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ANCIENT AMUL - the most important trade artery of antiquity and the Middle Ages.


ANCIENT AMUL. Turkmenabat is located on the bank of the Amudarya River. Its origin is referred to the remote past. Undoubtedly, the city origin is connected with occurrence in the III century BC a great trade way of antiquity and the Middle Ages – a well-known “silk way” running from China through Central Asia and Northern Iran to the Mediterranean.

One of the points on this trade way existing for more than one and a half thousand years was an ancient town located around present Amul settlement nearby Turkmenabat. Originally, it was called not Turkmenabat but Amul (Amuye). In the Eastern annals this town is known under the name of Мu.

Its importance was determined by the fact that here, firstly, a crossing through Amudarya (it obtained its name from Amul) was arranged and, secondly, there was a junction of trade roads. In addition to a main road, the ways to India, Khoresm and Eastern Europe ran from here.

The archaeological materials show that ancient Amul was a large and populous settlement, in which handicrafts were developed, copper coins were minted.

In the VII century Amul was included as a part of the Arabian caliphate. Just the Arabian authors report the most interesting data of it. Geographer Iztahri wrote that this town was “large and rich” and that Amul had a convenient crossing for caravans into Dzheikhun as the Arabs called the Amudarya. The other Arabian author Yakut noted that “a lot of scientists originated from Amul”.

These opinions show that Amul was a significant cultural centre for that time.

DAYAKHATYN CARAVANSARY. During a period of the Middle Ages a trade played the exclusively important role in Central Asia and it was carried out by trade caravans. The large caravansaries performed a lot of functions: they were a roadside hotel, warehouse for the goods, reinforcement against an attack and sometimes – a temporary residence of a local governor travelling across his lands.

The caravansary, a unique monument of medieval architecture known under the name of Dayakhatyn (the people’s name  - Baikhatyn), is located near to the Amudarya left bank  173 km to the north of Turkmenabat

Dayakhatyn served as an important strategic and trade point on one of the main roads of the Great silk way. Not only land caravans went across here; it was a river port for merchant ships as well.

It is the only well-remained caravansary on the territory of Turkmenistan being a typical architecture monument of the XI-XII centuries.

ASTANA-BABA. If you go to the south of Turkmenabat you should stop and admire a wonderful architectural complex -Astana-baba. It is located on the territory of an ancient settlement of the same name located in the old days on a caravan road from Balkha to Zemm and Amul, which was included in the system of main routes of the Great Silk way.

The study of a monument by the specialists shows that it was exposed to many reconstructions throughout a number of centuries. Its oldest parts - the Mosque and front Peshtak (portal) are referred to the XII century. The complex erection is connected with a building activity of Khazret ibn-Ali Nur-ogly, a well-known master of those times.


Koitendag. They are the highest mountains in Turkmenistan. Their surface was a seabed in former times. The living organisms inhabited in it remained here forever in a form of fossils are silent witnesses of geological history of the Earth …

The main resource for formation of the modern tourist industry here is karstic caves - Kap-kutan, Khoshm-oiyk, Gulshirin and other natural undergrounds rare according to their beauty. A rare cave fish not having eyes by nature lives in their underground lakes. It is Koitendag blind loach.

Khoshm-oiyk cave was discovered as one of the first on the Koitendag western slope of the length more than three kilometers. It originates at the bottom of a fell crater on a border of the upper Jurassic period layers. From an entrance, the cave branches into numerous small galleries, entries and manholes among huge plaster stalagmites. Among numerous Koitendag karstic cavities Kap-kutan is the largest cave of the length more than 50km being one of the lengthiest systems in the world.

In a northern part of the Koitendag western slope numerous congestions of clear footprints of three-toed paws of ancient pangolins are known. It was identified that footprints belonged to ancient reptiles of the upper Jurassic period living more 150 million years ago. Nearby some more inclined footprint-baring fields discovered but less in sizes similar to the Khodzhapil plateau and their quantity exceeded one thousand.

Koitendag is considered to be a holy place. Here, there is a great variety of sacral cult objects remained throughout the thousand years. The Kainar-baba Lake, Darai-dere canyon, Kyrk-gyz (forty girls), Umbar-dere with the falls of the height of 40 meters and an, Unabi grove are considered to be the holy sources. And deeply underneath, under stony mountain plateaus the underground rivers flow.

layer and the coast of the ancient sea with numerous dinosaurs’ footprints appeared in one’s eye. The small plateau area is literally “trampled” with chains of huge three-toed footprints of sizes from 20 to 70 cm. Many of them are perfectly trampled and seen well on a grey background of limestones. The scientists consider that the footprints are left by three species of dinosaurs - megalosaurs, iguanodons and tyrannosaurs more than 140-145 million years ago at the end of the Jurassic period. That time there were shallow lagoons with a dense vegetation attracted dinosaurs. The Khodzhapil plateau is now in a zone of protection of the Koitendag reserve. It is remarkable that the places, being a seacoast millions years ago, on which huge pangolins walked, now are at the height more than 2000 meters above a sea level.

of its location is 185-220 metres above a sea level. The reserve area is equal to 34600 hectares and it is the only deserted reserve of the country. According to a combination of climatic conditions and ecosystems of deserts the reserve is distinguished by a particularity of a deserted area of Asia temperate zone.