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Ancient Merv, Mary

4.1
#1 of 9 in Historic Sites in Turkmenistan
Explore the mysterious ruins of the former Gate to Central Asia at Ancient Merv, the oldest and best preserved oasis city on the Silk Road, and a World Heritage Site. Spanning 4,000 years of human history, the archeological site has a walled area covering 20 ha (49 ac). Claimed to have been the largest city in the world in the 12th century, the ancient metropolis has layers of civilizations, including Persian, Hellenic, Arab, Seljuk, Mongol, and Khiva, with the most intriguing stone structure being the Zoroastrian "gawurgala," or infidel’s fortress. Located near the Murghab River some 30 km (19 mi) west of Mary, the site also features a well-preserved mausoleum of a Seljuk sultan. To get a greater sense of the history, hire a local guide, who'll help you make sense of these massive eroding pillars and abandoned stone structures. Use our Mary online trip itinerary builder to arrange your visit to Ancient Merv and other attractions in Mary.
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Ancient Merv Reviews
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  • September 28, 2017
    Come early and you will have the site to yourselves. You do need a car as the site is enormous. Well worth seeing - but make sure that you either have a good guide or have read about it beforehand. In...  more »
  • September 22, 2017
    I am not a 'ruins type', but thought Merv was excellent. There was more than I expected to see, and the history is fascinating.  more »
  • September 16, 2017
    We recommend carefully around that time. However during repair, so may be from this. Note the heat become ago the ruins can be reached by car, but actually walking.
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Where to stay in Mary

Arguably the best accommodations in Mary sit on or near the banks of the Murgab River. Hotels in this area offer comfortable rooms with modern furniture, plus access to additional facilities like fitness centers and pools. Less expensive and less comfortable, hotels in Soviet-era buildings feature basic rooms and very few--if any--amenities. Unimproved and relatively neglected, these establishments generally only offer hot water early in the morning and late in the evening.
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