Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan was founded in 1881 and is the starting point for most of our Turkmenistan tours. The main sights to see in this extravagant city are the statue of Lenin, the Presidential Palace, the National Museum, the mosque of Khezert Omar and Talkucha Bazaar, the largest market in the country.
Mary is the third largest city of Turkmenistan and is located in a big oasis in the middle of the KaraKum Desert. Accessible by road or air, Mary is the gateway to the ancient city of Merv and the Bronze Age site of Gonur Depe. The local History Museum in Merv is well worth visiting during your stay.
The magnificent archaeological site of Merv was once one of Central Asia’s most civilised cities and is referred to as the Pearl of the East. This is a vast site of 125 square kilometres and due to its location along the Great Silk Road Route, several cities have existed on the site of current Merv.
Darvaza gas crater (known locally as the Door to Hell) should be on anyone's ‘bucket list’ and is just over half-a-days drive from Ashgabat or Dashoguz. Your journey to Darvaza gas crater takes you deep into the desolate Karakum desert, where you can camp next to the crater and enjoy views of fire and flames erupting in the middle of the desert.
Located about 3 hours drive from Mary, Gonur Depe was the largest of dozens of scattered Bronze Age sites established here in the early second millennium. In the 1990s, archaeologists discovered a huge necropolis dating back to the 3-2 millennia B.C.
This morning fly to Turkmenbashi, a major port on the Caspian Sea. On arrival explore the city, visiting the local Fish market and the seaside at Awaza - a popular resort on the eastern coast of this huge inland sea.
Yangy Kala Canyons
The Yangy Kala Canyons are one of the most spectacular attractions in the country. The stunning flame coloured canyons are a mix of vibrant colours from of white, yellow and red with sheer cliffs rising from this ancient land. In your 4WD jeep drive through the so-called ‘Grand Canyon’ before heading north to the sparkling canyons of Yangysuw.
Close to the Uzbekistan border, the World Heritage Site of Kunya-Urgench is well worth visiting and was once a glorious capital of the medieval Khorezmshah Empire, the largest Muslim empire of the late 12th and early 13th century. Places of interest include the 15th century mausoleum of Turabeg Khanum and the 12th century mausoleum of Sultan Tekesh.