Libmonster ID: JP-1336
Author(s) of the publication: V. I. Sarianidi

The ancient city, now known as "Gonur settlement", was founded by colonists of the Murghab River basin and was probably the political capital of the Margush country mentioned in the famous Behistun inscription. The country of Margush, or ancient Margiana, was located in the east of modern Turkmenistan and was inhabited by both local, South Turkmen, and even more so by North Mesopotamian tribes that came from the far west. The newcomers appreciated the fertile land and abundance of water in the ancient Murghab delta, where by the end of the third millennium BC another center of culture of the Ancient Eastern type had developed.

In the center of the future city, immediately, according to the finished plan, the aliens erected the Kremlin, most of which was occupied by a monumental palace, to the north and east of which (within the Kremlin) there were residential and administrative buildings. Even before the construction of the Kremlin, there were some minor structures on this site (possibly a temporary residence of the local ruler), and in the eastern part of the Kremlin there is a round pit with a diameter of about 7 m, neatly laid out from the inside with brickwork. The remains of the oldest walls can be traced only in the eastern part of the Kremlin, but most of its walls (including the palace walls) rest directly on the mainland, and not on cultural layers.

On the site of the future Kremlin, the surface on an area of about one and a half hectares was leveled even before construction and laid out with a paving stone from one row of bricks, over which a clay coating up to 10 cm thick was applied. And only then on this place began to erect the walls of structures. Apparently, first the internal buildings were erected and only then the external, defensive walls that surrounded the entire complex of Kremlin buildings. In plan, the Kremlin is a kind of parallelogram, which is most likely due to the desire of ancient architects to save construction materials and reduce labor costs, so they adapted to the terrain, shifted the direction of the outer walls and, first of all, the southern defensive wall. From the outside, along the perimeter of all four walls, the defensive wall has four rectangular towers with additional four corner towers. Between each pair of such towers there was one entrance, and the main one was located in the center of the northern wall and in front of it later a gate structure was erected, which was supposed to strengthen the defensive capacity of the fortress itself. Apparently, at the same time, an additional brick case was enclosed outside all the defensive walls of the Kremlin.

In each tower there were domestic, kitchen hearths that served both for heating and cooking, which indicates the constant presence of soldiers of the Kremlin garrison. All the towers had passageways leading to the bypass corridor, which covered the inner buildings of the Kremlin on all four sides.

As it now becomes obvious, the Kremlin and the palace were built in the very first period of the city's foundation, and at the same time a necropolis appears 200 m to the west of it, the area of which eventually exceeded 10 hectares. After several centuries, a temenos, or sacred site, with a small temple inside, is established at a distance of about 250 m to the south of the city (Figure 1). Preliminary results of the archaeological excavations of the Kremlin and palace have already been published (1), so this article presents the final results of the work obtained after their full completion and allowed us to clarify some of the old conclusions and ideas.

1. Sarianidi V. Margiana and Protozoroastrism. Athens, 1998. P. 83-89.

page 248

Figure 1. Situation plan

If you imagine a traveler who then, more than four thousand years ago, approached the Kremlin from the north side, then before his eyes would stand the high blank walls of the Kremlin with through arrow-shaped embrasures and protruding battle towers. In the middle of each of the four defensive walls of the Kremlin were extremely narrow entrances, through which only it was possible to get inside the Kremlin and into the territory of the palace (Fig. 2). After passing inside the Kremlin through the central northern gate, the traveler got to a kind of "palace square", on both sides of which there were ordinary living and utility rooms, where palace acolytes and garrison soldiers could live. In the northwestern part of this " residential quarter "(pom. 124-126, 138, 141, 247, 255, 257-258, 313-316, 318, 326), among its premises, in addition to the usual household ones, there are also special ones (poms 255, 257 ) - with niches in the form of "blind windows", which Most likely, they indicate their cult purpose: people who lived here could perform ritual rites here. An additional proof of this is the complex design of the two-chamber hearth in the pom. 257; such in Margiana were used for cooking sacrificial meat. Premises of the north-eastern part of this "residential quarter" (pom. 324, 327, 375, 378, 379, 389, 390, 408, 406-409, 412, 413) they had four passageways to the adjacent part of the bypass corridor, which may indicate that a garrison was stationed here. It should be specially noted that both of these residential micro-complexes were separated from the entire northern facade of the palace by a kind of " street "(rooms 19, 20, 454 and 455). This once again underlines the isolation of the palace complex in the system of the entire development of the Kremlin.

page 249

Fig. 2. General plan of the palace

Right in front of the eyes of the traveler, who was standing on the "palace square", the blind front facade of the palace towered, in the middle of which there were peculiar propylaea with a double passage and figuratively designed crenellated, or "loosened corners", closely resembling the propylaea of the famous Palace of Knossos in Crete (Fig. 3), which leaves no doubt about their similarity and probably of common origin (2).

