Geok Tepe (Turkmen: Гөкдепе, romanized: Gökdepe) is a city in and the administrative center of Gökdepe District, Ahal province, Turkmenistan, 45 kilometres (28 mi) north-west of Ashgabat. The city is built around a former fortress of the Turkmens which bore the same name. "Geok Tepe" is a Russian transliteration of the Turkic name Gökdepe, meaning "Blue Hill", from the Turkmen gök "blue" and depe "hill" or "summit". The city lies along the M37 highway.
Battle of Geok Tepe
The fortress of Geok Tepe consisted of a walled enclosure 2.8 km (1+3⁄4 mi) in circuit, the wall being 5.5 m (18 ft) high and 6 to 9 m (20 to 30 ft) thick. In December 1880 in the Siege of Geoktepe it was attacked by 6,000 Russians under General Mikhail Skobelev against 25,000 defenders. The siege of Geok Tepe lasted 23 days, after which the fort was taken by storm. The Russian forces encountered heavy resistance and finally broke in by digging a tunnel under the wall, then detonating a mine under the wall on January 12 (24th new style), 1881. Once the fortress was breached, the Russian troops stormed in. Several hundred defenders died in the explosion, and many more died in the fighting that ensued. Eventually, the defenders, and the 40,000 civilians inside the fort, fled across the desert, pursued by General Skobelev's cavalry. Around 8,000 Turkmen soldiers and civilians died while fleeing, adding to 6,500 who had died in the fort. Russian casualties were 398 killed and 669 wounded.
The words gök depe mean "blue hill" in Turkmen. Atanyyazow explains that nearby hills in this district, as well as elsewhere in Turkmenistan, "appear to be blue-black with fog from the wind" and the settlements are named after such hills.
Geok Tepe is the site of a cotton ginning mill and of the Gökdepe Textile Factory named for Hero Atamyrat Niyazov (father of the first president of independent Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov). The city features two hospitals, one a general hospital and the other specializing in obstetrics and pediatrics. The city's central market, Ak Bazar, located across the M37 highway from the central train and bus stations, draws villagers from the surrounding area both to sell their wares and to purchase necessities.
The city's main architectural attraction is the Saparmurat Hajji Mosque, completed in 1995 by order of President Niyazov to commemorate the fallen in the Battle of Geok Depe. The local history museum is located on the grounds of the mosque, and one floor of the museum is dedicated to the battle. The entire complex is on the southern end of the former fortress.
- Saparmurat Hajji Mosque was built to commemorate the defeat and is noted for its mint-turquoise blue coloured roof and white marble structure
- Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex
- "HM-6 Türkmenistanda administratiw-territorial düzümleriň statusyny bellemek hakynda" (PDF) (in Turkmen). Parliament of Turkmenistan. December 14, 1991.
- Kerven, Cara (2019-11-27). "Regenerating Life: The Power of Reproducing People in Desert Turkmenistan". Central Asian Affairs. 6 (4): 253–282. doi:10.1163/22142290-00604001. ISSN 2214-2282. S2CID 213848641.
- Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names, 2005
- The legal historian Sir Henry Maine discussed the incident in his last lectures. Maine, Henry (1888). International Law: A Series of Lectures Delivered Before the University of Cambridge, 1887 (1 ed.). London: John Murray. pp. 143–144. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- Atanyýazow, Soltanşa (1980). Түркменистаның Географик Атларының Дүшүндиришли Сөзлүги [Explanatory Dictionary of Geographic Names in Turkmenistan] (in Turkmen). Ashgabat: Ылым. p. 112.
- Location and image
- Picture of the mosque in Geok Tepe
- Another picture of the mosque