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, is a former fortress of the Turkmens
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...
, in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...
, in the oasis of Ahal, on the Transcaspian railway, 28 miles north-west of Ashgabat. Gökdepe is the Russian version of the Turkic name meaning "Blue Hill" from the Turkmen gök "blue" and depe "hill" or "summit". Today it lies along the M37 highway.
In December 1880, Geok Tepe (Siege of Geoktepe
The Siege of Geok Tepe or The Battle of Geok Tepe was a siege by the Imperial Russian army against the Turkmen fort of Geok Tepe in 1880-1881.-History:...
) was attacked by 6,000 Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....
under General Mikhail Skobelev
Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev was a Russian general famous for his conquest of Central Asia and heroism during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. Dressed in white uniform and mounted on a white horse, and always in the thickest of the fray, he was known and adored by his soldiers as the "White...
against 25,000 defenders. The siege of Geok Tepe lasted twenty-three days, after which the city was taken by storm. Although they encountered heavy resistance, Russian forces were eventually able to break in by digging a tunnel underneath a portion of the wall, then detonating a mine underneath the wall. On January 12 (24), 1881, the mine was detonated. Once the fortress was breached, the Russian troops stormed in. Several hundred defenders were killed in the initial explosion, and many more were killed in the fighting that ensued. Eventually, the defenders, along with the 40,000 civilians inside the fortress, fled across the desert, pursued by General Skobelev's cavalry. Around 8,000 Turkmen soldiers and civilians were killed in their flight, along with an additional 6,500 that were killed inside the fortress. Russian casualties were only 398 killed and 669 wounded. Geok Tepe (Gokdepe Mosque) was built to commemorate the defeat and is noted for its mint-turquoise blue coloured roof and white marble structure.