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Ancient Merv

Explore this Complex, Well Preserved Archaeological Site in Turkmenistan Along the Silk Road

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Ancient Merv Map.jpg

The Ancient Merv archeological site is located in the southeast of modern day Turkmenistan. 

Project Overview

Ancient Merv
The cities that developed at Merv span the last 2,500 years, and together they form one of the most complex and well-preserved urban centers on the Silk Route of Central Asia. Throughout its occupation, Merv was the capital of vast empires, a trading center, and a military and administrative center. Its importance began to decline as the east-west land-based trade routes were by-passed by the growing sea trade, and eventually the city was sacked by the armies of Genghis Khan.

CyArk’s Mission

Spurred by the Taliban's destruction of the 1600-year-old Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, CyArk was founded in 2003 to ensure heritage sites are available to future generations, while making them uniquely accessible today. CyArk operates internationally as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission of using new technologies to create a free, 3D online library of the world's cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression, or ravaged by the passage of time.

Digital Preservation

CyArk works with experienced teams worldwide to record heritage sites using reality capture technologies such as 3D laser scanning, photogrammetry, and traditional survey. The resultant 3D, engineering-grade data can then be used to create highly accurate documentation drawings for site conservation and realistic visualizations for education and interpretation.

The Ancient Merv project is a partnership between CyArk and the Institute of Archaeology at University College of London, one of the largest archaeological departments in the world.

Explore Merv Through the Lens of Digital Preservation Media

Greater Kyz Kala

Take a virtual tour of the ruins of the Greater Kyz Kala, located on the east side of the Hormuzfarra canal in the northeast of Sultan Kala, Turkmenistan.

Icehouse 1

This earthen structure is one of four known icehouses that provided year-round ice supplies to the ancient city of Sultan Kala.

Palace of Shahriyar Ark

Examine varying perspectives of the ruins of the Palace within Shahriyar Ark, in the northeast of the ancient city of Sultan Kala in Turkmenistan.

Timurid Pavilion

Explore the Timurid Pavilion in Ancient Merv. This building is one of the few that remain from occupation of Timurid Empire during the 14th century CE.

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About Cyark

CyArk's Projects

Explore CyArk's vast library of digitally preserved images of heritage sites.

CyArk Education

Check out CyArk's educational resources.


Another Stop on the Silk Road

Afghanistan: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Learn about the history and culture of Afghanistan.


The Silk Road

Learn more about the impact of this ancient trade route on Afghanistan.

Silk Road Threads Through History

National Geographic Archaeology Fellow Fredrik Hiebert explains the significance of Afghanistan to the ancient Silk Road.

The Silk Road in Afghanistan

National Geographic Archaeology Fellow Fred Hiebert talks about how the Silk Road shaped the identity of Afghanistan.