One of the most famous ancient towns in Turkmenistan is located near the Caspian Sea, in Balkan Region. Dekhistan or Mashad-I Misrian consists of a large graveyard, a mausoleum, minarets, remnants of fortified walls and caravanserais. Today it’s a deserted, clayey, and dried-up plain in southeastern part of the country. Don’t be fooled by modern look, this place used to be the most important a flourishing oasis of the region.
The exact date of foundation is unknown, however, it’s assumed that ancient town was built in 3rd century BC and existed until 14th century AD. Under the rule of the Khwarezian dynasty the town experienced peak of development; Dekhistan stood on the road between Khwarezm and Persian Hyrcania. Famous Misrian existed in the surroundings of the town in 8th-14th centuries. It was eradicated by the Mongols, but managed to revive. However, isolated and remoted location that brought fame and prosperity to this ancient town made the last inhabitants abandon Dekhistan; there was no water, everything dried-up.
Modern Dekhistan consist of picturesque ruins. Major part of the town was disappeared under sand of the desert, but what’s left has cultural and historical significance for the Turkmen. Ruins of the buildings give an idea of how majestic and develop the town was; it’s unknown how large the town was, but we do know that it consisted of two parts: old district and trade district with dwelling houses. Archaeological excavations revealed dozens of workshops that produced ceramics, which proves that the town was a large craft center. Walls ere adorned with exquisite carvings, remnants of well-thought-out water system, canalization, irrigation system, and baths serve as another evidence. Today the ancient town is a unique treasure of ancient civilizations that inhabited Turkmenistan.