Merv is located in Turkmenistan and considered one of the most known sites.
Currently: in ruins
Cultures: Buddhist, Persian (Iranian), Arab, Sejuk, Mongol, Turk (Turkmen)
Once was a significant city on the Great Silk Road. Nowadays located nearby modern city Mary, and most of 'Anur Tour' tours will put you through these two cities. People colonized Merv from 3rd millenium BC to 18th century AD. During this time it became a capital of Achaemenid Empire, a centre of satrapy of then Margiana.
Sadly, the Mongolian invasions have completely deserted out the population of once prosperous Merv. It was restored after the last invade but it didn't regain it previous power. People have left Merv around 1800s and never came back.
UNESCO has put ancient Merv in a list of World Heritage Sites.
Most of the Merv's population were Zoroastrians at the start. But lately, Buddhists have crowded it and city became a centre of Central Asian buddhism.
Merv was important for every era it existed in. It has a name Alexandria after Alexander the Great, owned title Antiochia Margiana and every newcoming ruler kept renaming the city over and over again. Uzbeks ended its brightful era but the memories of once great city are remaining in books, monuments and local sites.
Sites of Merv:
- Erk Gala: (pers: citadel fort) unrestored oldest part of Merv. Was built ~7th century BC in a Persian style fort. Later, the definition of Erk Gala has changed to necropolis & ark purposes.
- Gäwürgala: (turkmen from persian language: fortress of the Zoroastrians) the complex of walls built for protecting & religious purposes.
-Soltangala: the living memory of Abbasids dynasty. Is the largest building in Merv so far. Has a mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar inside.
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