Although the supposed traveler, standing on the "palace square", saw many things that we will never see, he may not have known that under his feet is hidden a rather complex drainage system consisting of ceramic pipes inserted into each other, with the help of which rainwater that flowed from the roof of the palace was discharged outside.

1. Evans A. Palace of Minos at Knossos. L., 1928. V. V. Pt 11. Fig. 118.

page 250

3. Comparative table of the Propylaea of the Knossos and Gonur palaces

4). Through the double passage of the propylaea, the traveler entered the official part of the palace, or "audience hall" (Fig. 5), consisting of two huge halls (rooms 188 and 194), connected by an extremely wide passage with a low threshold and a wooden pillar in the center. Similar passages with the same thresholds are known in ancient palaces, for example, in Alalakh or Ugarit (3), as well as on other monumental monuments of ancient Syria. It is proved that this architectural technique has no local roots and most likely reflects the influence of ancient Greek monumental architecture on North Syrian and, as can now be assumed, on Margian. In the Syrian palaces, such unusually wide passages with low thresholds and pillars in the center were made for the installation of double, double-leafed doors, and only in rooms of special, official and ceremonial purpose; we see the same picture in the" audience hall " of the Margian palace.

If the interior of the first room of the " audience hall "(p. 194) was modest and, in addition to white whitewash, was not decorated at all, then the walls of the second hall (p. 188) retained the so-called "blind windows" - special wide and blind (and not through) niches, the corners of which have shaped designs in the form of three protruding teeth. Exactly the same "blind windows", but much earlier (IV thousand BC) are known in Northern Mesopotamia (Tepe-Gavra), where a consistent line of their development can be traced. "Blind windows" as altars adorn the Mitannian temple in Tell Brak (4), and for the beginning of the first thousand BC they are known in the priurmiysky region, in Khasanlu and Baba Jan (5), as well as in Eastern Anatolia in the monumental structure of Tillya Tepe (6). In Central Asia, they are earlier than the last The first millennium BC is unknown, but they appear simultaneously in the monumental architecture of Bactria (Dashli-3) and Margiana (temenos Gonura, temple of fire Gonura), which probably indicates their spread here as a result of external invasion. This is proved by the chronological priority of the temples with "blind windows" in Tepe-Gavra, so there are good reasons to consider them an innovation of the ancient North - Mesopotamian architects. The second wall of the "audience hall", located opposite, is decorated with four extremely narrow vertical wall niches, closely resembling those in the throne room of the Palace of Knossos (7). Although the exact location of the audience chamber is very small, it is very small.

3. Woolley L. Alallakh. Oxf., 1955. P. 225.

4. Oats D. Excavations at Tell Brak // Iraq. 1987. XLIX.

5. Dyson R. The Iron Age Architecture at Hasanly: An Essay // Expedition. 1989. V. 31. N 2-3; Coff С. Excavations at Baba Jan // Iran. VIII. 1970. Fig. 3.

6. French D. Tille // Kazi Soniclari Toplantisi. V. I. Ankara, 1986. Fig. 1.

7. Niemer W. On the Function of "Throne Room" in the Palace at Knossos // The Function of the Minoan Palaces. Goteborg, 1987. Fig. 1.

page 251

the purpose of the "blind windows" and thresholds with central pillars is not entirely clear, all these architectural details undoubtedly indicate the special purpose of such rooms of the Margian palace, where ceremonial receptions could take place.

Two other passages, located opposite the propylaea, lead from the "audience hall" to the inner hall (p. 119), two walls of which are decorated with the same type of narrow vertical niches, from which the traveler, turning twice to the left, entered the vast throne room (p. 196). Here, in the end wall opposite the entrance, in a well-preserved niche, there could be a throne on which the ruler of the ancient country Margush sat (Figure 6). The interior of the throne room was distinguished by a certain simplicity and modesty, except for special paired niches in the form of a "dovetail" arranged in each of the four corners, as well as snow-white plaster coating, sometimes preserved not only on the walls, but also on the floor. Note that such architectural details in the form of a "dovetail" are known in the famous Mari Palace in the same Syria.

