Transit & Short Trips

 

2 Days Trips

Short Transit: Ashgabat- Darvaza- Khorezm, option 1

Short Trip: Ashgabat – Darvaza - Ashgabat, option 2

Short Trip: Bukhara – Merv – Bukhara, option 3

Short Trip: Khorezm – Darvaza - Khorezm, option 4

 

3 Days Trips

Short Tour: Khorezm – Ashgabat - Merv – Bukhara direction, option 1

Transit: Khorezm – Darvaza- Ashgabat – Iran direction, option 2

Transit direction from Iran – Ashgabat-Darvaza - Khorezm, option 3

Transit Bukhara – Merv/Sarahs – Iran, option 4

Transit Khorezm – Merv – Iran direction, option 6

Short Tour Bukhara – Merv, Margiana – Bukhara, option 7

 

4 Days Trips

Tour Khorezm – Darvaza/Ashgabat/Merv – Bukhara, option 1

Tour Bukhara direction – Merv/Ashgabat/Darvaza – Khorezm, option 2

Transit: Bukhara direction – Merv/Ashgabat/Darvaza – Iran, option 3

Tour Khorezm – Ashgabat/Merv – Bukhara direction, option 4 (classical with Uzbekistan)

Tour Bukhara direction – Merv/Ashgabat – Khorezm, option 5 (classical with Uzbekistan)

 

5 Days Trips

Tour Khorezm – Darvaza/Ashgabat/Margiana – Bukhara direction, option 1

Tour Bukhara direction – Margiana/ Ashgabat/Darvaza – Khorezm, option 2

Transit tour: Bukhara – Margiana/Ashgabat/ Darvaza – Iran, option 3

Tour Khorezm – Ashgabat/Merv/Margiana – Bukhara direction, option 4 (without Darvaza)

Tour Bukhara direction – Merv/ Margiana / Ashgabat – Khorezm, option 5 (without Darvaza)

 

 

 

Short Transit Ashgabat – Darvaza - Khorezm / option 1 in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of the tour:

Day 1                    A.M Bajgiran/ Howdan border - Ashgabat, 45 km            *Arrive at Ashgabat airport is OK

                             P.M Ashgabat - Darvaza, 250 km              4WD cars or High Clearance Buses

Day 2                   Darvaza – Kunya Urgench - Dashoguz border, 410 km  / *Kunya Urgench border departure planning is OK, direction to Nukus

 

Detailed description of the program:

Day 1: Bajgiran/ Howdan border - Ashgabat, 45 km    
*Arrive at Ashgabat airport is OK

 

09h00-10h00 A.M meet at Bajgiran/ Howdan border. Drive to Ashgabat.

The border crossing is up in Kopet Dag mountain. The road partly cross the Kopetdag State Reserve.

 

*The border is convenient for crossing; there is only inner court and around 50 m between Iranian& Turkmen customs.

 

Short sightseeing in Ashgabat. Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Visit the Independence Park.

 

P.M Ashgabat - Darvaza, 250 km              4WD cars or High Clearance Buses                        

13h00 -14h00 start drive into Karakum sands. Stop for photos and walk around at Erbent or Bakhordok village Visit the gas craters before Darvaza: One is full of water, another with mud at the bottom. Both are huge, where the gas can be seen bubbling outside.

Leave the road at Darvaza and follow the sand track to arrive at Fiery Gas Crater.

Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

Darvaza Gas Crateris located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. The underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes. The presence of other gas craters in the area prove that works had been on large-scale basis.

Fiery crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

 

Day 2: Darvaza – Kunya Urgench - Dashoguz border, 410 km

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration in 1330)

Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)

Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)

Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)

Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE

Ak-Kala fortress remains

Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (Dated to 14th century)

Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)

Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century

Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries

Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

Continue drive to Dashoguz border. Arrive. Border formalities. Continue trip in Uzbekistan, Khiva.


Quotes as per program:

Group

Price USD per pax

2

260

4

229

6

218

8

229

SGL room supplement

  1 USD per SGL tent

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program. A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required
  • Camping with breakfast             

 

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 2 lunches                                                 27  USD per person
  • FB Meals 2 lunches and 1 dinner                            41 USD per person
  • Only barbecue dinner in Darvaza                            14 USD per person

 

  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Turkmenistan Museum of History and Archeology; direct entrance tickets 10 USD p/ticket, 20 USD 20 USD p/ticket
  • Guides for excursions 20 USD per excursion
  • Kunya Urgench entrance ticket /direct price in USD: 6 USD/ photo 2 USD per ticket
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

 

 

Short Trip Ashgabat – Darvaza - Ashgabat / program in Turkmenistan
Option 2

Plan of the tour:

Day 1                    A.M Bajgiran/ Howdan border - Ashgabat, 45 km            *Arrive at Ashgabat airport is OK

                P.M Ashgabat - Darvaza, 250 km              4WD cars or High Clearance Buses

Day 2                   Darvaza – Ashgabat- airport, 250 km

 

 

Detailed description of the program:

Day 1: Bajgiran/ Howdan border - Ashgabat, 45 km     *Arrive at Ashgabat airport is OK

 

09h00-10h00 A.M meet at Bajgiran/ Howdan border. Drive to Ashgabat.

The border crossing is up in Kopet Dag mountain. The road partly cross the Kopetdag State Reserve.

 

*The border is convenient for crossing; there is only inner court and around 50 m between Iranian& Turkmen customs.

 

Short sightseeing in Ashgabat. Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Visit the Independence Park.

 

P.M Ashgabat - Darvaza, 250 km              4WD cars or High Clearance Buses                        

13h00 -14h00 start drive into Karakum sands. Stop for photos and walk around at Erbent or Bakhordok village Visit the gas craters before Darvaza: One is full of water, another with mud at the bottom. Both are huge, where the gas can be seen bubbling outside.

Leave the road at Darvaza and follow the sand track to arrive at Fiery Gas Crater.

Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

Darvaza Gas Crateris located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. The underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes. The presence of other gas craters in the area prove that works had been on large-scale basis.

Fiery crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 2: Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km
            Nisa fortress sightseeing           

A.M Drive back to Ashgabat.

Arrive and sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

 

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

 

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

 

 

Visit Turkmenbashy Spiritual Mosque. Arrive in Ashgabat. Free program.

Transfer to airport as per next destination flight time.

