Ashghabat after tour of Merv
Pic #3976-86 & 3987-4000
Tour of Merv 5th century BC – Razik canal, is largest city site undisturbed in C. Asia. Sites…Mausoleum Sultan Sanjar, one of the ‘Alexandrias’, Merv from 5th cent BC to 2nd AD rivaled Damascus, Bagdad, & Cairo as trading ctr. Known for its libraries and splendid & legendary architecture. Craftsmen developed highly prized Damascus steel here centuries before products came from European foundries. CIS’s most extensive archaeological site. Zayd & Talkhatam Baba – sufi & dervish mausoleums.
Four hour drive to Ashgabat arr. at 10:30 pm!
Stopped on the way for a fish dinner. Stayed in Ak Altyn Hotel three star, very nice!
Read: The Silk Roads by Paul Wilson – A Route & Planning Guide
1) Old Nisa, Parthian fortress(2nd cent BC – 2nd cent AD)…The Treasury of King of Arshakid Dynasty. Saw where Russian & Italian Arch. Discovered white washed walls & many artifacts.
2) Went to Owadan Tourism office(Yelena’s workplace) & paid our fees!
3) Went to Kumsh Ay(Silver Moon, once known as Florida) where we had a great buffet lunch – I had at least 8 desserts!! Remember, DESSERT FIRST! Place is run by a Turkish fellow, the food was terrific!
4) Natl. Museum by 2:15 – excellent displays, tour guide was very informative…saw many of the artifacts Yelena described from Merv and old Nisa. Very excellent ceramics/pottery, very detailed incl items from Guron where Zoroastrian evidence was found. Likewise, saw some of the 40 + ivory ritons which were discovered there – these are purported to be some kind of drinking vessel perhaps for religious purposes.
5) Stopped at Wheat Museum – supposedly this is near the site where grains were first cultivated sometime in 6th or 5th cent. BC.
6) 12th cent Mosque ruins from 1948 earthquake…
At this site of mosque viewing all the local people coming w/ prayers for health in belief that their wishes may now be answered, I suddenly felt very sad. Sad for humanity, a noble species but so weak in so many ways. The capacity for love is very great but also for hate and many other equally destructive feelings.Humans seems always in a struggle w/ themselves but never able to come to terms w/ their own mortality. Thus, I see the creation of gods, of myths, of any belief which may somehow take away the dark side of humanity and give each another chance, a sort of immortality that will perhaps remove the darkness of inevitable death. I feel sad because it is so ultimately destructive. It is like making an excuse for ones own behaviour in this life which does not measure up to what we each wish we could be but fall short. Failure to love, to show understanding, to be compassionate, generous, kind, or simply not hurt others. Distrust is a disease.
Perhaps we see the evil in others too much and fail to accept it in ourselves. Perhaps our fear of being sorely tested, or somehow being hurt by others prevents us from opening our hearts. I only know that, for me, it is difficult to listen and see people hurt one another and I am powerless to do anything to stop it – even in the close proximity of my own life. This is what makes me sad and I lose hope for the human species. I try to change myself but fail to over and over so my expectations are greatly reduced for everyone else. I know this sounds very ego centric but it is what I am feeling right now so…