The purpose of the three rooms located directly behind the throne room, but not connected to it by a common passage, is not entirely clear. Judging by the fact that the central one (pom. 197) has a passage leading out, there is every reason to assume that the entire micro-complex has an independent purpose. The central room is connected by a common passage with a small rectangular room, in the western wall of which a two-chamber hearth is arranged, which may indicate a connection between everything

page 252

this micro-complex with cult sacrifices. It should be noted that the eastern facades of rooms 119, 196 and 197 form the outer eastern face of the palace, which communicates with the complex of cells by a wide and figuratively designed passage arranged in the middle of the eastern wall of the inner hall (room 119).

Through a wide passage from the same inner hall, but turning to the right, the traveler entered a small lobby (room 154) with two internal niches, and from it - into the "complex of ritual sacrifices". The main, central room of this micro-complex (pom. 185) is decorated from the inside with six pairs of "blind windows", indicating its religious and ceremonial purpose. Almost in its center, an unusually large two-chamber hearth with a small firebox separated from the second chamber by a low partition was erected on a sand platform up to 30 cm thick.

The passage from this room leads to several other small rooms that make up one complex due to the common passageways connecting them (pom. 189, 190, 192, 193, 200, 248, presumably and 170), and two of them (poms 192 and 193) also have two-chamber hearths embedded in the boundary line between them, but a common wall. By the way, we note that such a design of the hearths, which allows the fire to touch the sacrificial meat, which was located in the second chamber located next to it, is clearly not accidental and can be caused by the rituals of sacrifice that existed among the ancient Zoroastrians. The special purpose of such two-chamber hearths with a low partition that allowed the fire to touch the sacrificial meat is indicated by the device of a similar hearth in pom. 100 of the " temple of fire "on the same Northern Gonur, where it, in combination with five" blind windows " decorated the interior of a separate sanctuary (8). Obviously, the entire micro-complex of the palace of Northern Gdnur was a small palace chapel where the king could perform daily services accompanied by sacrifices.

8. Sarianidi. Op. cit. Fig. 63.

page 253

It is possible that the same micro-complex is associated with the nearby "ceremonial hall" (pom. 170) in the outline of the corridors (pom. 171-173), which, in addition to its large size, may indicate an unusual layout. In essence, the room has only two walls (north and south), while the east and west are open passages with wide and low thresholds and a wooden pillar in the center of the same type as the aforementioned threshold in the "audience hall". We are not yet aware of such rooms in the monumental architecture of the Middle East, except for a somewhat similar building in Mohejo Daro, defined as a cult building, in the courtyard of which there was a central building without two walls in the outline of corridors (9). It is not proven, but it is highly likely that cult ceremonies, They began in the "ritual sacrifice complex" and ended in this central hall. From the same hall (pom. 119) through another extremely wide passage with loosened corners and a low threshold with a central pillar (suggesting double doors), the traveler could pass into room 118 (a kind of lobby), and the passage from it led to the adjacent vast room 117, in the southern part of which there were two more passages, respectively, leading to two separate micro-complexes.

Vostochny Micro-complex (pom. 224, 229, 230, 233-237, 239, 240, 253-255, 339, 411, 414, 416, 456) it is a "royal residence" where the royal family lived. This entire residential micro-complex is divided by a chain of small rectangular rooms (234, 239, 237, 456) into two equal parts. The central place in the northern half is occupied by the pom. 253 with a wall hearth and a passage leading to the adjacent room 233 with a two-chamber hearth arranged in the wall. Perhaps of particular importance is room 339 with a kind of podium in the northern end wall with a niche decorated with through embrasures, from which the "complex of cells"located opposite was clearly visible.

9. Dhavalikar M., Atre S. The Fire Cult and Virgin Sacrifice: Some Harappan Rituals // Old Problems and New Perspectives in the Archaeology of South Asia / Ed. J.M. Kenoyer. Wisconsin, 1989. Fig. 20, 4.

page 254

The micro-complex located opposite, judging by its passages facing the courtyard (p. 108), is not directly related to the "royal residence". The passage to it from the same inner hall (pom. 119) leads to a small lobby (pom. 18), and through a wide passage with loosened corners and a central pillar you can get to pom. 93, the interior of which is decorated with two "blind windows". The purpose of this microcomplex is unclear, but it is possible that it was functionally related to the "ritual sacrifice complex" discussed above.

The southern half of the" royal residence " includes several rooms with connecting passages, which most likely had a residential purpose. The larger of them (p. 41), and probably the central one, could serve as a courtyard, bounded from the south by a bypass corridor (p. 230) with three passages leading to a kind of square. From here, the royal family could pass through the eastern gate (without leaving the palace) directly to the simultaneous palace temple of fire, located behind the eastern wall of the Kremlin.