 

Quotes as per program

 

Group

Price USD per pax

2

240

4

208

6

207

8

215

 

 

SGL tent

  1 USD per SGL tent

 

 

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program. A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required
  • Camping with breakfast             

 

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:

 

  • HB Meals 2 lunches                                                 27  USD per person
  • FB Meals 2 lunches and 1 dinner                            41 USD per person
  • Only barbecue dinner in Darvaza                            14 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Turkmenistan Museum of History and Archeology; direct entrance tickets 10 USD p/ticket, 20 USD 20 USD p/ticket
  • Guides for excursions 20 USD per excursion
  • Kunya Urgench entrance ticket /direct price in USD: 6 USD/ photo 2 USD per ticket
  • Upgrade hotel, Deluxe hotel***** starting from SGL 110, DBL 130 USD
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel**** (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Budget hotel starts SGL 35, DBL 50 USD
  • Other services missing above

 

 

Bukhara – Merv – Bukhara / program in Turkmenistan

Option 3

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km    Merv’s sightseeing

Day 2     Mary- Farap border, 270 km

 

Detailed description of the program:

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km                   Merv’s sightseeing

09h30    meet at Farap border. Cross a small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

Arrive at Merv History Park. Sightseeing.

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kala is the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small town of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Mary – Farap border crossing / Return Uzbekistan, Bukhara

08h30 drive to Farap border crossing. Visit Orthodox Churches in Mary and in Bayram Ali. Return drive through Southern Karakum, re-cross Amou Darya river, enter Sundukli barchans. Arrive at the border. 14h00 cross the border. Continue to Uzbekistan

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

344

4

290

6

261

8

254

SGL room supplement

 20 USD per SGL room

 

The quotes include the services:

  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required
  • English, French, German speaking guide for excursions (service is optional/ it is ok to remove upon request)
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 6 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

 

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

1/ Mary

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:

  • HB Meals  2 lunches                                 26 USD per person
  • FB Meals  2 lunches and  1 dinner           40 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Lower budget hotel change/ upon request
  • Other services missing above

 

 

 

Khorezm – Darvaza - Khorezm direction / program in Turkmenistan

Option 4

*Both borders Dashoguz or Kunya Urgench can be easily planned for arrival or departure of a group.

 

Plan of the tour:

Day 1     Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Darvaza, 410 km/ 4WD or High Clearance Transport

Day 2     Darvaza- Dashoguz border, 310 km 

 

Detailed Description of the Program:

Day 1: Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Darvaza, 410 km

09h30 A.M Meet at Dashoguz border. Passport & Customs formalities. Start tour in Turkmenistan.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration in 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (Dated to 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

 

P.M start drive into Karakum desert. Follow the main road to arrive at Darvaza. Leave the road and arrive at Fiery Gas Crater. Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

Darvaza Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. The underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes. The presence of other gas craters in the area prove that works had been on large-scale basis.

Fiery crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic and supported by Kensington Tours Travel Company. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 2: Darvaza- Dashoguz border, 310 km

Drive to Dashoguz border. Visit on the way: Shasenem fortress.

Arrive at the border. Passport and Customs formalities. Return to Uzbekistan.

 

Quotes as per program:

 

Group

Price USD per pax

2

220

4

195

6

199

8

199

SGL room supplement

  1 USD per SGL tent

 

 

The quotes include the services:

  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program. A/C overland 4x4 transportation
  • Camping with breakfast             

 

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:

  • HB Meals 2 lunches                                                 27  USD per person
  • FB Meals 2 lunches and 1 dinner                            41 USD per person
  • Only barbecue dinner in Darvaza                            14 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Guides for excursions 20 USD per excursion
  • Kunya Urgench entrance ticket /direct price in USD: 6 USD/ photo 2 USD per ticket
  • Extra night/s at Dashoguz hotel**** (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

 

3 Days Trips Section

 

Khorezm – Ashgabat - Merv – Bukhara direction / program in Turkmenistan

Option 1

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz, 105 km + 95 km             FLY Ashgabat

*Border for arrival: Dashoguz or Kunya Urgench land borders can be easily planned for arrival of a group

Day 2     Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing                                        FLY to Mary

Day 3     Mary – Farap border crossing, 270 km                  Merv sightseeing

 

Detailed Description of the program:

Day 1: Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz, 105 km + 95 km
FLY Ashgabat

09h30 A.M meet at Dashoguz border. Passport & Customs formalities. Start tour in Turkmenistan.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, of the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (construction date 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

 

P.M Return drive to Dashoguz.

Fly to Ashgabat. Meet at airport. Check in hotel. Overnight

 

 

Day 2: Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing                       FLY to Mary

09h00 start sightseeing. Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

 

Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (From Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Tour in Ashgabat. Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area. Visit the Independence Park.

Fly to Mary. Meet at airport. Check in hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Mary – Farap border crossing, 270 km                  Merv sightseeing

07h00 drive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing.

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

 

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

 

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

 

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

 

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

 

10h00 drive to Farap border. Cross the Eastern Karakum Sands, Amou Darya River, a small part of Sundukli barchans. Stop for photos along the route. 14h00 Arrive at border. Passport & Customs Formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan. / Direction to Bukhara, 100 km

 

 

Quotes as per program

 

Group

Price USD per pax

2

606

4

516

6

497

8

485

SGL room supplement

   40 USD per SGL room

 

 

The quotes include the services:

  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), all airport transfers
  • Flight tickets Dashoguz – Ashgabat - Mary
  • English, French, German speaking local guides for excursions (service is optional/can be removed upon request)
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 24 USD per person)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

 

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

1/ Mary

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:

 

  • HB Meals 3 lunches                                                  41 USD per person
  • FB Meals 3 lunches and 2 dinners                           70 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Turkmenistan museum of history and archeology: Direct Entrance Tickets 10 USD per ticket or Guided Visit Ticket 20 USD per ticket
  • Other services missing above

 

 

 

Khorezm – Darvaza- Ashgabat – Iran direction / program in Turkmenistan

Option 2

*Border for arrival: Dashoguz or Kunya Urgench borders can be easily planned for arrival of a group

 

Plan of the tour:

Day 1     Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Darvaza, 410 km/ 4WD or High Clearance Transport

Day 2     Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km                                        Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 3                    Ashgabat – Howdan/ Bajgiran border, 45 km     / or via Ashgabat airport

 

Detailed Description of the Program:

Day 1: Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Darvaza, 410 km

09h30 A.M Meet at Dashoguz border. Passport & Customs formalities. Start tour in Turkmenistan.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration in 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (Dated to 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

 

P.M start drive into Karakum desert. Follow the main road to arrive at Darvaza. Leave the road and arrive at Fiery Gas Crater. Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

 

Darvaza Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. The underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes. The presence of other gas craters in the area prove that works had been on large-scale basis.

