson, Shetenko,
Kufty, who worked a lot on this monument and called it
" The culture of Namazga".
People lived here both in eneolit and bronze ages. Namazga
was the first place where the economic and cultural advancements
came together and formed a town. In III thousand B.C living
conditions in Namazga flourishes to a great level. Its
population grew and first constructions began to appear
here. At that time the town had 10 thousand inhabitants.
mixture of copper with lead and its use in making silver
metals took place in this settlement. The craftsmen who
produced various kinds of vessels and household utensils
moved to working on silver, copper, lead and gold. At
the end of the bronze age- II thousand B.C Namazga was
on a low condition.
Great works have been done by archeologists who discovered
a great treasure of ceramic lampshades, clay vessels and
pots, that belonged to III-II thousand B.C.
The historical monument Kuren-Kala (Vl-VII c.c.) is located
in Kahka region, about 25 km to the north-east from the
railway station Artyc. These days one can see the remains
of the citadel. The total area is: 100m by 85m. The height
of the Kala is 11-12 m. The hill is surrounded by smaller
hills-Depe. The second hill of Kuren Kala/9,5m high/ is
located about 2 km from the main citadel to the south
east. The area of this hill/Depe in Turkmen/ is 71m by
63m. The ceramics of this Depe is very similar to the
ceramics of the main hill-citadel. Also coins, glass,
copper bowls, khums/jugs were found here.
Karahan-Kala fortress is situated in Kahka region. It
represents a regular rectangle. In the southern wall of
the fortress there are gates 3.5 m long. The oval towers
strengthened additionally the walls of the fortress, surrounded
by a moat. People inhabited this area were engaged in
agriculture and cattle-breeding.They irrigated the land,
using the water of the Naurekchag river. Starting in Iran,
the river had been dried up in the XIX c. and people had
to move to the south.The fortress Karahan -Kala was built
by Karahan - the member of the Alili clan.
Chugundor - Kufen
The historical monument Chugundor/the town of Kufen/ is
situated about 2 kilometers from the railway station Baba
Durmaz. Oval in the shape, the town was surrounded by
walls and a moat. The walls were 6 km long and 2 m high.
The town had five gates, three of which were located in
the eastern part of the settlement. Still we can see the
remains of white buildings and the mausoleum. In early
medieval historical sources we can fine the other name
of the town - Kufen. To the west there is a Mausoleum
Chugundor Baba/ the end of XI- the beginning of XII centuries,
till I half of the XI-XII centuries on the territory of
the settlement was erected a fortification which in XI-XII
centuries converts into the flourishing town Abiverd.
In early medieval sources the town-s name was Kufen.
Anakhita "The sacred fire" is situated by the
mouth of the small river, to the east of the village Baba-Durmaz.
Among the river there is the marvelous historical monument,
that was first studied in 1928-1930 by the well-known
Soviet archeologists A. A. Marushenko who referred this
monument to the I millenium BC . Life continued here till
the beginning of our era. During a short period of excavations
the stone sculpture of the god Anakhit was discovered
here. Hence the name of this temple. The Anakhit monument
belongs to the I-st thousand B.C. and Anakhit was the
God of prosperity, fertility and love.
The historical monument Kara-Depe is situated about 3
km to the south from the railway station Artyk. The total
area of this site is 15 hectares. Moderate climate had
created conditions for the long life of this ancient settlement.
Adobe dwelling houses and households were located here.
The yards adjoining to houses were divided by narrow streets.
People of Kara-depe were engaged in agriculture and cattle-breeding.
The artisans widely used copper, stone, bone, wood and
clay. Archeological excavations testily to the fact that
life here was already in III millenium BC. Historians
call Kara Depe "the town of ancient artists".
Khivi Abad Fortress
Khivi -Abad fortressXVIII c. is situated 22 km northwest
of Khivi Abad village. It is surrounded by walls and a
moat. Still you can see the remains of the watch towers
and the gates. The northern, eastern and western parts
of the walls are well preserved. The southern one is ruined.
Each wall had 12 rounded towers. The gates were also fortified
by two towers
Nedir Shakh Fortress
Nedir Shakh fortress was built by Nedir-Shah's order in
the 18-th century. The fortress was surrounded by moat.
The southern wall of this historical monument was damaged,
however the other walls have been preserved to our days.
In the northern corner of the fortress one can see a hill
10 meters high. From the top of this hill the whole fortress
and its surroundings could be seen. In the middle of the
fortress there are the ruins of the palace.
About 22 kilometers to the north of Kahka region in the
collective farm named after A. Tahirov, there is the fortress
of the great ruler Nedir-Shah. The fortress was built
by the order of Nedir-Shah himself in the 18-th century.
It was built in a rectangular form with the walls reaching
to one thousand meters and the height up to 3 meters and
surrounded by water channels. In every corner of the walls
there are 12 round orifices that were once used for protection.
Their height is 5 meters. The southern walls of this historical
monument were damaged by inundation, but other walls have
been preserved to our days. On the northern corner of
the fortress one can see a hill with the height of 10
meters and 20 in diameter. From the hill the whole fortress
and its surroundings can be seen. In the middle of the
fortress there are the ruins of the inner part of the
palace. The monument gives a beautiful view to Kopet-Dag
Yahdan is situated 22 km to the south from the center
ofKahka region. There are two Yahdan-snow reservoirs.
From the ancient times this place was suffering from a
shortage of water.The local people learnt to use and keep
snow in winter.Yahdan is a cupola construction, made of
raw bricks. In the eastern part of the 1st Yahdan there
is an entrance 1.75m wide and 2m high. It's diameter is
12m, height - about 15-20 m. The 2nd Yahdan is smaller
in size and less preserved.
TheXI-XIII c.c. monument represents a hill (8 m high).
Primarily it had a half rounded outline. It's southern
part is ruined. As a result of archeological excavations
dwelling houses and living rooms were opened .Ceramics,
glass and remains of metal products were found here.
VI-VII c.c. "Ak-depe" is situated 4 km to the
north-west of Artyk station. At present the monument represents
a very big hill, surrounded by a moat. This castle appeared
here at the period of antiquity. The total area of the
castle is 74kmX26 km.The entrance had two huge towers.
The primary height of the walls has reached 10 m. The
northern wall had an entrance. The castle was renovated
in the 6 c. During the architectural excavations silver
and copper coins were found. Like the majority of other
kakhs it appeared at the place of an antique settlement,
combining of living and household dwellings.