Mashat

Mashat

A few kilometers to the north of Misrian lies the medieval graveyard of Mashat. Five ruined mausoleum stands in a line here. Circular or octagonal in plan and all now lacking their domes, these dates from the 11th or 12th centuries. They have notably deteriorated as compared with photographs taken at the site during the Soviet period. In the 19th century there were reportedly around 20 mausoleums here, most long disintegrated. The most important monument at Mashat lies on a mound, off of this line of the mausoleum. This is the Shir Kabir Mosque-Mausoleum. This dates from the 9th or 10th centuries, making it the oldest surviving mosque in Turkmenistan, though it has been restored and extended several times. Its interior is square in plan, with a domed roof. There are three niches in each wall, with the mihrab at the center of the southern wall. This is a beautiful feature, comprising three arched recesses, one inside the other. It is intricately carved with Arabic inscriptions and swirling, floral designs. The mihrab has been boarded up for protection, but gaps between the boards offer a reasonably good view of the decoration. A carved panel in the central niche on the eastern wall is another riot of inscriptions and geometric designs. Above this lower line of niches, and immediately below the dome, are four squinches, separated by niches. The interior of the building is full of scaffolding poles, from which hang strips of cloth, marking wishes made at the site, some fashioned into elaborate cloth cribs, making clear the nature of the wishes.

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Dashoguz – Kone Urgench – Darvaza - Ashgabat – Mary – Turkmenabad – Farap.

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