(Kunyaurgench, Old Urgench, Köneurgench)
the far end of Turkmenistan, 150 km to the northwest of
Dashoguz, lies Koneurgench City (population 31.400). The
outskirts of the city adjoin the territory of the State
Historical -Cultural Museum - Reserve, covering nearly
640 hectares, and was founded in 1985. Here one can find
several magnificent architectural memorials of the 13th
- 14th c. These include one of the tallest minaret in
Middle Asia, and various numbers of common buildings in
medieval epoch: mausoleums, medressas and fortresses.
There are all remnants of the ancient
capital that gained prosperity thousands of year ago.
It was the ancient capital of Khorezm, a historical region
located near the mouth of Amu-Darya River, the first mentioned
in the famous Behistun legend of Tsar Dary I (the 6th-5th
c AD) and also in the "Avesta" - Zoroastrians'
No one knows when Koneurgench was founded. Traces of an
ancient settlement were discovered recently on the territory
of present Koneurgench. During the excavation of a barrow,
called Kyrkmolla, contours of a powerful antique fortress
were found, based on earlier cultural ground with ceramics
of 6th - 7th c AD.
In 712, Khorezm was overthrown by the Arabs, and Koneurgench
took its Arabic name Dgurdganiya (or Gurgandg). The city
developed, thanks to its advance position on the trade
routes from the south to the north and from the west to
the Volga River, and to the east in Mongolia and China.
In 995, Gurgandg become Khorezmshakh's state capital and
the second city after remarkable Bukhara - capital of
Samanids, in Middle Asia. It is amazing that wonderful
architectural monuments from that era have survived. The
earliest among these are mausoleums of Khorezmshakhs II
- Arslan and Tekesh, built in the 12th c. The city was
surrounded by walls - fragments of which form a bank.
There are another monuments such as the most beautiful
palace in Gurganj Turabek - Khanum (dated originally in
the 12th century and was considered to be a mausoleum
of the Sufi Dynasty); Kutlug - Timur minaret; Mamun II
minaret; Sultan Ali mausoleum; Ibn - Khadgib mausoleum
(14th century); Ali Ar - Ramitany mausoleum (Ezizdgan);
Seyid Akhmed mausoleum; portal of an unknown monumental
construction ("Peshtak" of Caravansaray - 14th
century); Nadgmetdin al - Kubr khanaka; burial building
- Mukhamad Karim - Ishan mausoleum (1886 - 89); medressa
"Dash - masque" (1907-1908).On the Koneurgench
territory there are preserved numerous archaeological
and architectural monuments, presenting considerable scientific
and cultural value.Kune Urgench has been known by various
names, found in Avesta-Urva (VI c. BC); Hangrid-Hanjird
(VII-VIII c.c. AD); Gurgench-Djurdjaniya (XI-XII c.c.
AD). After the Mongol invasion, the town was called Urgench;
from l646 AD, it was known as Kune-Urgench.
Kune-Urgench was considered one of the major cities of
the East. The scientists who studied the topography of
Gurgench/Urgench considered that the territory was as
large as 1000 hectares in the X-XIV c.c. AD. This site
is presently protected by the Government. It occupies
Legend tells that the town Kine-Urgench was destroyed
and re-built seven times. Beginning 1681 AD, Kune Urgench
came under the control of Arab rules. Between 1017- 1034
AD , Kune Urgench was governed by Ghaznavids. Abu-shtegin,
a turkish slave, founded a new state which lasted until
1221 AD. In 1221 Urgench was destroyed by the Mongols.
In 1321, the town was annexed to the Golden Horde. In
the middle of the 14 c. Hussein Sufi, a Qongart Turk,
founded the Sufi Dynasty with the support of the Khan
of the Golden Horde. In 1388 the town was destroyed by
Temur Link, and lost a status of a city. In 1646, when
the Amu-Darya river changed its course, life stopped here.
After the construction of the canal Khanyap by the Khans
of Khiva, the town was re-born.
The fortress Kyrk Molla is located in the north-eastern
outskirts of Gur-Gench, and dates back to the X-XIV c.c..
It is directly to the north east of the monument of KHOREZM-shah
Tekesh. The height of the fortress is 12 m.
This fortress is located southwest of the ruins of Medieval
Urgench. Their high walls, built with sun dried bricks,
have survived to our days. Historical references indicate
that the famous "Koshk-l-Ahchas", dating back
to the X-XII c.c., was located here. The height of the
walls of the fortress ranges from 6 to 8 metres.
