Dekhistan – The most important archaeological site of Balkan Region, the Dekhistan Oasis was inhabited for some 3,000 years, from the end of the 3rd millennium BC until the early 15th century.

From the 9th century, its capital was the city of Misrian, which covered an area of some 200ha and was sustained by an extensive irrigation system. Misrian reached its peak under the Khorezmshahs, when it was an important centre along the Silk Route from Khorezm to the Caspian region of northern Iran and on to the Arabian Peninsula. Misrian was sacked by the Mongols, but managed to re-establish itself, only to be abandoned altogether around the start of the 15th century, probably due to the decline of its irrigation system, perhaps linked to excessive deforestation of the nearby slopes of the Kopet Dag. The region today offers a flat, arid landscape. The names of villages such as Bugdayly (‘Wheat Filled’) hint at earlier agricultural riches, but there is now sand where once wheat grew.