A narrow bypass corridor separates the" royal residence "from the" warehouse complex", which consists of three adjacent, rectangular rooms (rooms 115, 210, 221), on the floor of one of which a thick layer of wheat grains has been preserved. In the surrounding, but much smaller rooms of the same complex, there were several dozen large container vessels (obviously intended for storing food), some of them were buried deep in the floor.

In the western part of the Kremlin, two vast courtyards "A" and "B" are located side by side (Fig. 7), and the inner courtyard "B" is enclosed in the outline of corridors and in the northern wall has preserved two "front passages" with loosened corners. To the north and south of them, facing each other, were two "sand complexes" - so far they represent for us an intriguing mystery of Margian architects. Both complexes consist of a series of completely blind, without doorways, rooms, unpainted and completely filled inside with clean river sand. The traveler could get to the top of both " sand complexes "only by climbing wide four-step stairs leading to two sandy platforms, above which, apparently, massive brick" columns "rose, occupying a dominant vertical position in the silhouette of both" sand complexes". At the top of such "columns" could be located a kind of "platform", which allowed ancient astronomers to conduct observations of the heavenly bodies. In any case, in the aforementioned palace in Alalah, which also has similar "columns", they are supposed to have been surrounded by spiral staircases that led to the top of the building. However, it should be explicitly pointed out that the true purpose of the "sand rooms" of the Gonura Palace, which are not known anywhere else in the monumental architecture of the Middle East, remains not fully clear.

Next to these two structures is a small " complex of funerary rituals "(pom. 16, 42, 44-46, 48, 54, 81, 83, 163), the only entrance to which comes from the courtyard "A". The complex consists of a series of small narrow rooms connected by common passages, the central place among which is occupied by room 54 of the courtyard type. Among the other rooms, a small square room (room 48) stands out with a round hearth in the center and numerous deep wall niches with a fireplace between them. Such heating fireplaces were often used in ordinary domestic premises, but unlike them, this one is not burned, but only slightly smoked from the inside, as if a lamp were smoking in it.

Apparently, there were three main rooms (81, 83 and 163), the interiors of which, including the floors, were covered with white alabaster coating. In room 81, at some stage of its operation, a hole was punched in the wall near the floor, where three ceramic pipes were inserted, forming a small drainage system. It is possible that funerary rituals related to the washing of corpses took place here, so that the used water could be discharged through this drainage to the outside. This is all the more likely when you consider that between this and above-

page 255

mentioned in pom. 48 is an extremely narrow chamber (pom. 55) with a passage in the middle, where, perhaps, during the multi-day funeral rites, the corpse was kept. There are good reasons to believe that the ancient Margush people tried to protect the pure "element" - the earth-from desecration by its dead body. The final funeral rites could take place in a room with niches (note 48), which, by the way, were not arranged immediately, but at a later stage of the palace's existence, possibly simultaneously with the installation of the above-mentioned drainage system.

Purpose of an extensive pom. 161 with a massive brick extension against the east wall remains unclear.

It remains to note the "administrative complex" in the south-eastern corner of the Gonur Kremlin (pom. 266, 269-271, 274, 306, 307, 346, 347, 350, 355, 427, 428, 432, 434, 441, 443, 444, 447, 452 etc.), the basis of the layout of which is It consists of a huge T-shaped corridor (poms 350, 427, 453) with large rooms of a regular configuration located around it for obviously non-residential purposes. The palace administration could be located here. Apparently, the officials lived in a nearby micro-complex (pom. 50, 51, 306, 307, 393, 397, 415, 417, 418, 421, 422, 439, 431), It consisted of ordinary residential and utility rooms. It is significant that this entire micro-complex was separated from the palace by a street leading to the eastern facade of the Kremlin, to the "temple of fire".

Finally, in the opposite, north-eastern corner of the Kremlin is the "cell complex" - a mysterious karelian structure (pom. 381), consisting of long, extremely narrow, up to 1 m high chambers, conventionally called "cells" (Fig. 8). The fact that the complex was taken out of the palace proper However, it was located in the Kremlin system in a specially fenced place, indicating the special purpose of the "camera complex", which was not directly related to the palace itself. Inside the cells were carefully covered with a layer of clay plaster and covered with a solid roof.-

page 256

9). At the time of excavation, the entrances to them turned out to be laid with mud bricks - local residents practiced this only in special cases and always applied to buildings of religious and religious purpose (altars, storage facilities for sacred ashes, etc. ) in order to avoid possible desecration of them in the future. Similar (but much larger) structures are known in the temple architecture of the Hittite Kingdom in Asia Minor, so the "cell complexes" may represent, although smaller, but real copies of those sacred buildings that were once widespread in the former homeland of the tribes who came to Margiana.

