Turkmenistan is the center of magnificent unique architectural masterpieces of the past. The mausoleums erected above the tombs of the most outstanding people, so widespread on the territories of our country, became traditional in Islamic world starting from the 9th -10th centuries. The indisputable jewel among them is the mausoleum of Sultan Sandzhar in the old site of ancient settlement Merv. The 15th century Merv architecture complex - the mausoleum of askhabs who were the associates of Prophet Mohammed is rather interesting. No less admirable is the mysterious mausoleum of Astana-baba which is frequently visited by pilgrims.


Ashgabat is located in a picturesque valley at the foothills of Kopet Dagh. It emerged in 1881 first as military fortress not far from a village bearing the same name. In 1885 a railway was built that reached the area. As a result, it turned into a small town. The brightest page of Ashgabat's history was the fall of Geoek-Tepe fortress during the aggressive colonial war with Russia.

Until 1919 the city was known as Askhabat. In 1921 the city was renamed Poltoratsk. In 1927 the old name in a new transcription -Ashkhabat ("the city of love") was returned to the city. In the 90s there was another transcription - Ashgabat. Owing to its convenient geographical location the city became an important commercial and transportation point. In 1948 the city went through a powerful earthquake and was totally destroyed. According to official sources about 110 thousand inhabitants of the capital died and four five years' time the city was closed for visitation. The restoration of the capital of Turkmenistan was accomplished due to the efforts of all Soviet Union republics. In place of the ruins a fine new city which, alas, has not preserved any historical monuments, grew up. Today it is an important political-administrative and science cultural centre. Various industries are very developed there. There is a university, colleges, research institutions, theatres, museums, and clubs in the city.

Mary (Merv)is the third largest city of Turkmenistan. It is located in a big oasis in the middle of the Kara Kum Desert . Mary was founded in 1884 as a Russian military administrative center 30 kilometers from ancient Merv (until 1937 Mary was called Merv). Today it is a major center of cotton industry, large traffic point and the main center of gas industry which brings the most revenues to Turkmenistan treasury. The most interesting places in the city are the History Museum with a rich collection of artifacts, Turkmen carpets, national costumes and silver.

Turkmenabad is the center of the eastern part of Turkmenistan and the second-largest city in terms of population. It is located on the banks of the Amu Darya River. The history of the city has not yet been researched profoundly, but it’s known that it was born at the beginning of the one thousand BC, thanks to the Great Silk Road which pioneered from China through Central Asia to theMediterranean in the 3rd century BC. The town Amul was one of the most important points for the Silk Road. Those who see the Amu Darya River for the first time are surprised at its muddy yellow-green colour due to its strong current and a lot of particles of mud containing various nutrient substances forming the fertile soil.

Towering over absolutely flat, waterless and clay plain of Balkan velayat which earlier was known as Misrian Valley are the mysterious and mystical ruins of ancient Dakhistan - the most remote and isolated city. Once it was a prospering medieval city on the caravan routes between Khoresm and Persian Hyrcania. Dakhistan lay in the center of Misrian oasis and was also called Misrian (Messorian). (The name Dakhistan originated from dakhs - the tribe which used to inhabit the place).

See our tour: MTAC 22. “Itinerary of Great Silk Road” - UZBEKISTAN – TURKMENISTAN – KIRGHIZSTAN – CHINA

See some turkmen pictures