Fiery crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic and supported by Kensington Tours Travel Company. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 2: Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km    Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h30 return on the main road. Visit the gas craters in the area: One is full of water, another with mud at the bottom. Both are huge, where the gas can be seen bubbling outside. Continue drive in the Southern Karakum. Stop for photos and walk around at Erbent or Bakhordok village.

Tolkuchka bazar visit is available on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – 10 km before Ashgabat. A visit can be arranged as per interest of a group.

13h00-14h00 Arrive in Ashgabat. Check in hotel. Time at leisure.

 

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

 

Visit the Spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashy.

18h00 Start night tour in Ashgabat. Have a dinner.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Visit the Independence Park. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Ashgabat – Howdan/ Bajgiran border, 45km
            *Departure via Ashgabat airport is OK

 

09h00 drive to Howdan- Bajgiran border. The border crossing is up in Kopet Dag mountain. The road cross the Kopetdag State Reserve.

Arrive. Passport and customs formalities. Continue to Iran.

*The border is convenient for crossing; there is only inner court and around 50 m between Turkmen & Iranian customs.

 

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

428

4

351

6

342

8

341

SGL room supplement

  20 USD per SGL room

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program. A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program (service is optional/ ok to remove upon request)
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 18 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 2 lunches                                                   29  USD per person
  • FB Meals 2 lunches and 2 dinners                            57 USD per person
  • Only barbecue dinner in Darvaza                             14 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Turkmenistan Museum of History and Archeology; direct entrance tickets 10 USD p/ticket, 20 USD 20 USD p/ticket
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

 

Transit from Iran – Ashgabat-Darvaza - Khorezm / option 3 in Turkmenistan

Plan of the tour:

Day 1                    Bajgiran/ Howdan border - Ashgabat, 45 km      *Arrive at Ashgabat airport is OK
                             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing.

Day 2                    Ashgabat - Darvaza, 250 km       4WD cars or High Clearance Buses

Day 3                    Darvaza – Kunya Urgench - Dashoguz border, 410 km

 

Detailed description of the program:

Day 1: Bajgiran/ Howdan border - Ashgabat, 45 km     *Arrive at Ashgabat airport is OK       

            Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing.

A.M meet at Bajgiran/ Howdan border. Drive to Ashgabat.

The border crossing is up in Kopet Dag mountain. The road cross the Kopetdag State Reserve.

Arrive at hotel. 13h00 check in hotel.

 

*The border is convenient for crossing; there is only inner court and around 50 m between Iranian& Turkmen customs.

 

P.M Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

 

Visit the Spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashy.

18h00 Start night tour in Ashgabat. Have a dinner.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Visit the Independence Park. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 2: Ashgabat - Darvaza, 250 km       4WD cars or High Clearance Buses                        

A.M free program in Ashgabat

12h00 – 13h00 Check out hotel.

13h00 start drive into Karakum sands. Stop for photos and walk around at Erbent or Bakhordok village Visit the gas craters before Darvaza: One is full of water, another with mud at the bottom. Both are huge, where the gas can be seen bubbling outside.

Leave the road at Darvaza and follow the sand track to arrive at Fiery Gas Crater.

Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

 

Darvaza Gas Crateris located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. The underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes. The presence of other gas craters in the area prove that works had been on large-scale basis.

Fiery crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 3: Darvaza – Kunya Urgench - Dashoguz border, 410 km

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration in 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (Dated to 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

Continue drive to Dashoguz border. Arrive. Border formalities. Continue trip in Uzbekistan, Khiva.

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

428

4

351

6

342

8

341

SGL room supplement

  20 USD per SGL room

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program. A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program (service is optional/ ok to remove upon request)
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 18 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 2 lunches                                                 29  USD per person
  • FB Meals 2 lunches and 2 dinners                           57 USD per person
  • Only barbecue dinner in Darvaza                            14 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Turkmenistan Museum of History and Archeology; direct entrance tickets 10 USD p/ticket, 20 USD 20 USD p/ticket
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

 

Transit Bukhara – Merv/Sarahs – Iran / option 4 in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km    Merv’s sightseeing

Day 2     Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 70 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

Day 3     Mary- Sarahs border, 230 km                   

 

 

Option 5/ As the reverse order of the same program. Have the same quotes. OK to plan this way

Day 1     Border Sarahs – Mary, 230 km. Merv’s sightseeing

Day 2     Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 70 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

Day 3     Mary – Farap border crossing, 270 km  

 

 

 

 

Detailed description of the program:

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km           Merv’s sightseeing

09h30    meet at Farap border. Cross a small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

 

Arrive at Merv History Park. Sightseeing.

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small town of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km       4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

 

4X4 WD Day Trip to Margiana country in Karakum desert.

Margiana is the part of the Oxus civilization flourishing between 2400- 1600 BCE. Located in the alluvial fan of the Murghab river of the ancient Margiana oasis, Karakum desert. By 2000 BCE, Margiana had culture using irrigation agriculture and constructing large fortified building complexes. One of the main Margiana’s center was Gonur Depe. Greek-Russian archeologist V. Sarianidi discovered Gonur Depe in 1950. In 1970, he started the excavation works there. It became the largest known of all settlements in the former delta of Murghab river delta, around 60 km from present day Mary town, in Karakum desert. It is known as the capital of Margush country (Persian name). The center of culture of the oases in the Pre-Zoroastrian period. The excavations revealed the area of Gonur around 55 hectares, dated 2400-1600 BCE

The site consists of three main distinct areas:

Gonur North – a main fortified complex, around 330 X 460 meter, with Monumental Palace, Temple of Fire, Temple of Water, Temple of Sacrificing and ritual areas. Next is an area known as Royal Necropolis and two major and several smaller water reservoirs, dated between 2400-1900 BCE.

Gonur South – a smaller, almost square complex 130 X 120 m, fortified with two series of massive concentric walls with round towers along its perimeter, 1900-1600 BCE.

