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Geokdepe fortress.

Excursion to fortress in Geoktepe.

Geokdepe is a fortress ruins and cemetery to the west of Ashgabat. This site includes the remains of the ancient fortress of Geokdepe and the modern Saparmyrat Haji Mosque. Geok-Depe is a fortress from the XIXth century where a particularly bloody battle took place between the Turkmen and the Russians in 1881, when the Russian Empire attempted to conquer Turkmenistan.
In January, 1881, Russian forces surrounded the Geok Depe fortress and began to bombard it.  There had been 10,000 Turkmen troops inside its massive walls, most of them cavalry, as well as nearly 40,000 civilians.
The Famous Russian general, Skobelev, himself had 7,000 infantry and cavalry, and 60 gun and rocket batteries. Soon the Russians found themselves under heavy fire from the ramparts. Skobelev ordered his engineers to tunnel to a point beneath the wall where a mine could be placed.
If they dug quickly, the officer in charge would be rewarded with vodka. As the fierce fighting continued overhead, the sappers dug to within twenty five yards of the wall without detection. Fortress Geok-Tepe has been constructed 1869.
Fortress Geok-Tepe very significant place in history of Turkmenistan. It was last bastion on a way of Imperial Russia to a gain of Central Asia. The fortress has been constructed by Russian on coast of Caspian Sea, as base for the armies on territory of Central Asia.
Tekhins (local residents) tried to keep a fortress, Russian attacked it in August, 1879, and after lasting many days attack by artillery, have grasped a fortress. Soon Turkmens again have borrowed a fortress and have expelled Russian to coast of Caspian Sea.
Russian some times tried to borrow fortress Geok-Tepe, however finally the fortress was is grasped by them in December, 1880, Russian have come back in Геок-Тепе, have dug a underground tunnel in a fortress, have blown up an entrance gate.
After capture of fortress Geok-Tepe, on January, 18th, 1881, Russian have gone to Ashkhabad and have formed the East-Caspian area included cities, as Mangishlak, Kizisy, Ashkhabad, Tedzhen and Merv. Today - fortress Geok-Tepe - belongs to history-architectural monuments of the country.
It towers above Caspian Sea, as a reminder on the memorable battle which has broken a course of history not of one people. Progress began to slow due to the difficulty of providing air to the diggers, but after much effort the tunnel was completed.
Two tons of explosives were carried by volunteers to a position directly beneath the wall. Quickly, as the storming parties waited in readiness, the mine was ignited. Simultaneously the full fury of Skobelev artillery and rocket batteries was turned against the same part of the wall.
The result was an enormous explosion, which raised a huge column of earth and rubble skywards. Together with the artillery fire, the depth charge blew a gap nearly fifty meters wide in the wall, instantly killing several hundred of the defenders.
The Russian storming party now rushed into the fortress, while at other points, using scaling ladders carried to the walls under cover of darkness the previous night, Skobelev troops swarmed over the walls. Hand-to-hand fighting followed for possession of the fortress.
Unprepared for the sudden appearance of the Russians in their midst, and still stunned by the violence of the explosion, the Turkmens soon began to give ground. General Skobelev was one of the Russian Tsar's most outstanding and colorful generals.
Nicknamed "the White General" by his troops, he invariably rode into battle in a dazzling white uniform and on a white horse. He also had a reputation for ruthlessness and cruelty, which earned him the nickname "Old Bloody Eyes" among the Turkmen.
To commemorate the battle in Geokdepe, a magnificent mosque was built in 1996. 

Drawing "Storm to Geok-Tepa".

On materials of information department of the State committee of Turkmenistan on tourism and sport.