Adobe Buildings in Desert Plains
Shown here are ruins of the fabled city of Merv, situated on the Murghab River in the Mary region of present-day Turkmenistan. Settled as early as the third millennium BC, Merv was taken by the Arabs in 651 and became a staging point for Arab conquests in Central Asia. Merv reached its zenith under the Seljuks in the late 11th and 12th centuries, when it was one of the world’s largest cities and a major stop along the Silk Road. Destroyed by the Mongols in 1221, Merv never regained its former importance. This view includes the imposing keshk (citadels) of Small Kyz-Kala (left) and Large Kyz-Kala. Between them are the ruins of the Mausoleum of Sultan Sandjara and the distant mosque of Yusuf Khamadan. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many parts of the empire. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan in Central Asia (present-day Uzbekistan and neighboring states), which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. Among his goals was to photograph the region’s architectural and archeological monuments.
- acku Afghanistan
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- Contained in galleries