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see MervMerv
, ancient city, in Turkmenistan, in a large oasis of the Kara Kum desert, on the Murgab River. The city, known in antiquity as Margiana, or Antiochia Margiana, was founded in the 3d cent. B.C. on the site of an earlier settlement. Its periods of greatness were from A.D.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Greek, Margiane; Old Persian, Margush), the name of an ancient region in Middle Asia, along the Murgab (Murghab) River, in present-day southeastern Turkmen SSR and northern Afghanistan. It was first mentioned in the Avesta and the Behistun inscription. Margiana bordered Parthia on the west, Sogdi on the northeast, Bactria on the east, and Arii on the south. Its capital was in the area of ancient Merv. In 522 B.C., the people of Margiana rebelled against Achaemenid rule, but their rebellion was suppressed by King Darius I (521 B.C.). Margiana later was seized by Alexander the Great, the Seleucid state, and the Parthian kingdom. During the Middle Ages the territory became part of Khurasan.

In the first third of the first millennium B.C., urban-type settlements appeared in Margiana (Yaz-depe). Circa 500 B.C. the cities were surrounded by fortress walls (for example, the city of Merv). In the third century B.C. Hellenistic elements appeared in the art of Margiana. At the height of the region’s development, from the second century B.C. to the third century A.D., its cities and forts were built on a grid plan. Many of the buildings had serpentine walls (for example, at Chilburdzh). Residential buildings generally consisted of several living units with one court (Dzhin-depe). Terra-cotta statuettes were common, and ossuaries in the form of architectural structures were encountered. Toward the third century A.D., Buddhist architecture and sculpture appeared in the region. The artistic tradition of Margiana was developed further in the art of Merv.


Pugachenkova, G. A. Iskusstvo Turkmenistana. Moscow, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
In mail their horses clad, yet fleet and strong, Prauncing their riders bore, the flower and choice Of many provinces from bound to bound-- From Arachosia, from Candaor east, And Margiana, to the Hyrcanian cliffs Of Caucasus, and dark Iberian dales; From Atropatia, and the neighbouring plains Of Adiabene, Media, and the south Of Susiana, to Balsara's haven.
Laying on the route of the Great Silk Road, Turkmenistan has rich folk culture, diverse natural landscapes, and unique archaeological monuments such as ancient Nisa, Merv and Koneurgench included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, and the Gonurdepe, the center of the civilization of Margiana, otherwise known in ancient times as Dahistan.
This month around 250 Bronze Age artefacts from Margiana, a historical region of eastern Turkmenistan that 4,000 years ago was home to an advanced civilisation, go on show in an exhibition at the Neues Museum, Berlin.
From 2300-1700 BC, the Margiana region was at the heart of the advanced Oxus civilisation of central Asia.
Assyrian artifacts were found in sites of the so-called Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex, (125) suggesting the presence of Assyrian traders in an area north and east of the Caspian Sea inhabited at that time by the ancestors of the Indo-Iranians.
The expansion of inter-parliamentary cooperation between the two countries was discussed at the meeting, as well as the organization of the exhibition "Margiana", which will be held in Germany in 2017.
Around 2,000 BC, Gonur-Tepe was the main settlement of the Margush or Margiana region that was home to one of the most sophisticated, but little-known Bronze Age civilisations.
By 256 B.C., the vast eastern region--with such ancient names as Aria, Arachosia, Bactria, Drangiana, Ferghana, Khwarzem, Margiana, Paropamisadae, Sogdiana, and Transoxiana--broke away from the Seleucid Empire.
Sarianidi, who is the most celebrated living researcher of the Bronze Age of Turkmenistan, also excavated Togolok, situated north of Mary in ancient Margiana. The main site in this large oasis contains a complex palace - temple building and is one of the best studied sites of the BMAC.
In Sinbad - due for release in 2003 - Crowe will play the adventurer and Zeta Jones his love Margiana, their characters created in their likeness.