The frontier town of Kunya(Konye)-Urgench located 480 km to the north of Ashgabat bordering Uzbekistan is an architectural reserve which was a major cultural and shopping center during the Middle Ages period. It was the accommodating place for some of the great Islamic thinkers of that time with the likes of ibn-Sino, and Beruni, and at one point was hailed as the “The Heart of Islam.” A KunyaUrgench city tour will take you the second largest city in Central Asia after Bukhara during the eighth century.
History Of Kunya Urgench As A City
KunyaUrgench is situated on the left bank of Amu Darya River in the northwestern corner of Turkmenistan. Historically, it was the capital of the Khorezm region which was part of the Achaemenid Empire. Being the capital, the city prospered and numerous mosques and monuments were constructed within the region. In terms of scientific and culutral importance, it competed with cities like Bukhara and was an important trading center. As consequences of the Mongol invasion of Central Asia, this city was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1221 in what was called as one of the bloodiest massacres in human history. Despite the conquest, the city revived back to its previous glory. It was not until the arrival of Tamerlane that the city again was subject to invasion. After continuous revolt against the Timurid Empire by the inhabitants of Urgench, Tamerlane destroyed most of the parts of the city including the monuments and the irrigation system which served the whole city.
Following the turn of events, during the 1700s, the inhabitants fled the city leaving it deserted to establish a new settlement in the modern town of Urgench. Since then, the ruins have remained undisturbed. The ancient part lies in the country of Turkmenistan while its modern sibling, Urgench, lies in neighboring Uzbekistan.
Things To Do In Urgench
KonyeUrgench has long been a prolific school of architectural geniuses whose knowledge and skills spread long into the Muslim world throughout the centuries. Since the dawn of Urgench during the 4th and 5th century, numerous buildings were construced which were exemplary of the oriental Middle East fine arts. In the past thirty years, substantial restoration work was carried out in the area and is now painstakingly preserved for the upcoming generation to adore and admire.
Some Of The Notable Historical Sightseeing Places In Urgench Are:
- KutlugTimur Minaret
- TurabekKhanum Mausoleum
- Tekesh Mausoleum
- PiryarVali Mausoleum Complex
- II Arslan Mausoleum
- IbnKhajib Complex
- Ak Kala
Apart from the above structures; you should pay a visit to the KunyaUrgench Museum, also known as Dash Mosque. It was a former madrasa which was constructed in the early 20th century. It started off as a mosque, and then served as a Quranic school, and lately as a museum in the 1990s. On display, the museum has history of the site, traditional arts and crafts, and building tradition and heritage of Urgench. For its rich cultural significance, the site was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and is a major tourist place in Turkmenistan.