Before Babylon – Gonur-Tepe Mysterious City in Turkmenistan


6D95716B1930C37BC68A2F683CD0BADeep in the heart of Turkmenistan the ancient fortress town of Gonur-Tepe has been rising out of the Kara Kum desert revealing itself to the world through excavations that have taken place for years. The first of these excavations started taking place in the late 1970’s by Soviet Archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi These finding were mostly unknown to the west unitl Sarianidi’s work was translated in the 1990’s. It’s been through these excavations that rare, beautiful artifacts and treasures are being found. They have all been found in Turkmenistan which is considered one of the most isolated countries in the world.

gonurtepe térkép

Over 4,000 years ago Gonur-Tepe was the center of an extraordinary sophisticated but little-known Bronze Age civilization. Because it was the main settlement it’s believed that possibly up to 20,000 people walked the streets of this once thriving city. These people would have been able to watch craftsmen mold such wares made of gold and silver which were sold as trinkets. They also could have purchased intricately carved  objects for worship purposes that were made out of bone and stone, both of which were found during excavations.

museummari03tif1gonurtepe vízvezeték

Gonur Depe, Turkmenistan

Over this last century this heavily walled fortress with its impressive gates has been exposed by Soviet archaeologists, within the city they have found a unique monumental complex. These findings have revealed magnificent palaces and temples, marking it as the administrative and religious center of the ancient kingdom of Margus. Along with the building they have also uncovered a well planned ceramic water piping system that ran through the city. In recent years one of the more fascinating finds made by Archaeologist Nadezhda Dubova  was of a fantastic mosaic, of which she was quoted to say, “that such an object pre-dates the standard era of mosaic-making in Greek and Roman antiquity”.
gomur_tepe1

Reaching back even further into history, what today is mostly desert was well watered from the northern foothills of the Kopet Dag about 6,000 B.C.E. The people who had settled in this area where farming wheat and barley along with herding goats and sheep. It was at this time they began to build mud brick houses in the community of Jeitun which was given the same name to the region of the northern foothills of the Kopet Dag. During the Copper age this area experienced a large growth in population which brought  metallurgy and other innovations which eventually led to the eventual rise of Gonur-Tepe.

Turkmen-desert_02Turkmenistan-desert-Kara-Kum-desert-in-remote-western-Turkmenistan

Gonur-Tepe is a three-hour drive from the provincial centre of Mary — two hours along a bumpy asphalt road that passes former collective farms that have now fallen into disuse, and then another hour-long slog through the desert scrub. Mary, 380 kilometres from the capital Ashgabat, is a typical Turkmen provincial city, home to 200,000 people and largely built-in the Soviet style with a railway connection and low-rise apartment buildings.

Turkmenistan remains one of the most isolated countries in the world but still sees a trickle of foreign tourists every year, mostly on organised special interest tours. Mary has just three hotels although President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has recently ordered the construction of a new 350-bed hotel in an apparent bid to boost tourism.

The town’s craftsmen could mould metal, make silver and gold trinkets, create materials for cult worship and carve bone and stone. “It’s amazing to what extent the people possessed advanced techniques. The craftsmen learned how to change the form of natural stone at a high temperature and then glazed it so that it was preserved,” said archeologist Nadezhda Dubova. “This year, Gonur has given us another surprise, a fantastic mosaic,” she said, noting that such an object pre-dated the standard era of mosaic-making in Greek and Roman antiquity.More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=61758#.UdECI5yFu8B[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
The town’s craftsmen could mould metal, make silver and gold trinkets, create materials for cult worship and carve bone and stone. “It’s amazing to what extent the people possessed advanced techniques. The craftsmen learned how to change the form of natural stone at a high temperature and then glazed it so that it was preserved,” said archeologist Nadezhda Dubova. “This year, Gonur has given us another surprise, a fantastic mosaic,” she said, noting that such an object pre-dated the standard era of mosaic-making in Greek and Roman antiquity.More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=61758#.UdECI5yFu8B[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
The town’s craftsmen could mould metal, make silver and gold trinkets, create materials for cult worship and carve bone and stone.More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=61758#.UdECI5yFu8B[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org

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The town’s craftsmen could mould metal, make silver and gold trinkets, create materials for cult worship and carve bone and stone. “It’s amazing to what extent the people possessed advanced techniques. The craftsmen learned how to change the form of natural stone at a high temperature and then glazed it so that it was preserved,” said archeologist Nadezhda Dubova. “This year, Gonur has given us another surprise, a fantastic mosaic,” she said, noting that such an object pre-dated the standard era of mosaic-making in Greek and Roman antiquity.More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=61758#.UdECI5yFu8B[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
The town’s craftsmen could mould metal, make silver and gold trinkets, create materials for cult worship and carve bone and stone. “It’s amazing to what extent the people possessed advanced techniques. The craftsmen learned how to change the form of natural stone at a high temperature and then glazed it so that it was preserved,” said archeologist Nadezhda Dubova. “This year, Gonur has given us another surprise, a fantastic mosaic,” she said, noting that such an object pre-dated the standard era of mosaic-making in Greek and Roman antiquity.More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=61758#.UdECI5yFu8B[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
The town’s craftsmen could mould metal, make silver and gold trinkets, create materials for cult worship and carve bone and stone.More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=61758#.UdECI5yFu8B[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org

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http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/merv/gonur.htm

 


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