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Ancient Merv, Mary

4.2
#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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67 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • If you are in Turkmenistan, definitely visit Mary or Merv. It's amazing. The entire compound takes about 3 - 5 hour to visit because it includes many stops. If you just want to stop, take pictures, an...  more »
  • This place is very special. Not destroyed by restorations, but simple and pure. Having regard to this place of more than 400 years BC was already inhabited, and so much has experienced and polite, is to see this particular/drink/bleven in the purest form what took place here. The special is in the small places, is not easy to find, but.........!!!!
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  • Beautiful archaeological site. It was a major city of Central Asia is that Iranian Islam. Is extensive on site to visit and it is a real pity that the Turkmen Central Government does more to improve it and keep it.
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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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