A large necropolis, with more than three thousand graves of different type and dating, encompasses an area of around 10 hectares, some 200 m west of Gonur North.

The excavations revealed the facts of an evident connection of Margiana with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia Civilizations. The artifacts prove the interconnection of people, cultures, ancient technologies and craftsmanship. The art objects and its iconography witness the migration of goods, materials, ideas and beliefs. In the same time, it testifies the creation of the local culture, style and technics.

 

Barbecue lunch in Gonur Depe.

 

On the way back, continue with sightseeing of Goebekly fortress, Childburdj fortress, Nestorian Church remains, Signal Towers remains. Arrive in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 3: Mary – Sarahs border crossing / Iran, Mashhad direction

09h00 drive to Sarahs border crossing. The main road goes through Mary and Ahal provinces.

Arrive at the border. 12h00 cross the border. Continue to Iran

 

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

482

4

400

6

371

8

363

SGL room supplement

 40 USD per SGL room

 

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program (service is optional/ it is ok to remove upon request)
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 12 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

 

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

2/ Mary

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals  2 lunches                                 28 USD per person
  • FB Meals  2 lunches and  2 dinners         55 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Lower budget hotel change/ upon request
  • Other services missing above

 

 

 

Transit: Khorezm – Merv – Iran direction / option 6 in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz, 105 km

Day 2     Dashoguz- Mary              FLY to Mary                       Merv’s sightseeing

Day 3     Mary- Sarahs border crossing, 230 km

 

 

Detailed Description of the program:

Day 1: Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz, 105 km + 95 km

09h30 A.M meet at Dashoguz border. Passport & Customs formalities. Start tour in Turkmenistan.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, of the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (construction date 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

 

P.M Return drive to Dashoguz. Check in hotel. Overnight

 

 

Day 2:Dashoguz- Mary      FLY to Mary      Merv’s sightseeing

! FLIGHT available only THU or SUN

Fly to Mary. Meet at airport.

Dive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing.

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

 

Drive to Mary, 30 km. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight

 

Day 3: Mary- Sarahs border crossing, 230 km

09h00 drive to Sarahs border crossing. The road comes out of Mary and enter into Ahal province.

12h00 Arrive. Cross the border into Iran.

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

442

4

367

6

346

8

352

SGL room supplement

    40 USD per SGL room

 

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), all airport transfers
  • Flight tickets Dashoguz – Mary
  • English, French, German speaking local guides for excursions (service is optional/can be removed upon request)
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 12 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

 

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

1/ Mary

Dashoguz****

1/ Dashoguz

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 2 lunches                                                  27 USD per person
  • FB Meals 2 lunches and 2 dinners                           54 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Lower budget hotel change/ upon request
  • Other services missing above

 

 

Short Tour: Bukhara – Merv, Margiana – Bukhara / option 7 in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km    Merv’s sightseeing

Day 2     Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 70 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

Day 3     Mary- Farap border, 270 km                     

 

 

Detailed description of the program:

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km      Merv’s sightseeing

09h30    meet at Farap border. Cross a small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

 

Arrive at Merv History Park. Sightseeing.

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small town of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

 

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Sightseeing to Margiana country in Karakum desert.

Margiana is the part of the Oxus civilization flourishing between 2400- 1600 BCE. Located in the alluvial fan of the Murghab river of the ancient Margiana oasis, Karakum desert. By 2000 BCE, Margiana had culture using irrigation agriculture and constructing large fortified building complexes. One of the main Margiana’s center was Gonur Depe. Greek-Russian archeologist V. Sarianidi discovered Gonur Depe in 1950. In 1970, he started the excavation works there. It became the largest known of all settlements in the former delta of Murghab river delta, around 60 km from present day Mary town, in Karakum desert. It is known as the capital of Margush country (Persian name). The center of culture of the oases in the Pre-Zoroastrian period. The excavations revealed the area of Gonur around 55 hectares, dated 2400-1600 BCE

The site consists of three main distinct areas:

Gonur North – a main fortified complex, around 330 X 460 meter, with Monumental Palace, Temple of Fire, Temple of Water, Temple of Sacrificing and ritual areas. Next is an area known as Royal Necropolis and two major and several smaller water reservoirs, dated between 2400-1900 BCE.

Gonur South – a smaller, almost square complex 130 X 120 m, fortified with two series of massive concentric walls with round towers along its perimeter, 1900-1600 BCE.

A large necropolis, with more than three thousand graves of different type and dating, encompasses an area of around 10 hectares, some 200 m west of Gonur North.

The excavations revealed the facts of an evident connection of Margiana with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia Civilizations. The artifacts prove the interconnection of people, cultures, ancient technologies and craftsmanship. The art objects and its iconography witness the migration of goods, materials, ideas and beliefs. In the same time, it testifies the creation of the local culture, style and technics.

 

Barbecue lunch in Gonur Depe.

 

On the way back, continue with sightseeing of Goebekly fortress, Childburdj fortress, Nestorian Church remains, Signal Towers remains. Arrive in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 3: Mary – Farap border crossing / Return Uzbekistan, Bukhara

09h00 drive to Farap border crossing. Return drive through Southern Karakum, re-cross Amou Darya river, enter Sundukli barchans. Arrive at the border. 14h00 cross the border. Continue to Uzbekistan

 

 

Quotes as per program 

Group

Price USD per pax

2

482

4

400

6

371

8

363

SGL room supplement

 40 USD per SGL room

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program (service is optional/ it is ok to remove upon request)
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 12 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

2/ Mary

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals  2 lunches                                      28 USD per person
  • FB Meals  2 lunches and  2 dinners         55 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Lower budget hotel change/ upon request
  • Other services missing above

 

 

4 Day Tours Section

 

Khorezm – Darvaza/Ashgabat/Merv – Bukhara / option 1 in Turkmenistan

 

*Border for arrival: Dashoguz or Kunya Urgench borders can be easily planned for arrival of a group

 

Plan of the tour:

Day 1     Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Darvaza, 410 km

Day 2     Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km        Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 3     Ashgabat – Mary, FLY                   Gonur Depe & Merv sightseeing, around 200 km total

Day 4     Mary- Farap border crossing, 270 km                    Direction to Bukhara, 100 km

 

*program notes: This program is full of visits for 4 days stay and offer the maximum activity for available time. Travelers who would like to make it easier and in slower way, are welcome to remove the activities not interested for it. Thus, low the transport costs accordingly. Here, we are flexible for changes or update.

