GEO Turkmenistan for 2 weeks
Turkmenistan deep in history, natural sites, archeology, modern architecture and cultural experience. Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites Nisa, Merv, Kunya Urgench, archeological excavations in Margush and remains of Silk Road town in Messerian plain – Dekhistan, natural sites – Yangy Kala canyons, Caspian Sea, Kope Dag mountains, Karakum desert, including also pilgrim holy places, villages, Daravaza gas craters
Flight to Ashgabat
Day 1 airport - Ashgabat
At night or early in the morning, meet at airport & transfer to htl. Check in & O/N
Start sightseeing in Turkmen capital - Ashgabat, visiting the Independence park, monument of Neutrality, Earthquake Memorial, Ertogrul Ghazi mosque. Visit the archeological site “Nisa” (The ruins have mud brick remains of fortifications and palaces, temples, ceremony hall, treasury building. It covers the remains of Parthian civilization, what combined the traditional art and culture with Hellenistic and Roman elements. The richly decorated architecture of religious, royal power and ordinary domestic functions had been revealed as the result of archeological excavations, started from beginning of 20th century and are continued in our days. Nisa or Parthaunisa presumed to be the first capital of Parthians, its ancient people lived along Kopet Dag mountain range (modern Turkmenistan and Iran). Accordingly to UNESCO description, Nisa played important role of a barrier to Roman Empire expansion to the west, while playing the communication and trading centre between east and west, between central Asia and Mediterranean cultures. Discover Turkmenbashy spiritual mosque in Gypjak. Return in Ashgabat. O/N at hotel.
*night drive in Ashgabat – complimentary
Day 2 Ashgabat- Kov Ata- Nokhur, 165 km
En route to Kopet Dag mountains. Discover on the way Kov Ata cave lake & Turkmenbashy mosque & Ahal Teke private horse farm (Experts say the Akhal-Teke breed is at least 3,000 years old, may be the last remaining strain of the Turkoman (a horse that has existed since 2400 B.C.). In the Middle Ages (500 to 1500 A.D.), Akhal-Tekes lived with nomadic tribesmen near the Kopet Dag Mountains in Turkmenistan. The nomads treated the horses as part of their families, tethering them near their shelters. In the early 1900s, Russians used Akhal-Tekes as cavalry horses. Today they excel in sport, particularly in racing, show jumping, dressage and endurance racing. The Akhal-Teke breed has preserved type, purity and performance abilities of its ancestors into modern times thanks to the geographically isolated area of the harsh Kara Kum desert where the horses have been bred by the Akhal-Teke tribe since ancient times. The Akhal-Tekes are still being bred for speed and stamina by the Turkmen and one of the most famous stallions of modern times, Yanardag, is a part of the national emblem). Change road at Archman and continue drive in mountains. Arrive at Nokhur. Visit village and meet local people. Homestay.
Day 3 Nokhur - Balkanabat, 305 km
Drive to Balkanabat. Visit on route Parau Bibi mausoleum. Stop at Mollakara resort to visit local salt lake. Arrive in Balkanabat. Check in hotel. Time for leisure. O/N at hotel
Day 4 Balkanabat- Dekhistan- Balkanabat, 370 km
Continue 4 WD drive experience to Dehistan historical site. Discover the Messerian plain & the remains of cathedral mosque, minarets, madrassah of Dehistan, mausoleum- mosque of Shir Kebir, Mashhad mausoleums remains. Return in Balkanabat. O/N at htl
Day 5 Balkanabat- Yangy Kala- Turkmenbashy, 350 km
Drive to Yangy Kala (The south eastern bordering region of Gara Bogaz Gol bay, spectacular view of the former sea bed, and millions years work of natural forces to form the canyons in its unusual shapes and variety of colors). Arrive and discover Yangy Kala canyons. Visit Gozli Ata pilgrimage. Continue drive to Turkmenbashy. Arrive in Avaza Caspian Sea resort. Check in htl. O/N
Day 6 Turkmenbashy- Ashgabat
Free program at Caspian Sea resort. At 12:00 check out of htl. Short sightseeing in Turkmenbashy. Afternoon flight to Ashgabat.
Day 7 Ashgabat- Mary, 350 km
Drive to Mary. Visit on the route: Anau pilgrimage place (remains of Seyitjemalatdin mosque XV c), historical site Abiverd. Lunch at one of Hanhovuz chayhana, to taste fish from local lake. Arrive in Mary & check in hotel. O/N.
