Turkmenistan - UNESCO: protection of the cultural heritage
Unsolved mysteries of Old Nisa
Published 31.12.2022

Historians, cultural figures and literary critics from ancient sources and manuscripts were well aware of the existence of the Parthian state. However, authentic evidence and archaeological finds as a result of excavations carried out by expeditions led by M.E. Masson, demonstrated to the whole world how majestic the buildings of the capital of the state of Parthia, Ancient Nisa, really were.

M.E. Masson discovered the ruins of a columned hall, sanctuaries and fortifications, documents written in Aramaic script in the Parthian language, rich evidence of the everyday life of the Parthians, their Hellenistic art.

Today Nisa is present in all international tourist catalogs and guidebooks for Central Asia as a unique monument of ancient history, architecture and art. A priceless collection of rhytons, marble sculptures, silver and stone items from the royal treasury of Nisa adorn the halls of the national museums of Turkmenistan.

The ancient temples and buildings where these masterpieces were found have attracted the ever-increasing interest of archaeologists, travelers, tourists and even politicians for many years.

The settlement of Old Nisa, which arose 22 centuries ago as the main royal sanctuary of the dynasty of the descendants of Arsaces the Great - the creators of the great Parthian Empire, and today is one of the central tourist sites of Turkmenistan.

Tourists and travelers on the territory of Old Nisa are especially attracted by: the Royal Fortress, the "Square House", the "Square Hall" and the "Round Temple".

The royal fortress "Old Nisa" - a separate fortress on a hill, was named Mitridatkert. It was founded by King Mithridates and served as the burial place of the Parthian kings. The area of the settlement is 17 hectares.

"Square House" - a building that served as the royal treasury. It was a building 60 by 60 meters, around which there were 12 rooms, the building was decorated with friezes depicting both Hellenistic origin - images of Hercules and lion muzzles, and local - a typical Arsacid image of a quiver with arrows. The most famous of the finds in the "House" - a statue of Rodoguna, an oriental goddess and numerous decorated rhytons are exhibited in the museums of Turkmenistan.

"Square Hall" - the front room of the royal residence. The dimensions of the hall are 20 by 20 meters, built on a two-meter platform of raw brick, the height of the walls is 10 meters, and the thickness is three meters. With the help of a system of corridors, the hall communicates with two tower-like structures. Presumably the entire complex served as a temple of fire.

The “Round Temple” is a round structure with a diameter of 17 meters, the interior decoration was arranged in two tiers: the first was lined with smooth white ganch, the second tier was divided into small columns, between which stood clay statues.

How many more secrets do these ancient structures of Nisa keep? All of them are waiting for their discoveries.

Now all these structures of the ancient settlement form the core of the Nisa State Historical and Cultural Reserve, which in 2007 was included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.

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