Nisa


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Nisa,

rivers: see NeisseNeisse
, two rivers of SW Poland. The Glatzer Neisse , Pol. Nysa Kłodzka, c.120 mi (190 km) long, rises in the Sudetes, SW Poland, and winds generally NE past Kłodzko to the Oder River near Brzeg.
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, rivers of Poland.

Nisa

 

an ancient and medieval city, the ruins of which are 18 km northwest of Ashkhabad. From the third century B.C. to the third century A.D., Nisa consisted of the city proper (the site of the fortified town New Nisa, approximately 18 hectares) and a fortified royal residence (the site of the fortified town Old Nisa, ancient name Mithradatkirt, approximately 14 hectares).

Systematic excavations from 1946 to 1960, directed by M. E. Masson, uncovered important materials on the history and culture of the Parthian kingdom. Excavations in Old and New Nisa have turned up remains of fortress walls, temples, a palace room with monumental clay sculpture, and dwellings and outbuildings. They also uncovered what was evidently a royal treasury, containing marble statues, cultic ivory rhytons with relief decoration, ornaments, small terra-cotta and metal art objects, toreutic work, weapons, and utensils. The finds are characteristic of the Parthian culture from the third to first centuries B.C. and show a strong Hellenistic influence. Agricultural records—mainly inventories of winery products—from the first century B.C. have also been found; these are written in the Aramaic alphabet in the Parthian language.

With the fall of the Parthian kingdom in the first third of the third century A.D., Nisa fell into decline. It rose to prominence again in the second half of the fifth century. As a feudal city, it flourished in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it was an important center of Khorasan. The beginning of its final decline was in the 16th century, and by the 1820’s the city was in ruins. Archaeological excavations also uncovered a number of examples of art from the feudal period.

REFERENCES

Trudy Iuzhno-Turkmenistanskoi arkheologicheskoi kompleksnoi ekspeditsii, vols. 1–2, 4, 6. Ashkhabad, 1949–58.
Koshelenko, G. A. Kul’tura Parfii Moscow, 1966.
Pugachenkova, G. A. Iskusstvo Turkmenistana. Moscow, 1967.

V. M. MASSON

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