Sites in Turkministan

State Historical and Cultural Park "Ancient Merv"

Ancient MervDate of Inscription: 1999
Mary Vilayet
N37 42 03 E62 10 39

Merv was a major oasis-city in Central Asia, on the historical Silk Road, located near today's Mary in Turkmenistan. Several cities have existed on this site, which is significant for the interchange of culture and politics at a site of major strategic value. It is claimed that Merv was briefly the largest city in the world in the 12th century. Merv's origins are prehistoric: archaeological surveys have revealed many survivals of village life as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. Some suggest that Merv is the origin of Hindu belief in Mount Meru, which Hinduism declares to be the centre of the world. It is more likely, however, that Mount Meru is another name for Mount Kailas in Tibet. Merv consists of a few discrete walled cities very near to each other, each of which was constructed on uninhabited land by builders of different eras, used, and then abandoned and never rebuilt. Four walled cities correspond to the chief periods of Merv's importance: the oldest, Erkgala, corresponds to Achaemenid Merv, and is the smallest of the three.