Day 8 Mary-Merv
Drive to Merv historical site. The ancient city of Merv (Persian Marv) contains a succession of ancient cities developed over a period of 2500 years at the heart of the oasis formed by Murgab river delta, and close to the course of where the main river channel flowed in ancient times. Together, the cities of Merv once encompassed over 1000 hectares. In 1999, the United Nations declared Merv a World Heritage Site. Sightseeing: Alexandria Margiana (Erk Kala), Antiochia Margiana (Gyaur Kala) remains, Sultan Kala, Sultan Ahmad Sanjar mausoleum, Yusuf Hamadany shrine, Mohammed ibn Zeid mausoleum, Gyz Kala castles. Return in Mary. Check in htl. Afternoon visits to choice: Mary history museum or Talkhatan Baba pilgrimage (XI c mausoleum/ Seljuk architecture) & Ahun Baba madrassah remains XIX c. O/N at htl
Day 9 Mary- Gonur (Persian: Margush, Greek name: Margiana), total 200 km
Drive to Gonur archeological site in Karakum desert. Arrive and sightseeing (Gonur or Gonur depe site discovered to be the most impressive and called by the head of Russian archeological expedition, Mr. Sarianidi, as the capital or “imperial city” of Bronze Age state (which probably has thousands of sites around in desert, still covered by sands). The people of Gonur state had lead sedentary life in oasis richly watered by Murgab river (after many centuries Murgab river changed its course and now can be seen in present day Mary), practicing irrigation farming of wheat and barley. Artifacts of Gonur are sophisticated and ingenious consists of bronze tools, horse training tools, ceramics rich in forms and usage, lapis lazuli, carnelian, gold and silver jewelry, semiprecious stone objects, stone seals – now it can been seen in history museum in Mary and in the National museum of history in Ashgabat). Return in Mary. O/N at htl.
Day 10 Mary- Ashgabat
Flight to Ashgabat. Visit Turkmen carpet museum & discover Turcoman carpets (Turkoman families lived in distinctive tents, called "yurts", and the various types of weavings served particular functions, both decorative and "architectural" - large carpets (hali), entrance covers (ensi), prayer rugs, cot covers, small rugs, tent-bands (jolami), bags (chuval, torba & mafrash), blankets, and animal decorations (khalyk & asmalyk).Turkoman weaving was (and largely remains) carried out by women. The importance of this skill was closely related to the family and marriage, as a Turkoman bride was expected to have a dowry, composed of various types of rugs which she had made in the years before…
Continue sightseeing in Ashgabat. At 13:00 Check in htl. Free program. O/N.
Day 11 Ashgabat- Darvaza, 257 km
Drive to Darvaza. Visit on the route Yerbent village. Arrive and start to explore the old gas craters. Venture in the desert to see the big, spectacular fire gas crater. Camping and see it at night. O/N in tent.
Day 12 Darvaza- Dashoguz, 310 km
Start drive to Dashoguz. Visits on route: Shasenem fortress. Before Dashoguz, change road and visit Zamakshir (Izmukshir) fortress, continue to and visit Ismamut Ata pilgrimage. Return in Dashoguz. Check in htl. O/N
Day 13 Dashoguz- Kunya Urgench- Dashoguz, total 250 km
Start drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench historical site (“Kunya Urgench” contains the survived monuments: mausoleums of Il Arslan 12th century, Sultan Tekesh 12th century, Turebeck Khanym 14th century, Najm addin Cubra 14th and Sultan Ali 16th century, minaret of Kutluk Timur 14th century (probably started in 11th ) 62 meters high, the tallest old brick construction in central Asia. The capital of Khwarezm had the most power in 11th – 13th centuries, have been overcoming in population and fame other Silk Road cities of central Asia. In 1221 it was razed by Genghis Khan, on its way in central Asia. After the revival in 14th century, the city was left forever due to Amudarya river course change and new destruction this time by Timur in 1370, later the new town of Urgench was built in present day Uzbekistan. Since 2005, it becomes a world heritage site protected by UNESCO.
P.M Continue drive and visit: Ashyk Aydyn Pir, Gyaur Kala fortress remains. Return drive to Dashoguz. Arrive and check in ht. O/N *order of visits on Day 13-14 can be changed
Day 14 Dashoguz- border Dashoguz , 10 km
After breakfast, drive to the border crossing Dashoguz. Formalities. End of program
Group of 2 persons 1673 USD per person
Letter of invitation, registration
A/C car service (TOYOTA, NISSAN, BMW or equal).
Local flights tickets Ashgabat- Turkmenbashy, Mary- Ashgabat
Hotel lodging in DBL/Twin share room, at htls or camping pls. look bellow
Pls. kindly note that visa consular fee (cost depends on place to obtain), tax at border (14 USD p/p, paid once), entrance fees, meals B-(except where it is served at htls) L D, guide service, excess luggage, photo/video fees, gratuities, personal items, any other services missing above – NOT included into quotes. Thank you.