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Kunya-Urgench is located in the territory of Dashoguz velayat of Turkmenistan. It is situated in the north-western Turkmenistan, on the left bank of the Amu-Daria River. Urgench was the capital of the Khorezm region, which was part of the Achaemenid Empire.

The old town area contains series of monuments mainly from the 11th to 16th centuries.  This area has remained a vast deserted land with some remains of ancient fortified settlements, including a mosque, the gates of a caravanserai, fortresses, mausoleums and a 60-m high minaret.  

On the sample of Kunya-Urgench monuments one can see all variety of methods and décor of Islamic architecture of Central Asia. There are constructions from adobe and burned bricks, plain unicameral dome constructions up-going to ancient chartak and buildings with complicated compositions, sometimes with а long history of development, repair and reconstruction. These monuments also demonstrate the evolution of methods of treatment of inner surface of domes from cellular sails to stalactite those times called “muqarnas” and brought to the highest perfection by local masters. The best monuments of this city are distinguished by high degree of decorativeness. They provide prominent examples of classical arabesques in monochrome terra-cotta and bright colorfulness of enamel.

The monuments testify to outstanding achievements in architecture and craftsmanship whose influence reached Iran and Afghanistan, and later the architecture of the Mogul Empire of 16th-century India. The Islamic sacred objects concentrated in this city are exceptionally popular places for pilgrims and serve attractive objects for the international tourism. Read more about this site on the UNESCO World Heritage website.

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Country profile

Capital: Ashgabat
Region: Asia and the Pacific

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