Dashgala begins from the canal "Gushbegiyap"
which runs to the south of the mausoleum ll'Arslan. It
borders Ak Gala on the east and Khorezm Bagh on the west.
Dashgala is surrounded by a moat. Inside the Dashgala,
there are such monuments as Karavansaray in the south
and the Minaret of Mamum in the north.
Mausoleum of Soltan Tekesh
The monument , known as Soltan Takesh, is located to the
southeast of Kyrk Molla. Soltan Tekesh ruled between XII-XIII
c.c., Although in the scientific literature this structure
is known as the Mausoleum of Tekesh, in popular parlance
called Gokgummez (Blue cupola) or the Mausoleum of Shyh
Sherip Baba. The foundation of the monument is quadrangular
in shape, and the 24-sided cupola is 18 meters high with
a square base measuring 11.45X11.45 m.
II Arslan is a magnificent building, located between Dashgala
and the Mausoleum of Tekesh. This magnificent structure
is known among the people as Mausoleum of Kho-rezmshah
II Arslan. The monument is also named after the famous
Islamic scientist and philosopher Fahreddin Razi. II Arslan
ruled from 1156 to 1172. According to the latest scientific
theories, this building was used for storing water.
Monument of Torebeg Hanum
This monument, named after Torebeghanum, is located in
the northern part of the ancient Gurgench. This monument
con-sidered to be the most beautiful in Central Asia.
Torebeg-haanym dates back to the end of the XIIc. - begining
of the XIII c. Some historians doesn't consider it to
be a mausoleum, but rather the palace of the Anushtegyns
Dynasty. This structure, with a total area of 100 sq.
m and high portal /25 m., is divided into three parts.
It consists of a large central hall, a watchtower on the
left and a staircase of 45 steps on the right.
Minaret of Gutlugh Temur/XI-XII c.c.
The minaret of Gutlugh Temur is located in the north west
side of Khorezmshakh Tekesh. It is 64m high and considered
to be the highest in Central Asia. The diameter of foundation
is about 12 m., the diameter of the top is about 2 m.
At a height of 7 m there is an entrance into the minaret
The monument, known as Caravansaray, is located in the
south of ancient Gurgench. According to historians , ancient
Gurgench had had three gates: Akabilan, Nowur and AI-Kauz.
Caravansaray is rectangular in shape and measures 34 m
from north to east.
The monument of Nedjimeddin Kubra is located in the western
part of Kune Urgench. The monument is named after Ahmed
ibn Omar Abuidjenap Nedjimeddin al Kubra al Khorezmi.
He was born in Urgench in 1145-46, and became the founder
of the Kubravid's school of Sophism. Nedjmeddin Kubra
was famous not only as philosopher, but also as a painter,
physician, chess master and talented general. Seven books
and 24 rubais written by Kubra survived to this day. This
monument is a perfect architectural construction. Its
portal dates back to the XII-XIII c.c.. The monument was
rebuilt during the era of prosperity of Khorezm, and again
after the Mongol invasion.
The mausoleum of Piryarweli is located to the west of
Nedjmeddin Kubra.In this place a lot of famous people
were buried,such as Shyh Setdar, Sheker Gendji, Daniyar
Weli. Piryarweli was a contemporary of Nedjmeddin Kubra.
Initially the monument was costructed in the XII-XIV c.c..
The height of its portal is 6.5 m and length is 7.5 m.
The monument of Ibn Hadjib, located in the western sector
of ancient Gurgench, was built in honor of Ibn Hadjib,
a talented descile of Nedjmeddin Kabra. This monument
is actually a complex, different parts of which were constructed
in different periods of time/ 14,18,19 c.c. This includes
a burial chamber and premises for the visitors.
Mausoleum of Seyit Ahmet/XIV c.
The grave of Seyit Ahmet is located on the right side
of the road to Minara. Seyit Ahmet was a famous contemporary
of Nedjmeddin Kubra.
The mausoleum of Soltan Ali
is located on the opposite side from the mausoleum of
Nedjmeddin Kubra.This monument is linked to the name of
Soltan Ali, who ruled Urgench in the 16 c. The monument
is hexagonal in shape. The diameter of the cupola is 9.5
Located along the famous Silk
Road, Kune Urgench became an important link for the caravans,
passing from the East, West and North , from the Volga
river, Mongolia and China. This crossroad was a great
contribution to the development of science and culture
in Central Asia.