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Gonur Depe

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Gonur Depe

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Gonur Depe is a city in Mary Province, Turkmenistan.


Gonur Depe is a Bronze Age site in Turkmenistan, dating back to the first half of the second milennium BC, contemporary to the Mesopotamien and Indus Valley civilizations. The first agricultural settlements in the Murgab River delat apperared in the 7th millenium BC. The are was later called Margush in old Iranian texts and Margiana by greek authors. The area of Margiana was 3000 square km wide, it consisted of more than 70 oasis and 150 settlements. Margiana reached its apex in the 16th to 13th cent. BC.

From the 1970 onwards the site was excavated by the Margiana Archaeological Expedition directed by the Russian archaeologist Victor Sarianidi.

Gonur Depe, the capital of Margiana, was a rectangular fortress with powerful defensive walls, semicircular bastions and adobe buildings. Sarianidi discovered a palace and temples with fire altars. According to Sarianidi Gonur Depe belongs to one of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world (side by side with Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China) and was the birthplace Zoroastrianism, a religion based on the opposition of good and evil.

Sarianidi also found evidence of a cult based on a drug potion made from poppy, hemp and ephedra. According to the Avesta , the holy book of Zoroastrianism the drink called Haoma representes a deity that can cure all sufferings.

In 2009 a royal tomb was excavated in which the remains of dogs, a cart with wheels having bronze rims and a large bronze cauldron with a diameter of 130 cm and a height of 1 m were found. This cauldron consists of 7 spherical tanks inserted one into the other.

Get in[edit]

Gonur Depe is situated about 60 km North of Mary. A 4WD is required. The road follows partly the Kara Kum Channel, but the last 20 Km of the road are a very rough track in the dirt of the desert. It will be a two hours' drive from Mary and you will need about 2 hours for the visit of Gonur Depe. You can arrange the trip from Mary. You will have to pay about US$ 40 for the car and driver and US$ 30 for the guide. The trip is exhausting!

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Excavations. US$ 1, camera US$ 1.20.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Bring your own food and drinks.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Bring your own food and drinks.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Next acccomodation is at Mary.


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