Exploring Tourism in Turkmenistan
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The southern flank of the Khorezm Oasis, to the south of Dashoguz, is an agricultural area with several interesting monuments. The district was named Tagta ('Wooden Plank') until 2002, when President Niyazov, visiting Dashoguz, asked local officials whether any of them could tell him why the district bore such an unusual name. All kept silent, and Niyazov therefore proposed renaming the place in honour of the legendary Turkmen hero Georogly, since 'it is quite possible that Georogly's roots came from Tagta's soil'.

The district capital of Georogly itself is a quiet agricultural town. When heading out of town to the east, take a glance at the Soviet monument depicting a rocket zooming off into the cosmos between two elderly tractors. The monument honours the local organisation providing agricultural machinery to the rural communities. The road east heads towards the Uzbek border. Some 10km beyond Georogly town, a turn to the right is marked with a sign for the Balysh Ovezov Peasants' Association. After 7km you reach the ruins of the fortress of Bedirkent, its ridges of earth topped with substantial chunks of mud-brick walls. Bedirkent was the headquarters of Juneid Khan, a Turkmen ruler of the early 20th century who attempted to resist the Bolsheviks.

Aksaray DingAn interesting monument lies some 6km north of the road running eastwards to the Uzbek border, close to the Peasants' Association of Aksaray. This is Aksaray Ding, a highly unusual fired-brick structure. A passageway runs through a stepped base. On top of this stands a tower, roughly square in form, with arched entrances on each of its sides. A cylindrical drum on top of the tower supports a double dome, though the latter is now badly damaged. Archaeologists believe that the building dates from the 11th or 12th century. The overall form of the ensemble vaguely resembles a kejebe, the traditional elaborate saddle structure, placed on a camel, in which the Turkmen bride would travel to her wedding. This has given rise to a local legend that the building was the work of a rich man, whose beloved daughter died young. One night she came to her father in a dream, and asked him to build a kejebe over her grave, since she had not been given the opportunity to ride to her wedding when she had been alive. More probably the building was the elaborate entrance to a rural estate or even a forgotten town.

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