Amul Settlement ​

Amul Settlement

The ruins of the old town of Amul lie on the southern side of the city center of Turkmenabat. There is little to see at this unexcavated site beyond a raised fortress, with a higher citadel at the northwest corner of the mound. Today the remains of Shakhristan of Amul-Charjui represent a nearly usual quadrangle with an area of 9 ha.

The most ancient period of occupation refers to the 1th-4th century A.D. At that moment it held an area of about 50 ha and was a part of the Kushanian Kingdom. Beginning from the 4th c. A.D. the period of crisis is noted. Following the Arab conquest, Amul was recovered and by the 9th c. became one of the largest centers of global trade which promoted the significant increase of the town. Amul, the capital of the Middle Amudarya region, was an essential transit point on the Great Silk Road. Here there were joined two international routes – land and river ones. The land one directed from Merv to Bukhara and China. Another land way head to the north, to Khorezm. The second route was Amudarya itself by which the goods from India through Afghanistan had been delivered. According to archaeological evidence, the Amul of that period consisted of Shakhristan inside of which there was a citadel Ark, and outer town with 3 gates: northern, southern and eastern ones. 

In 1220 Amul was destroyed by Mongols. The following significant stage of its life started in the 15th c. when the town had been named Charjui. The town plan of that period survived almost till 60th of the 20th-century c. The area of rabad which had surrounded the Amul Shakhristan exceeded 150-175 ha. The origin of the name “Amul” is still under discussion. It appears in the 7th c. A.D. In historical literature there are observed also other its names: “Amuya”, “Amuye”, “Amu”. Later the Persian abbreviated name “Amu” was applied to the Oxus-Jeikhun river which was started to call Amudarya (Amu-river), Since the late 15th c. a new name for the town appears, that Charjui which constantly replaces the old one. 

Apart from Amul in the zone of the Middle Amudarya there are registered tens of similar multi-layer sites next to the square plan of Shakhristans and citadels. They were formed finally during the Late Kushanian period 3-4th cc. A.D.) and were lost (except Amul’) after the Mongolian invasion. Throughout ancient and medieval times Amudarya river played a key part in the life of the population of uniting territories as the basis of agriculture and the main transport and trade artery in the Middle Asia. It was also a connecting element for the peoples living on its left and right banks. The evolution and development of many pair towns-fortresses (laying on both river banks) were linked, firstly with the convenient geographic location – in the places of water crossing. Large settlements were usually situated on the left bank of Amudarya, while small advanced posts – on its right bank. Such were, for instance: Amul and Farap (then Bityk), Zemm and Kerkichi, Khodja-Idat-kala and Navidakh etc. (in Turkmenistan) and Tashguzar and Old Termez in Uzbekistan.


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