Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kyz-Kala - Turkemenistan

Claus once sent me a Turkemenistan's unesco card, that was good enough for me. Now he
surprised me even more sending another unesco card from Turkemenistan, but this time written and stamped from there :D
The card shows the Greater Kyz-Kala, included on the site "State Historical and Cultural Park Ancient Merv".
"The Greater Kyz.Kala is an isolated building known as koshk, which has distinctive corrugated exterior walls. The Greater Kyz Kala is rectangular in plan, with a length of 45m and width of 38m. Its corrugations are well preserved on the eastern and southern sides of the building, protected against the prevailing wind. The interior of the building preserves squinches and traces of different kinds of vaulting.

'Kyz Kala" means 'Girls' Castle': one story runs that forty girls hid in the Greater Kyz Kala at the time of the Mongol invasion. When they saw what the Mongols had done to the inhabitants of the city of Merv they committed suicide by jumping from the roof. Another local tale identifies the Greater Kyz Kala as the castle for the girls; its smaller neighbour as the boys' castle. It is said that young men wishing 10 marry the girl of their dreams should fire a projectile from the southern castle, to land in the northern one. Given the distance between the two, there are presumably many local bachelors.
The buildings were elite rural residences, and probably date from the 8th or 9th centuries. There remains much debate about the purpose of their distinctive corrugations: theories include helping to keep the interiors cool, ensuring the rapid run-off of potentially destructive rainwater, and simple decoration.

Nobody seems to know for certain why these walls are 'corrugated' in this way. Was it a system of drainage - was it purely decorative? Kyz-kala is one of the most intact ruins in Merv. It's hard to believe that at the height of its fame in the 10-11th century, this pile of ruined brick walls rivaled the great Islamic centers of learning such as Baghdad and Cairo." -in:

1 comment:

adobe said...

What a fantastic card. And mailed from Turkmenistan too. With a horse on it! I am so happy for you. And jealous. Ha ha!