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Dehistan/Mishrian was the principal city of Western Turkmenistan from the 1 0th to the 14th centuries. Located on a major caravan route from Gurgan in northern Iran to Khorezm, its finest bnildings were constructed by the Khorezmshahs. Major surviving monuments include parts of a minaret built by Abu Bini Ziyard in 1004/5 and another built 200 years later, which formed part of the mosque of Muhammad Khorezmshah: this still has a superbly decorated portal, 18 m. high. The city was strongly fortified with a double row of walls and occupied c. 200 hectares: it declined and was abandoned in the 1 5th century. Seven kilometres to the north is the Meshat/Meskhet cemetery, where in the nineteenth century some 20 mausolea were preserved. Of these 5 still survive, including the important mosque/mausoleum Shir Kabir with an elaborately decorated mihrab of carved and coloured stucco. In addition to the medieval city and cemetery, there are also important sites from the third millennium BC.

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