Merv [monastery?], (in) Mary, Mary Welayaty, TM

Raw data

Marv - a Buddhist center by the middle of the 2nd c. AD - Foltz (1999:47).
5th c. Sarvastivadin texts were found there - Foltz (1999:48).
Input by: tmc, Apr 25, 2009

Merv, Giaur Kala fortress (build 3rd c. BC by the Sassanians). "…the site of a Buddhist stupa and monastery, which was still functioning in the early Islamic era. The head of a Buddha statue was found here making Merv the furthest western point to which Buddhism spread at is hight."
Bradley et al. (2007:427)

"The Vinaya palm leaf manuscripts of the 7th century discovered at Merv (Turkmenia) indicate that they are a version of the Sarvāstivādin school."- Krishan (1996:83)

"[T]he Russian discovery of a Buddhist stupa at Gyaur Kala near Bagram-'Ali more than 400 km west of Balk in the Marv oasis was thought to have disproved the Foucher hypothesis (Koshelenko). However, even if there were isolated instances of Buddhist communities farther west, the main thesis that Buddhism flourished predominantly in the east seems unassailable. Even in the case of Gyaur Kala, it appears that the building of the stupa was interrupted in the 3rd century and that it was destroyed in the 5th (Litvinsky, p. 29)." [Cited literature: G. Koshelenko, “The Beginning of Buddhism in Margiana,” Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 14, 1966, pp. 175-83. B. A. Litvinsky, Outline of Buddhism in Central Asia, Moscow, 1968.] - Emeric (n.d.)
Input by: tmciolek, Aug 28, 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 03 Oct 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Merv monastery, TM.

General location of the Merv monastery, TM.
lat=37.662075 long=62.191004
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20TM)&ll=37.662075,62.191004&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Merv [monastery?] - Foltz (1999:47)

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Turkmenistan:Mary Welayaty

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Gyaur Kala monastery

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 37.662075 Long: 62.191004 - based on visual identification of Merv ruins in Google Earth (tmciolek 8 Jan 2007) Note: Ruins located 19 miles E of modern town of Mary, in large oasis of Kara-Kum desert.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 37.662075 Long: 62.191004 - estimate by tmciolek 8 Jan 2007.

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Sarvastivada(?) - Foltz (1999:48)

11. Date-early

  • Buddhist constructions in the city of Marv date from the late Parthian period (1st-2nd centuries CE) - Melikian-Chirvani (n.d.)
  • A Buddhist center by the middle of the 2nd c. AD - Foltz (1999:47)

MBM chrono-tag: <=0200 - tmciolek 03 Oct 2013
<=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32p 0633-66p 0667-99p dated-ex

12. Date-intermediate

  • 600s AD (7th c.) palm leaf manuscripts - Krishan (1996:83)

MBM chrono-tag: 0600-32p 0633-66p 0667-99p - tmciolek 03 Oct 2013

13. Date-late

  • [missing data]

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • archaeological, epigraphical

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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