 

Detailed Description of the Program:

Day 1: Kunya Urgench – Darvaza, 410 km

09h30 A.M Meet at Dashoguz border. Passport & Customs formalities. Start tour in Turkmenistan.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration in 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (Dated to 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

 

P.M start drive into Karakum desert. Follow the main road to arrive at Darvaza. Leave the road and arrive at Fiery Gas Crater. Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

 

Darvaza Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. The underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes. The presence of other gas craters in the area prove that works had been on large-scale basis.

Fiery crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic and supported by Kensington Tours Travel Company. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 2: Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km     Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h30 return on the main road. Visit the gas craters in the area: One is full of water, another with mud at the bottom. Both are huge, where the gas can be seen bubbling outside. Continue drive in the Southern Karakum. Stop for photos and walk around at Erbent or Bakhordok village.

Tolkuchka bazar visit is available on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – 10 km before Ashgabat. A visit can be arranged as per interest of a group.

13h00 Arrive in Ashgabat.

 

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Visit the Spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashy.

 

Arrive at hotel. Check in. Have a rest.

 

18h00 Start night tour in Ashgabat. Have a dinner.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Visit the Independence Park. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Ashgabat – Mary, FLY         Gonur Depe & Merv sightseeing, around 200 km total

06h00 A.M fly to Mary. Meet at airport. Start trip in Mary region.

 

Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

4X4 WD Day Trip to Margiana country in Karakum desert.

Margiana is the part of the Oxus civilization flourishing between 2400- 1600 BCE. Located in the alluvial fan of the Murghab river of the ancient Margiana oasis, Karakum desert. By 2000 BCE, Margiana had culture using irrigation agriculture and constructing large fortified building complexes. One of the main Margiana’s center was Gonur Depe. Greek-Russian archeologist V. Sarianidi discovered Gonur Depe in 1950. In 1970, he started the excavation works there. It became the largest known of all settlements in the former delta of Murghab river delta, around 60 km from present day Mary town, in Karakum desert. It is known as the capital of Margush country (Persian name). The center of culture of the oases in the Pre-Zoroastrian period. The excavations revealed the area of Gonur around 55 hectares, dated 2400-1600 BCE

The site consists of three main distinct areas:

Gonur North – a main fortified complex, around 330 X 460 meter, with Monumental Palace, Temple of Fire, Temple of Water, Temple of Sacrificing and ritual areas. Next is an area known as Royal Necropolis and two major and several smaller water reservoirs, dated between 2400-1900 BCE.

Gonur South – a smaller, almost square complex 130 X 120 m, fortified with two series of massive concentric walls, the round towers along its perimeter, 1900-1600 BCE.

A large necropolis, with more than three thousand graves of different type and dating, encompasses an area of around 10 hectares, some 200 m west of Gonur North.

The excavations revealed the facts of an evident connection of Margiana with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia Civilizations. The artifacts prove the interconnection of people, cultures, ancient technologies and craftsmanship. The art objects and its iconography witness the migration of goods, materials, ideas and beliefs. In the same time, it testifies the creation of the local culture, style and technics.

 

Return in Mary. Check in hotel. Have a rest.

 

Drive to Merv History Park, 30 km. Sightseeing

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic times. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains of Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

In 18th century starts the history of next town, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

 

Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 4: Mary- Farap border crossing, 270 km       Direction to Bukhara, 100 km

09h00    Start drive to Farap border. Cross the Eastern Karakum Sands, Amou Darya River, a small part of Sundukli barchans. Stop for photos along the route. 14h00 Arrive at border. Passport & Customs Formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

708

4

577

6

552

8

528

SGL room supplement

 45 USD per SGL room

 

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • Flight tickets Ashgabat - Mary
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 30 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

1/ Mary

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 4 lunches                                                  54 USD per person
  • FB Meals 4 lunches and 3 dinners                           98 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Turkmenistan History Museum in Ashgabat, direct entrance tickets 10 USD per ticket/ guided visit 20 USD per ticket
  • Other services missing above

 

 

Bukhara direction – Merv/Ashgabat/Darvaza – Khorezm / option 2 in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of the trip

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km

Day 2     Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km                             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 3     Ashgabat – Darvaza, 250 km                      Darvaza Gas Crater Camp

              4X4 WD or High Clearance Buses

Day 4     Dashoguz gas crater – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz border, 410 km

 

Detailed description of the program:

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km                  

09h30    meet at Farap border. Cross a small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

 

Arrive at Merv History Park. Sightseeing.

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small town of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

 

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km              Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h00 drive to Ashgabat. Sightseeing on the way: Abiverd Silk Road Town remains, Anau Fortress.

Arrive in Ashgabat.

Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Check in hotel. Have a rest.

 

Start night tour in Ashgabat.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Drive through Independence Park to see it in lights. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Ashgabat – Darvaza, 250 km                      Darvaza Gas Crater Wild Camp

           4X4 WD or High Clearance Buses

A.M free program in the morning

13h00 Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Start drive into Karakum sands. Stop for photos and walk around at Bokhordok or Erbent villages. Visit Gas Craters before Darvaza. Two huge gas craters, one is full of water, another with mud at the bottom. Gas can be seen bubbling from the bottom outside up.

Leave the road and arrive at Fiery Gas Crater. Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

Darvaza Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. Underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes.

The crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic and supported by Kensington Tours Travel Company. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 4: Dashoguz gas crater – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz border, 410 km

Continue drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (construction date 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

Continue drive to Dashoguz border crossing. 14h00 Arrive and start passport& customs formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan. Continue in Uzbekistan

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

649

4

510

6

497

8

488

SGL room supplement

  45 USD per SGL room

 

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 44 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

1/ Mary

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 4 lunches                                                  54 USD per person
  • FB Meals 4 lunches and 3 dinners                           98 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Bank wire transfer commissions
  • Other services missing above

 

 

 

Option 3, Bukhara direction – Merv/Ashgabat/Darvaza – Iran

* reverse order of the program is ok and has the same quotes

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km   

Day 2     Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km                             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 3     Ashgabat – Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km4X4 WD or High Buses

Day 4     Ashgabat – Gaudan/ Bajgiran border, 45 km

 

Detailed Description of the Program

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km

09h30 meet at Farap border. Cross a small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

Drive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing

 

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km            Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h00 drive to Ashgabat. Sightseeing on the way: Abiverd Silk Road Town remains, Anau Fortress.

