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  EXCAVATIONS
From the archaeological point of view Turkmenistan offers numerous sites of great interest.
After a visit to the National Museum of Turkmenistan of Ashgabat, exposing the richest collection of archaeological finds of the country, it ia advisable to make an excursion to Nisa, an archaeological site at 25 km from the capital, where it is possible to admire the remains of the ancient capital of Parthians, whose kingdom, thanks to con-quests of Mithridates I, extended in the II century b.C. from the shores of the Mediterranean sea to the banks of Indus. Excavations brought to light the remains of the ancient fortress of Mithridatkert, built on the top of a hill and including inside two big architectonic structures, one of which, still partially erect, witnesses the originality of the architecture of Parthians.
Another place to visit not far from Ashgabat is Anau, where there was the ancient mosque of Seitjemel ad-din, famous in the whole Central Asia for its beauty. Destroyed by the earthquake of 1948, nowadays it is possible to visit its remains.
An other archaeological site of great importance is Merv, now at 30 km from Mary, where several settlements have been superimposed one upon another forming in the centuries a quite complex stratified archaeological reality. In a relatively limited area there are still nowa-days the remains of the cities of Erk-kala, Gyaur-kala, Sultan-kala, Abdullah-khan-kala, which followed one another in the time starting from the sixth century b.C. It should not be missed a visit to the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar, a building dating back to the twelfth century characterized by a row of ogival windows and by a semisphe-rical dome. The remains of the fortress of Kyz-kala are also very in-teresting. It dates back to the seventh century and it is formed by original defensive structures looking like semicircular columns. The current name of the modern town situated in the neighbourhood of this area is Bayram Ali.
For completing the archaeological itinerary it is advisable a visit to Köneürgenš, situated in the north of the country at about 100 km from Dashoguz. This place was in the twelfth century the capital of the ancient kingdom of Khoresm and keeps important evidences of that period. In Köneürgenš it is possible to admire the Mausoleum of Türabeg Khanym, an imposing building that keeps inside beautiful mosaics that can be reached through a wide decorated portal. In Kö-neürgenš also the Mausoleum of Il Arslan is very interesting. It is a square-shaped structure surmounted by a dodecagonal tower termi-nating itself in a conical dome decorated with geometrical patterns of various colours. Da vedere, infine, il minareto della moschea di Kutlug Timur, finemente decorato con piastrelle colorate. Questo mi-nareto, sopravvissuto alla moschea andata completamente distrutta, Ŕ ancora oggi, con i suoi 62 metri, il pi¨ alto dell'Asia Centrale.




















































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