1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Murghab

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MURGHAB, a river of Afghanistan, which flows into Russian territory. It rises in the Firozkhoi highlands, the northern scarp of which is defined by the Band-i-Turkestan, and after traversing that plateau from east to west it turns north through deep defiles to Bala Murghab. Beyond this, in the neighbourhood of Maruchak, it forms for a space the boundary-line between Afghan and Russian Turkestan; then joining the Kushk river at Pul-i-Khishti (Tash Kupri) it runs north to Merv, losing itself in the sands of the Merv desert after a course of about 450 m., its exact source being unknown. In the neighbourhood of Bala Murghab it is 50 yds. broad and some 3 ft. deep, with a rapid current. In the lower parts of its course it is flanked by a remarkable network of canals. The ancient city of Merv, which was on its banks, was the great centre of medieval Arab trade, and Buddhist caves are found in the scarped cliffs of its right bank near Panjdeh.