The State Museum of Turkmenistan has hosted an event devoted to the popularization of the nation’s rich historical and cultural heritage in the world. Among those taking part in the discussions were officials of ministries and agencies of Turkmenistan, honored cultural figures and artists, eminent scientists, art experts, media representatives and students, who became acquainted with the book specially prepared by German and Turkmen specialists for the exhibition entitled “Margiana – the Bronze Age Kingdom in Turkmenistan”, taking place in Germany.
Published as a colorfully illustrated photograph album with accompanying popular science articles, the extensive catalogue showcases the artifacts of the legendary country of Margiana, acknowledged by respected scientists as the fifth cradle of human civilization together with Ancient Egypt, China, India and Mesopotamia.
The event participants recognized the enormous contribution of the head of state to the study of this unique historical oasis located along the Murgab River. We are deeply grateful for the considerable attention given to the exploration and preservation of the Turkmen nation’s historical- cultural heritage, the continuity of traditions, and spiritual and moral values. Thanks to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s policy Turkmenistan has enjoyed ever-increasing prestige on the global stage.
Produced through the combined efforts of Turkmen and German researchers and published this year, which is themed as “Turkmenistan - the Heart of the Silk Road”, the catalogue is a wonderful gift to all those, who are keenly interested in the history of countries and peoples that have made an invaluable contribution to the development of world civilization.
The beautifully designed book consists of several chronologically-arranged thematic sections, which cover various aspects of life in ancient and powerful Margiana. While reading, readers find themselves fully immersed in the history of the ancient civilization, and have the chance to explore its unique culture, amazing architecture and see unrivalled gold, bronze and ivory objects dating back to the 3rd - 2nd centuries BC. Many of them are currently on display at Berlin’s New Museum. This coming autumn, the exhibition will be staged in two other German cities: first in Hamburg and then in Mannheim.
The names ‘Margiana’, ‘Margush’, and ‘Merv’ are like precious beads on the golden thread that runs through the continuous history. They are a reminder of great events that took place on ancient Turkmen soil and made dramatic impacts on the whole world.
As mentioned earlier, some renowned researchers see Margiana, discovered by distinguished archeologist Viktor Sarianidi, as one of the five ancient civilizations, together with Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and India. Gonur Depe, the capital of the now-extinct country of Margush, was the largest city of its time, and Merv, which became the capital city later, was noted as a cultural and scientific center of the East. The Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism contains the earliest written records about Margiana, which date back to around the 8th - 6th centuries BC. Geographers and scholars later termed Ancient Merv “the chief city in Khorasan”, “the mother of the world”, and “the soul of kings”.
Distinguished scientists, philosophers and poets lived in the city, which was famous for its well-stocked libraries. Among them were Abu Ali ibn Sina, described as the father of early modern medicine; Omar Khayyam, a poet and philosopher; Ahmad ibn Abdallah al-Mervezi, an astronomer; Anvari, a poet; Mollanepes, an unrivalled lyric poet and great “singer of love and beauty”.
Margiana remains today enormously popular as before among explorers and history enthusiasts from all over the world. The exhibition entitled “Margiana – the Bronze Age Kingdom in Turkmenistan” runs at Berlin’s New Museum April through October this year. Exhibits from our country’s museum collections are on view now for the first time outside Turkmenistan thanks to the considerable assistance and support from President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The Law “On the Protection, Import and Export of Movable National Historical and Cultural Heritage”, adopted more than two years ago, was also instrumental in making this happen.
The exhibition with hundreds of artifacts that bear testimony to the highly advanced civilization, which emerged in the region of present-day Turkmenistan around five thousand years ago, showcases the Turkmen nation’s rich artistic traditions and ancient artisans’ exquisite craftsmanship.
The exhibition in Berlin is a big draw for numerous foreign visitors because it offers the opportunity to explore the artifacts illustrating the ancient historical period when the kingdoms of the East just began to establish contacts.
Archeologists (particularly the research group led by V. Sarianidi) unearthed plentiful evidence during the long-term excavations in ancient Margiana. Ritual objects and jewelry truly amaze with their splendor and beauty. They are skillfully made of stone, metal, ivory, as well as clay that turned into fine beautifully shaped ceramic vessels and cult figurines (which were an essential aspect of everyday life for dwellers of Gonur and other settlements in Margiana) in the hands of high-skilled potters and sculptors.
Once hidden under the ground, the invaluable finds are today exhibits in the collections of several museums of Turkmenistan. The royal palace, shrines and other structures around it are the sites of Ancient Merv State Historical and Cultural Park.
The archeological collection of the State Museum (the State Cultural Center of Turkmenistan), the Museum of Fine Arts and Mary Local History Museum give helpful insight into the level of culture and arts in one of the earliest cradles of global civilization, whose heart was the large settlement of Gonurdepe.
After the event, the participants were invited to take a tour of the State Museum of Turkmenistan. Guides told the visitors about the collection of unique archeological finds from Margiana: figurines of horses and animals, compartmented and cylinder seals, cosmetic containers, used by Margush beauties, gold vessels, jewelry and beads.
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