Aydogdy Kurbanov : A residence of the great kings - Mithradatkert

On The March 9, 2020

10h00 - 12h00
26, Place Bellecour - 69002 Lyon
Salle de réunion - Allée A - 1er étage

The most prominent archaeological site at the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains is containing the ruins of two fortresses: Old and New Nisa. They are situated in the south-west of Ashgabat. Old Nisa was the residence (or ceremonial centre) of the kings of the Parthian Empire from the Arsacid dynasty (the mid 3rd century BCE to the early 3rd century CE) and New Nisa, 1.5 km to the north-west of Old Nisa, was representing the adjacent city.

The Parthian Empire was one of the most powerful and influential states of the ancient world and a rival of the Roman Empire. At the time of Parthian king Mithradates I (171-138) at the place of Old Nisa was founded a royal residence Mithradatkert (“the fortress of Mithradates”) having contours of an irregular pentagon (covering about 14 hectares) with 43 towers. There were the palace and temple buildings, storage facilities and a treasure house of the Parthian kings. During archaeological excavations among the various types of artefacts were significant discoveries of ostraca, carved ivory rhyta and mural paintings.
After the fall of the Parthian Empire (226 CE), Old Nisa was destroyed by the new dynasty - Sasanids. Life continued in New Nisa, almost until the early 19th century. In 1980 was established the State historical and cultural park “Nisa” to provide protection of the archaeological sites around and in Ashgabat. In June 2007, Old and New Nisa fortresses were included in UNESCO World Heritage list.

Aydogdy Kurbanov is a historian and archaeologist who specializes in the study of the Prehistoric and Early Medieval Central Asia, former head of the Archaeology department of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography at the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan and a 2019-2020 fellow of the Collegium de Lyon.