There is no caravansaries like Dayahatyn by its beautiful perfectness among the inns preserved until our days in Turkmenistan
Jeyhun is a biblical name of great Central Asian Amudarya River, which got this name owing to its indomitable character. In the ancient times, this word meant furious or uncontrollable and it precisely describes the behaviour of this powerful water artery. Constantly changing its course and washing off the banks, the river destroyed many fortresses and villages in its valley. The name Jeyhun was well adopted in mediaeval Arabic geographic tradition, having replaced previous Greek name – Oks.
There is ancient caravan route stretched along the left bank of Amudarya from Kunyaurgench to Amul, the ancient city in the outskirt of modern Turkmenabat. Academic V. V. Bartold had all reasons to suppose that it was Amul, which owing to its favourable location at the main crossing over the river on the way from Merv to Bukhara, having become most important city on Amudarya, gave the river its current name.
The huge hill, where old fortress Amul was located including the residence of local ruler, is one of the main objects of Atamyrat State Historical and Cultural Sanctuary. According to the “Order of organization of protected zones of historical, archaeological, urban planning, architectural and monumental memorials and natural landscape objects” adopted by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, which regulates the rules of establishment and maintenance of such places, the demarcation of the borders of the plot, protected by the Government, was accomplished. The territory inside is cleared from extraneous facilities, which were built in the XX century and distorted historical landscape.
There are many important discoveries there for the archaeologists as Amul was one of the key links of the great Silk Road. It was much probably the most convenient location for crossing the great river, on the other bank of which Farab settlement was founded in the Middle Ages. The same way, the remains of other fortresses like Hoja-Idat-Kala and Kyoshk Zukhra-Takhir (mediaeval Navidakh), Atamyrat (mediaeval Zemm) and Kerkichy are located in the places of different river crossings. There was plenty of such pair cities on both banks of Amudarya River but most of them disappeared in water when furious river streams destroyed the banks and many of them are still not studied by the archaeologists.
Twelve centuries ago when Jeytun was much more full-flown, the monumental building, which can be seen in our days, appeared on one of the high banks of the river in the northern part of Lebap Velayat. Today, it is known as Dayahatyn. For many years it was used as caravansary where trade caravans used to find shelter but its original purpose was totally different.
This monumental construction, standing separately on the edge of the desert, was built in the centre of square fortress in the beginning of IX century by the order of Tahir Ibn Hussein, the founder of Tahirids dynasty, whose capital was in Merv. It was designated for Arabic military garrison during those days when new religion, the Islam, have been spread in the Central Asia.
Almost two hundred years after in the age of the Great Seljuks, Dayahatyn was used for other purposes. The modernization of the central building inside the fortress was carried out. It was tiled with burnt bricks what met the style and preferences of that age. It was preserved in such appearance with few changes in later periods until our days.
In XI – XII centuries, renewed and beautified Dayahatyn was turned into the rest shelter of Seljuks’ sultans, who used to stop there during war campaigns or falcon hunting. These walls still remember brothers Togrulbek and Chagrybek, Alp-Arslan, Melikshakh and his son Sultan Sanjar.
There is no the same caravansary by its artistic perfectness among the others on the territory of Turkmenistan. Only in neighbouring Uzbekistan, the only similar architectural monument of that period that can be placed in the same row with Dayahatyn is Rabat-I Malik, the Karahanids residence located on the main road between Samarkand and Bukhara.
Both buildings can be referred as fashionable elite hotels of the mediaeval. They are very different form the caravansaries, which were built in the cities and deserts on numerous legs of the Great Silk Road for rest and shelter if the caravans after every 25 – 33 kilometres (day trip distance). Many of them disappeared long time ago, turned into ruins, covered with sand or fuses of their own walls and only the most monumental of them – Dayahatyn and Rabat-i Malik became popular objects of modern tourist routes in two fraternal countries – Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Dayahatyn is the only monument in this area, which condition allows to imagine easily its previous appearance and gives opportunity to modern architects to restore almost all lost parts of the building and the elements of décor without any guessing but on scientific base relying on existing original. The conservation and partial reconstruction of missing elements of the caravansary is carried out for the last few year by the specialists of National Department of Turkmenistan for protection, study and restoration of historical and cultural monuments together with team of specialists from the State historical and cultural sanctuary Atamyrat.
They did plenty of restoration works at other famous monuments of Lebap Velayat. First of all, these are centuries-old architectural complex Astana-Baba and XI century Alamberdar Mausoleum as well as several Turkmen medrece dated XVIII – XIX centuries including Idris-Baba in Halach Etrap, where the great Magtumguly Fragi started his studying, Soltanniyaz-Bay fortress and others.