The Northern Gonur Palace is unique not only in the Central Asian system, but also in the entire Middle East. Its overall layout is an authentic architectural symphony (Figure 10). The palace is distinguished by its well-developed, symmetrical and proportional architectural forms, and this implies a previous centuries-old line of development of monumental architecture, which does not find its roots in Central Asia. At the same time, the above-mentioned parallels of individual architectural blocks of the Margian palace point to Northern Mesopotamia and, first of all, to the Levant, where, according to many experts, the local monumental architecture was formed under the strong influence of the monumental architecture of the Aegean world. There is every reason to believe that the tribes who came from there to Margiana brought with them their own traditions of ancient architecture, both religious and secular, as an "architectural memory". At the same time, it should be noted that at present all these mutual parallels only outline the general contours of possible analogies, the concretization and refinement of which remains a matter of future archaeological research.

The Palace of North Gonur was destroyed in an all-out fire, apparently as a result of an enemy attack, and although it was then partially restored and continued to function as a palace for a while, its days were numbered. After the final desolation, the ruins of the palace are adapted by the villagers for housing, for which the former magnificent and magnificent halls are divided into small rooms and outbuildings. Much later, both the residents leave this territory, and she

page 257

page 258

it turns into a large cemetery. The poor people who settled in the ruins picked up all that was left of the former grandeur and splendor of the Gonur palace, and yet during the excavations of individual palace rooms, fragments of figuratively carved gold foil were found, plaster fragments of wings from small sculptures of some fantastic animals. Of particular interest is the marble top of the scepter with a fluted surface with a diameter of 17 cm, the largest known product of this kind in Central Asia. It is possible that this pommel, like the scepter itself, belonged to the king who once ruled all of Margiana from this palace.

The Gonur Palace forces a decisive revision of the old views on the social life of Margiana. There is no doubt that tsarist power already existed here, a complex social stratification that may have included the initial forms of slavery. And although Gonur did not have external defensive walls, there is every reason to consider it a genuine city, the center of the local district, in full agreement with the definition of an ancient city, which was proposed many years ago by I. M. Diakonov.


V.I. Sarianidi

The discovery of the palace in Northern Gonur, this true political capital of the land of Margus (ancient Margiana) presents an indisputable evidence of a highly developed social life here in late IIIrd mill. ВС, implying royal power and primitive slavery.

Elaborate layout of the official rooms in the king's residence, of the buildings where ritual ceremonies (including the burial ones) took place and of the administrative complex, as well as some other data indicate centuries-old traditions of monumental architecture. We have all the grounds to suppose that these skills had been brought hither by the tribes who moved to this land from Northern Mesopotamia. Having colonized the Murgab delta, they maintained their old traditions, including that of monumental architecture.


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LJapan LWorld Y G


Nikamura NagasakiContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

V. I. Sarianidi, NORTH GONUR PALACE // Tokyo: Japan (ELIB.JP). Updated: 17.06.2024. URL: (date of access: 13.07.2024).

Publication author(s) - V. I. Sarianidi:

V. I. Sarianidi → other publications, search: Libmonster JapanLibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
Nikamura Nagasaki
Nagasaki, Japan
11 views rating
17.06.2024 (26 days ago)
0 subscribers
0 votes
Related Articles
9 hours ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki
10 hours ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki
Yesterday · From Nikamura Nagasaki
2 days ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki
2 days ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki
2 days ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki
2 days ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki
4 days ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki
5 days ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki
6 days ago · From Nikamura Nagasaki

New publications:

Popular with readers:

News from other countries:

ELIB.JP - Japanese Digital Library

Create your author's collection of articles, books, author's works, biographies, photographic documents, files. Save forever your author's legacy in digital form. Click here to register as an author.
Library Partners


Editorial Contacts
Chat for Authors: JP LIVE: We are in social networks:

About · News · For Advertisers

Digital Library of Japan ® All rights reserved.
2023-2024, ELIB.JP is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Preserving the Japan heritage


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of affiliates, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. Once you register, you have more than 100 tools at your disposal to build your own author collection. It's free: it was, it is, and it always will be.

Download app for Android