The Mausoleum of Astan-Baba is unique structure in its type, built in the area of the Medieval Zemm, north-west from Kerki. It has been rebuilt many times in the course of the centures. Kerki is an administrative centre forming part of Lebap velayat. It’s a town with a population of 20.000. The city differs from others with its’ XIX c architecture. Kerki is rich in archaeological monuments.
The first and most impressive monument is a comparatively older fortress named Sultaniyazbiy-kalasy (40 km of the Charjou-Kerki highway). It is also known as Seiydi fortress, named so in honour of Seyitnazar Seyidi, a classical Turkmen writer. Another monument of Kerki is the Alamberdar mausoleum dating back to the XI c. It is situated 12 kilometres to the northwest of the present day location of the town of Kerki. This is the largest preserved monument among the early buildings of north Khorasan (in present day Iran). Inside of the Alamberdar mausoleum there are architectural ornaments crafted from 15 types of figured brick. There is only one room adorned with a cenotaph, which often is mistaken as a gravestone but excavations have revealed that no one is buried there. Alamberdar, or Alamberdar-tutchy is translated from Turkmen as “standard-bearer”.
No person is connected with the monument, however, from the written origins in Kerki there was killed Abu-Ibrahim Ismail Muntazir, the last ruler of the Samanid state. In Turkmenistan there is not a few of sanctuaries, where even today it’s possible to see ziyarat-a ritual of worshipping to one or other saint, which is performed by pilgrims. The Astana-baba mausoleum of Kerki is one of the respected saints. The mausoleum was subjected to multiple reconstructions during a range of centuries. Its oldest parts -“the mosque” and probably, its entry peshtak refer to 12 c, and its last capital restoration was carried out in 1918-1920 under the aegis of Bukhara Emir. The Astana-baba cult has formed several centuries ago and not at all on the empty place. The name points out pre-Islam, pagan origin, then transforming in the image of a Moslem saint. Now, both a settlement and a unique 4-dome in shape architectural ensemble bears this name.