Arrive in Ashgabat.

Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Check in hotel. Have a rest.

Start night tour in Ashgabat.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Drive through Independence Park to see it in lights. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Ashgabat – Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km 4X4 WD or High Clearance Buses

A.M free program in the morning

13h00 Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Start drive into Karakum sands. Stop for photos and walk around at Bokhordok or Erbent villages. Visit Gas Craters before Darvaza.

Leave the road and arrive at Fiery Gas Crater. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner.

Return drive to Ashgabat. Arrive after 11h00 P.M. Overnight at hotel

 

Darvaza Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. Underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes.

The crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic and supported by Kensington Tours Travel Company. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

 

Day 4: Ashgabat – Gaudan/ Bajgiran border, 45 km

09h00 Drive to Gaudan / Bajgiran border. 10h00 Cross the border to Iran. End of Turkmenistan tour

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

638

4

527

6

485

8

471

SGL room supplement

  60 USD per SGL room


The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 35 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

1/ Mary

AkAltyn****

2/ Ashgabat

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 3 lunches                                                  42 USD per person
  • FB Meals 3 lunches and 3 dinners                           83 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

Option 4, Khorezm – Ashgabat/Merv – Bukhara direction / classical with Uzbekistan

*without Darvaza

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz, 105 km + 95 km

*Border for arrival: Dashoguz or Kunya Urgench land borders can be easily planned for arrival of a group

*as an option: Flight Dashoguz – Ashgabat can be also the same Day 1

Day 2     Dashoguz- Ashgabat, FLY                            Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 3     Ashgabat – Mary, 350 km                           Merv sightseeing 30 km +30 km

Day 4     Mary- Farap border crossing, 270 km     End of tour in Turkmenistan

 

 

Detailed Description of the program:

Day 1: Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz, 105 km + 95 km

09h30 A.M meet at Dashoguz border. Passport & Customs formalities. Start tour in Turkmenistan.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, of the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (construction date 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

 

P.M Return drive to Dashoguz. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight

 

Day 2: Dashoguz- Ashgabat, FLY            Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h40 A.M Fly to Ashgabat. Arrive and meet at airport.

Start sightseeing. Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (From Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Check in hotel. Have a rest.

18h00 Start night tour in Ashgabat. Have a dinner.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Drive through Independence Park to see it in lights. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Ashgabat – Mary, 350 km         Merv sightseeing 30 km +30 km

09h00 start drive to Mary. Cross the Ahal agricultural region. Stop at ruins of Abiverd Silk Road Town. Sightseeing, take pictures. Drive into Mary region. Stop at Hanhowuz chaykhana. Have a cup of tea and taste local fish dish. Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Have a rest.

16h00    Drive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 4: Mary- Farap border crossing, 270 km;      /Direction to Bukhara, 100 km

09h00    Start drive to Farap border. Cross the Eastern Karakum Sands, Amou Darya River, a small part of Sundukli barchans. Stop for photos along the route. 14h00 Arrive at border. Passport & Customs Formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

698

4

571

6

547

8

537

SGL room supplement

  60 USD per SGL room

 

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • Flight tickets Dashoguz - Ashgabat
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 35 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

1/ Mary

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

Dashoguz****

1/ Dashoguz

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 4 lunches                                                  54 USD per person
  • FB Meals 4 lunches and 3 dinners                           98 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Update hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

Option 5, Bukhara direction – Merv/Ashgabat – Khorezm / without Darvaza

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km    Merv’s Sightseeing

Day 2     Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km                             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 3     Ashgabat

Day 4     Ashgabat – Dashoguz, FLY          Dashoguz - Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz border, 200 km

                *Leave via Kunya Urgench border is easy to plan (Khojeili Uzbek side, direction Nukus)

 

Detailed Description of the program:

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km      Merv’s Sightseeing

09h30    meet at Farap border. Cross small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

Drive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing.

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km            Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h00 drive to Ashgabat. Sightseeing on the way: Abiverd Silk Road Town remains, Anau Fortress.

Arrive in Ashgabat.

Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Check in hotel. Time at leisure.

Start night tour in Ashgabat.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Drive through Independence Park to see it in lights. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Ashgabat

09h30 Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Visit The Spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashy.

Stop at Serdar Yoly (Health Path). Visit Russian bazar, Monument of Lenin.

Return to hotel. Free program. Overnight.

 

*On Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – Tolkuchka bazar is available for a visit

 

Day 4: Ashgabat – Dashoguz, FLY         

           Dashoguz - Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz border, 200 km

06h00 Fly to Dashoguz.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (construction date 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

 

Return drive to Dashoguz border crossing. 14h00 Arrive and start passport& customs formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan. Continue in Uzbekistan

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

698

4

571

6

547

8

537

SGL room supplement

 60 USD per SGL room

 

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • Flight tickets Ashgabat- Dashoguz
  • German (English, French) speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 35 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

1/ Mary

AkAltyn****

2/ Ashgabat

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 4 lunches                                                  54 USD per person
  • FB Meals 4 lunches and 3 dinners                           98 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Update hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Bank wire transfer commissions
  • Other services missing above

 

 

5 Days Trip Section

 

Option 1, Khorezm – Darvaza/Ashgabat/Margiana – Bukhara/ in Turkmenistan

 

*Border for arrival: Dashoguz or Kunya Urgench borders can be easily planned for arrival of a group

 

Plan of the tour:

Day 1     Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Darvaza, 4X4 WD or High Clearance Small Buses 410 km

Day 2     Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km                        Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 3     Ashgabat – Mary, 350 km                           Merv sightseeing 30 km +30 km

Day 4     Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

Day 5     Mary- Farap border crossing, 270 km     End of tour in Turkmenistan

 

 

Detailed Description of the Program:

Day 1: Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Darvaza, 410 km

09h30 A.M Meet at Dashoguz border. Passport & Customs formalities. Start tour in Turkmenistan.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

 

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration in 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (Dated to 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

 

P.M start drive into Karakum desert. Follow the main road to arrive at Darvaza. Leave the road and arrive at Fiery Gas Crater. Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

 

Darvaza Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. The underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes. The presence of other gas craters in the area prove that works had been on large-scale basis.

