Oasis of Sand

The Oldest Fortress of the Ancient City of Merv in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan

The ancient Silk Road city of Merv in the Karakum desert (Turkic for “Black Sand”) reminds me of a bit of the fate of ancient Carthage. Tracing its origins to the 3rd century BC, it was the largest city in the world in the 12th century only to be razed to the ground some 300 years later. What remains from that time is the unrestored Kyz Kala (“Girls Fortress”), standing quiet in the sunset.

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