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Altyn-Depe ancient settlement.

Heritage tourism in Turkmenistan.

"Altyn had fortress walls of adobe brick, their gates leading into the compact-built "town", were framed with massive pylons. Monumental cult complex with zikkurat dedicated to the God of the Moon served the centre of the town"

Camel Riding in Turkmenistan.

The largest settlement (49 hs) of the oldest agricultural settlements of South Turkmenistan, located  in 4 kms to the west of Meana. Ak-Depe - Sasanians' castle (kakh) situated 90 kms to the east of Ashgabat near the station of Artyk.
It were probably some kind of the centre for all agricultural oases of the foothill stretch. Its flourishing began at the end of the III- the beginning of the II millennium B.C. and was connected to the forma­tion of prototown civilization with the features proper to the developed cultures of the Ancient Orient.
Altyn had fortress walls of adobe brick, their gates leading into the compact-built "town", were framed with massive pylons. Monumental cult complex with zikkurat dedicated to the God of the Moon served the centre of the town.
In its structural relation "the town" consisted of living quarters of handicraftsmen with narrow (1 - 1,5m) lanes between the close many-room houses of the ordinary communers, the quarters of wealthy townspeople, with more regular planning and lanes of 1,7 - 2,1 m and the quarters for aristocracy with strict distinct planning, wide and straight streets for those time (up to 2,5 m), thorough facing of the living houses being from 43 to 180 square meters.
Likewise the majority of other kakhs it appeared at the place of an antique settlement. It presented a rec­tangular in plan (about 74 x 26 m). Its massive adobe walls and towers (having about 4 m in thickness) heightened to 7 - 10 m above the level of the ground. Its entry, situated in the southern part presented rather monumental con­struction.
The kakh was surrounded by the moat up to 13 m in width. The inner planning of the kakh is unknown but on the basis of carried out excavations, combining of living and house-hold dwellengs in the complex can be stated.
The houses of the subordinates were situated just near the castle walls as well as outside the moat, where a small settlement grew in due course. On the basis of the richest archaeologic material of Southern Turkmenistan archaeologist Vadim Masson stated almost linear up­rising development from the times of archaic cultivators (the cultures of Jeytun, Anau) to the complicated soci­ety (the cultures of Altyn and Namazga).

Ancient settlement Altyn-Depe. A picture from space.

Authority:
On materials of information department of the State committee of Turkmenistan on tourism and sport.