Fiery crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic and supported by Kensington Tours Travel Company. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 2: Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km          Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

 

08h30 return on the main road. Visit the gas craters in the area: One is full of water, another with mud at the bottom. Both are huge, where the gas can be seen bubbling outside. Continue drive in the Southern Karakum. Stop for photos and walk around at Erbent or Bakhordok village.

Tolkuchka bazar visit is available on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – 10 km before Ashgabat. A visit can be arranged as per interest of a group.

13h00-14h00 Arrive in Ashgabat. Check in hotel. Time at leisure.

14h30 Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Visit the Spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashy.

18h00 Start night tour in Ashgabat. Have a dinner.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Visit the Independence Park. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Ashgabat – Mary, 350 km            Merv sightseeing 30 km +30 km

 

09h00 Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Immediately, start drive to Mary. Cross the Ahal agricultural region. Stop at ruins of Abiverd Silk Road Town. Sightseeing, take pictures. Drive into Mary region. Stop at Hanhowuz chaykhana. Have a cup of tea and taste local fish dish. Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Have a rest.

16h00    Drive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic times. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains of Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

In 18th century starts the history of next town, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 4: Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km         4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

                             4X4 WD Day Trip to Margiana country in Karakum desert.

 

Margiana is the part of the Oxus civilization flourishing between 2400- 1600 BCE. Located in the alluvial fan of the Murghab river of the ancient Margiana oasis, Karakum desert. By 2000 BCE, Margiana had culture using irrigation agriculture and constructing large fortified building complexes. One of the main Margiana’s center was Gonur Depe. Greek-Russian archeologist V. Sarianidi discovered Gonur Depe in 1950. In 1970, he started the excavation works there. It became the largest known of all settlements in the former delta of Murghab river delta, around 60 km from present day Mary town, in Karakum desert. It is known as the capital of Margush country (Persian name). The center of culture of the oases in the Pre-Zoroastrian period. The excavations revealed the area of Gonur around 55 hectares, dated 2400-1600 BCE

The site consists of three main distinct areas:

Gonur North – a main fortified complex, around 330 X 460 meter, with Monumental Palace, Temple of Fire, Temple of Water, Temple of Sacrificing and ritual areas. Next is an area known as Royal Necropolis and two major and several smaller water reservoirs, dated between 2400-1900 BCE.

Gonur South – a smaller, almost square complex 130 X 120 m, fortified with two series of massive concentric walls, the round towers along its perimeter, 1900-1600 BCE.

A large necropolis, with more than three thousand graves of different type and dating, encompasses an area of around 10 hectares, some 200 m west of Gonur North.

The excavations revealed the facts of an evident connection of Margiana with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia Civilizations. The artifacts prove the interconnection of people, cultures, ancient technologies and craftsmanship. The art objects and its iconography witness the migration of goods, materials, ideas and beliefs. In the same time, it testifies the creation of the local culture, style and technics.

Barbecue lunch in Gonur Depe.

On the way back, continue with sightseeing of Goebekly fortress, Childburdj fortress, Nestorian Church remains, Signal Towers remains. Arrive in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 5: Mary- Farap border crossing, 270 km             Drive to Bukhara, 100 km

09h00    Start drive to Farap border. Cross the Eastern Karakum Sands, Amou Darya River, a small part of Sundukli barchans. Stop for photos along the route. 14h00 Arrive at border. Passport & Customs Formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan

 

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

769

4

625

6

583

8

567

SGL room supplement

 60 USD per SGL room

 

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 44 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast*Tour Leader in SGL room, start from 10+1

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

2/ Mary

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 5 lunches                                                        57 USD per person
  • FB Meals 5 lunches and 4 dinners                           126 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

Option 2, Bukhara direction – Margiana/ Darvaza – Khorezm / in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km

Day 2     Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

Day 3     Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km                             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 4     Ashgabat – Darvaza, 250 km                      Darvaza Gas Crater Wild Camp

             4X4 WD or High Clearance Buses

Day 5     Dashoguz gas crater – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz border, 410 km

 

 

Detailed description of the program:

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km

09h30    meet at Farap border. Cross a small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

Arrive at Merv History Park. Sightseeing.

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small town of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km             4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

          4X4 WD Day Trip to Margiana country in Karakum desert.

Margiana is the part of the Oxus civilization flourishing between 2400- 1600 BCE. Located in the alluvial fan of the Murghab river of the ancient Margiana oasis, Karakum desert. By 2000 BCE, Margiana had culture using irrigation agriculture and constructing large fortified building complexes. One of the main Margiana’s center was Gonur Depe. Greek-Russian archeologist V. Sarianidi discovered Gonur Depe in 1950. In 1970, he started the excavation works there. It became the largest known of all settlements in the former delta of Murghab river delta, around 60 km from present day Mary town, in Karakum desert. It is known as the capital of Margush country (Persian name). The center of culture of the oases in the Pre-Zoroastrian period. The excavations revealed the area of Gonur around 55 hectares, dated 2400-1600 BCE

The site consists of three main distinct areas:

Gonur North – a main fortified complex, around 330 X 460 meter, with Monumental Palace, Temple of Fire, Temple of Water, Temple of Sacrificing and ritual areas. Next is an area known as Royal Necropolis and two major and several smaller water reservoirs, dated between 2400-1900 BCE.

Gonur South – a smaller, almost square complex 130 X 120 m, fortified with two series of massive concentric walls with round towers along its perimeter, 1900-1600 BCE.

A large necropolis, with more than three thousand graves of different type and dating, encompasses an area of around 10 hectares, some 200 m west of Gonur North.

The excavations revealed the facts of an evident connection of Margiana with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia Civilizations. The artifacts prove the interconnection of people, cultures, ancient technologies and craftsmanship. The art objects and its iconography witness the migration of goods, materials, ideas and beliefs. In the same time, it testifies the creation of the local culture, style and technics.

Barbecue lunch in Gonur Depe.

On the way back, continue with sightseeing of Goebekly fortress, Childburdj fortress, Nestorian Church remains, Signal Towers remains. Arrive in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 3: Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h00 drive to Ashgabat. Sightseeing on the way: Abiverd Silk Road Town remains, Anau Fortress.

Arrive in Ashgabat.

Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Check in hotel. Have a rest.

