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Stamp seal from Anau, c.2300 BCEAnau Mosque & Bronze Age Site

"Scholars have long predicted an important outside influence on the Sumerians (as Anau reveals levels which go back to the Copper Age, c. 4500 BCE), and many see the Bronze Age Bactrians as eventually contributing to the Harappan Indus Valley civilization, though whether through trade, conquest, or some unremarkable and unknown process, is not yet clear."

Learn more about the Controversy of the Anau Seal at

Anau Mosque Full View
20 minutes by car from Ashgabat to the south east, this site includes the remains of the Bronze age settlement Anau -Depe and the fortress of Anau. The name Anau derives from Abi-Nau, meaning "new water".

The site was already inhabited in the 4-3 millenium B.C. The culture of this period has been named Anau culture. Excavations began in 1904 when an American archaeologist R. Pempelli launched an expedition. The site includes a great wall and a ditch. Some skeletons of children, the remains of the painted ceramics, decorated with the geometrical ornament and the most ancient remains of the camels were discovered at the time of excavations. According to the scientists camels were domesticated at first just on the territory of the present day Turkmenistan. Anau fortress already existed during the Parthian period /3d c BC- 3d c. AD/.

Wish Stones at the Ruins of Anau MosqueThe mosque, constructed in the 15 c., is located in the southern part of the fortress. Its lofty, powerful outlines were visible from a great distance. One curious feature of the mosque is the mosaic decoration above the entrance, depicting two enormous 8-9 m dragons facing each other. Some experts think that dragons were totems of the Turkmenian tribe which inhabited Anau in the 15 century. Sheikh Jemaled-din probably belonged to this tribe. The mosque was destroyed by the 1948 earthquake. In the meantime the location is still hallowed as the site of the grave of Sheikh Djemalledin. Childless couples bring children's clothes here as an offering, and baby dolls are swaddled and left in tiny hammocks slung between two sticks.

Hiebert's Anau SealThe United States and Turkmenistan have launched a restoration project at the 15th-century Seit Jemmalatdin Mosque in Annau, according to a press release from the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat. (Photos, details available at

Visit further fascinating Bronze Age sites in Turkmenistan - Gonur Depe, Altyn Depe.

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