NEWS

Stamped ceramics of Merv

Large cities that grew up along the Great Silk Road were not only strategic hubs of transit trade, but also well-known centres of production of a wide variety of goods. For a long time, earthenware dishware that is so necessary in every home remained to be among the most used. It is not surprising that ceramic art reached perfection in medieval Turkmenistan. A special group of unglazed ceramics includes vessels with the entire surface ornamented in relief-stamped patterns and made using special matrices (galyb). They are found at the settlements of the 11th-13th centuries. The largest centre of production of such ceramic products was Merv. A vast quarter of ceramists was located in the vicinity of medieval Merv, behind the wall of the site of the ancient settlement of Sultan Gala, in the square of the former suburb, rabad. Thousands of furnaces operated there from the 11th till the early 13th century. Locally manufactured ceramic items – glazed and unglazed – include numerous fragments of high-quality stamped vessels. Ceramic products deformed during firing or damaged during manufacturing were found in mass quantities in the dumps of ceramic scrap; artisans broke them following the custom not to keep their failures. After thorough selection and restoration, the fragments helped recreate a large number of magnificent forms of dishware.

The Man who found treasure in Ancient Times (From the collection of «Life stories»)

I have the book «The popular People of the 20th century» published in Russian in the beginning of 90-s of the 20th century in my hand. While I was looking through the pages of the book the article «The leading scientist of archaeology of Central Asia» attracted my attention. It was very strange and interesting biography. This personality had to overcome a number of difficulties and went through continents.

Play like as-Suli

Intellectual games, including chess, have always been popular in the territory of Turkmenistan. Therefore, it is not surprising that the first unofficial world chess champion, born at the end of the 9th century, came from an ancient Turkmen family. Abu Bekir Ibn Yahya Muhammet as-Suli was the son of one of the sons of Suli Khan, who moved to Baghdad. None of the contemporaries of as-Suli Shadranji could surpass him in chess. Nowadays, wishing to pray the talent of the player, it is said, “He plays like as-Suli.” In the very centre of Ashgabat, there is a shady alley Ylham ("Inspiration"). The eyes of visitors are attracted by sculptures of poets, philosophers, thinkers and scientists of the Middle Ages. One of the monuments embody the image of our compatriot Abu Bekir as-Suli.

Ashgabat, the City twice born

Ashgabat is the crossroad for the life paths of many Turkmen people. Many Turkmen poets and writers created their masterpieces in connection with Ashgabat, because it is the city that unites all the people of Turkmenistan. Many great events took place in this city, the capital of Turkmenistan. Each building or street of the city reminds of historical events like a symbolic monument. The Ashgabat Railway Station is the starting point for many of them. It connects not only all the provinces of the country but it was also the station from which Turkmen people saw off their sons who went to the frontline to defend their Motherland during the Great Patriotic War. Day and night trains loaded with the necessary goods for the front passed along this railway station. In peaceful life, the Ashgabat railway station is always full of people starting on journeys, trips for different purposes. Especially, in summer and autumn there are many young people, girls and boys dressed brightly, reminding the colours of rainbow, come to study to Ashgabat.

Attractive Mystery of Nisa

Like all regions of our Motherland, Southern Turkmenistan and especially the foothill strip of the Kopetdag Mountains can fascinate with the splendour of its enchanting nature. Streams with healing water flowing down from the mountains, orchards saturated with the hot sun, green plains of a blooming oasis, running into the yellow sands of the Karakum Desert, create amazing beauty. And such a landscape is harmoniously complemented by frequent burial mounds and ruins of ancient settlements, testifying to the rich centuries-old history of Turkmenistan. The monuments of the tangible chronicle are so old that their former glory has turned into myths and legends that have outlived their heroes for millennia. One of such monuments is New Nisa, which, together with its “sister” – Old Nisa, often considered as a single local ensemble, is located in the south-west of our white-marble capital city, in Bagir. The definitions “old” and “new” are not quite correct for those settlements, since people lived in New Nisa long before the emergence of Old Nisa in the 3rd century BC. These names that do not correspond to the chronology of events were given to them by the governor of the Transcaspian region, General A.V. Komarov. He encountered only antique ceramics carrying out surface excavations and studying the material, found at the eastern settlement, and only medieval ceramics

From Parthia to Modern Times

The crucial aspects of the state policy include the research and integrated study of the history and culture of the Turkmen people. Large and fruitful activities on the preservation and restoration of historical and cultural monuments have been conducted for many years. Last year, restoration work at one of the amazing heritage sites of our country – Halimberdy (Kerimberdy) Ishan Mosque was completed under the scientific supervision of specialists from the National Directorate for the Protection, Study and Restoration of Historical and Cultural Monuments under the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan. The mosque stands in one of the streets of Bagir. It was built at the very beginning of the 20th century, but the 1948 earthquake badly damaged it. Later, the surviving building was listed in the State Register as a monument of history and culture.

The First City of Ancient Farmers

Turkmenistan is famous for a great number of historical and cultural monuments. In this respect, its territory is an “archaeological Klondike”, where researchers have rich material to study the by-gone eras from the Palaeolithic sites up to the late Middle Ages. The earliest settlements of Neolithic farmers and the proto-urban civilisations of the Bronze Age that came to replace them, which reached their heyday at the turn of the 3rd-2nd millennia BC, are of particular interest. The main centres, Altyn-Depe, Namazga-Depe and Ulug-Depe, and their successor, the ancient kingdom of Margush, allow including the lands of our country in a modern belt of cultural development and talking about the fifth centre of civilisation along with Egypt and Mesopotamia, India and China. Altyn-Depe (5th - early 2nd millennium BC) is the most well-studied Neolithic and Bronze Age sites of the three listed above. The remains of the settlement occupy the top of a hill, some sections of which exceed 20 metres in height, and is composed of thick cultural strata. The ruins of the site of ancient settlement are located in the foothill zone of the Kopetdag Mountains in the Ahal velayat, a few kilometres from the Meana village. In its heyday, the settlement occupied an area of 26 hectares and had the well-fortified walls surrounding it, up to 6 metres thick, built of adobe bricks. There were the main 1