Discovery of Shehrislam: in keeping with the best traditions of patronship.

President of Turkmenistan

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov:



- The archeological study of the site Shehrislam make it possible to assert that Yazyrpeople made their great contribution not only to the culture of the nomadic people, but also to the development of urban civilization.

The Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, in the tideway of a policy of detailed study and popularization of national history and culture spent by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, has acted as the organizer of archaeological researches on a site of ancient settlement-fortress of Shehrislam also known as medieval settlement Tak-Yazyr. Nowadays ruins of anciently one of significant fortresses-rebates built along Khoresm – Khurasan route are among desert barchans, 20 kilometers to the north of the administrative center of Baharden etrap of Ahal velayat.

This unique historical-architectural monument was the center of transit trade in the ancient time and entered into a system of caravan tracks directions of the Great Silk Way. The given fact is proved by discoveries made during scientifically - archaeological researches taken place in XX century here. Historical dating of origin and the basic stages of development of Shehrislam was made by the results of scientific researches. It is proved that the period of origin of city society is historically dated as IX century. It has existed till XIV - the beginning of XV centuries. Intense prosperity is happened to be on XII-XIII centuries.

Thanks to tireless efforts and all-around support of the President of Turkmenistan with sponsor's support of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs the new scale archaeological researches which have allowed to expand the scientific data a lot and to give a close pattern of its material culture was started on a monument of Shehrislam in 2017. Moreover, the artifacts revealed during autumn and spring excavation are valued information source for the further scientifically reasonable study of material culture, crafts and traditional originality of the large urbanized centers which were situated along medieval caravan tracks of the Great Silk Way, running on territory of Turkmenistan, and also the evidence of their active trade and economic interaction with surrounding more distant countries and regions.

So, researches on a site of ancient settlement allow not only studying features of traditional medieval architecture, but also fundamentally updating the collection of the archaeological samples narrating about life, level of social and spiritual culture, and development of original crafts the Turkmen.

The unique architectural objects revealed here and historical exhibits are enough to note. They are ruins of the ancient caravanserai which was found out in the northwest part of an ancient settlement, samples of the tile brick decorated with elements of an ancient mosaic and Arabic script that speaks about an anciently magnificent exterior of the main doorway of the caravanserai. Moreover, its premises were advanced with a heating system, and also individual toilet facilities.

 The caravanserai building was surrounded with residential buildings and various irrigational constructions, including water lines and wells. 

The President of Turkmenistan has written about it in the book “Turkmenistan is the heart of the Great Silk Way”: “In XI-XII centuries hardworking townsfolk laid water line made of burnt brick in length more than 20 kilometers. The water line was more than a unique structure for its time”.

The basic trace of water line was able to reveal and also to find out its part at the entry point into town boundaries as the result of last archaeological and ethnographic researches in Shehrislam. Besides, the presence of one more water line providing the town with water was traced. 

Underground dew mound and the tank for water storage adjacent to it were also found at a distance of 20 meters from corner north-west tower of the caravanserai.

It is also possible to claim that pottery, glass manufacture; metal processing, weaving craft, jewelry and etc. reached an especially high level of development in Shehrislam. As explained by archeologists, the hank of twisted yarn wrapped in a piece of dark brown cloth found out under a floor of one of the workshops became a significant finding.

 Results of the laboratory analysis of a part of exhibits, executed on the base of Chemistry Institute of Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan have shown that the found out ancient yarn is identical to modern samples of silk fiber on 95 %. The valuable exhibit allows receiving additional data on level of development of weaving manufacture during epoch under consideration.

The collection of valuable archeological finds and the objects of medieval architecture revealed during excavation allow to come to conclusion: Shehrislam was one of the large and significant urbanized centers, located on one of the basic trade and economic routes of the Great Silk Way, and played a key role in providing of social prosperity of the population living in region. 

Certainly, new findings and discoveries of Shehrislam as a whole throw light on chapters of the glorious and heroic history of the Turkmen people, giving evidence on the age of our roots, high level of science development and wealth of cultural traditions.

The Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has taken on the whole financial part of the project on archaeological researches in the ancient settlement of Shehrislam, including its financing, equipment purchase, provision of transport and manpower, the special equipment, providing of living conditions, etc. It has allowed specialists of Archeology and Ethnography Institute of Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan to spend scale scope of works.

The assistance to archeologists and, therefore to a science is the task-oriented cautious strategy of the directory of the Union, oriented to in-depth investigation and wide popularization of national heritage. As it is known, the archeology not only helps to study country history but in a greater degree discovers the history all over again, adds new chapters into state chronicle.