Start night tour in Ashgabat.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Drive through Independence Park to see it in lights. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 4: Ashgabat – Darvaza, 250 km         Darvaza Gas Crater Wild Camp

           4X4 WD or High Clearance Buses

 

A.M free program in the morning

13h00 Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Start drive into Karakum sands. Stop for photos and walk around at Bokhordok or Erbent villages. Visit Gas Craters before Darvaza.

Leave the road and arrive at Fiery Gas Crater. Wild camping in the area. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner. Overnight in tent.

 

Darvaza Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. Underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes.

The crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic and supported by Kensington Tours Travel Company. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 5: Dashoguz gas crater – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz border, 410 km

Continue drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO town.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (construction date 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

Continue drive to Dashoguz border crossing. 14h00 Arrive and start passport& customs formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan. Continue in Uzbekistan

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

769

4

625

6

583

8

567

SGL room supplement

 60 USD per SGL room

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 44 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

2/ Mary

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

Wild Camp (tent, sleeping bag, mat, breakfast included)

1/ Darvaza


*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 5 lunches                                                  57 USD per person
  • FB Meals 5 lunches and 4 dinners                           126 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

5 days program, Option 3, Bukhara – Margiana/Ashgabat/ Darvaza – Iran / in Turkmenistan

                                               * reverse order of the program is ok and has the same quotes

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km   

Day 2     Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

Day 3     Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km                             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 4     Ashgabat – Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km4X4 WD or High Buses

Day 5     Ashgabat – Gaudan/ Bajgiran border, 45 km

 

Detailed Description of the Program

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km

09h30    meet at Farap border. Cross a small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

Drive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

           4X4 WD Day Trip to Margiana country in Karakum desert

Margiana is the part of the Oxus civilization flourishing between 2400- 1600 BCE. Located in the alluvial fan of the Murghab river of the ancient Margiana oasis, Karakum desert. By 2000 BCE, Margiana had culture using irrigation agriculture and constructing large fortified building complexes. One of the main Margiana’s center was Gonur Depe. Greek-Russian archeologist V. Sarianidi discovered Gonur Depe in 1950. In 1970, he started the excavation works there. It became the largest known of all settlements in the former delta of Murghab river delta, around 60 km from present day Mary town, in Karakum desert. It is known as the capital of Margush country (Persian name). The center of culture of the oases in the Pre-Zoroastrian period. The excavations revealed the area of Gonur around 55 hectares, dated 2400-1600 BCE

The site consists of three main distinct areas:

Gonur North – a main fortified complex, around 330 X 460 meter, with Monumental Palace, Temple of Fire, Temple of Water, Temple of Sacrificing and ritual areas. Next is an area known as Royal Necropolis and two major and several smaller water reservoirs, dated between 2400-1900 BCE.

Gonur South – a smaller, almost square complex 130 X 120 m, fortified with two series of massive concentric walls with round towers along its perimeter, 1900-1600 BCE.

A large necropolis, with more than three thousand graves of different type and dating, encompasses an area of around 10 hectares, some 200 m west of Gonur North.

The excavations revealed the facts of an evident connection of Margiana with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia Civilizations. The artifacts prove the interconnection of people, cultures, ancient technologies and craftsmanship. The art objects and its iconography witness the migration of goods, materials, ideas and beliefs. In the same time, it testifies the creation of the local culture, style and technics.

Barbecue lunch in Gonur Depe.

On the way back, continue with sightseeing of Goebekly fortress, Childburdj fortress, Nestorian Church remains, Signal Towers remains. Arrive in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 3: Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h00 drive to Ashgabat. Sightseeing on the way: Abiverd Silk Road Town remains, Anau Fortress.

Arrive in Ashgabat.

Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Check in hotel. Have a rest.

Start night tour in Ashgabat.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Drive through Independence Park to see it in lights. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 4: Ashgabat – Darvaza- Ashgabat, 250 km           4X4 WD or High Clearance Buses

A.M free program in the morning

13h00 Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Start drive into Karakum sands. Stop for photos and walk around at Bokhordok or Erbent villages. Visit Gas Craters before Darvaza.

Leave the road and arrive at Fiery Gas Crater. See the gas crater before sunset and at night. Barbecue dinner.

Return drive to Ashgabat. Arrive after 11h00 P.M. Overnight at hotel

 

Darvaza Gas Crater is located in the Central Karakum sands, almost on the Unguz line, near the small settlement of Darvaza. The manmade formation of the crater based on the natural conditions of gas rich Karakum sands. The common version is that in 1971, the drilling process mistake resulted in the landslide and opening of the door into a high-pressure natural gas pool. The noxious gases erupted outside. In order to minimize the bad effect on the environment, the scientists set fire inside of the pit to burn out the methane. Underestimated amount of fuel under the sands started the half-century illumination in the desert. The night flaming can be seen some kilometers around. It has surreal view of a coliseum of fire, of ever roaring huge hole leading downward. Another version that it happened earlier in the 1960s, the gas have been expanding freely outside before it was kindled in the 1980s. In general, the development of high quality sulfur deposits and gas pools started in the area since 1930s. There was even Darvaza local airport for small planes.

The crater is around 65-70 meters wide and 25-30 meters deep. The large crater allows accumulation of the natural gas, escaping from a large gas pool underneath, and then burn without being extinguished or rapidly diluted by wind. At the bottom, there are a great number of small flames, located around the circle and in the center. The intense heat of the flame hardly supported even on the surface near the edge. Sometimes, wind gusts speed it away into the night of the desert. In winter, the birds dare to warm them up soaring above the crater.

In November 2013, an expedition is organized by National geographic and supported by Kensington Tours Travel Company. George Kourounis ventured to the depth of the crater to explore it. He was lucky to take some soil samples where bacteria found in, living comfortably in those harsh temperatures and thus proving that life exists at the bottom of the crater.

 

Day 5: Ashgabat – Gaudan/ Bajgiran border, 45 km

09h00 Drive to Gaudan / Bajgiran border. 10h00 Cross the border to Iran. End of Turkmenistan tour

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

728

4

617

6

565

8

552

SGL room supplement

 80 USD per SGL room

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • English, French, German speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 44 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

2/ Mary

AkAltyn****

2/ Ashgabat

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 5 lunches                                                  57 USD per person
  • FB Meals 4 lunches and 4 dinners                           113 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

5 days, option 4, Khorezm – Ashgabat/Merv/Margiana – Bukhara / in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz, 105 km + 95 km

*Border for arrival: Dashoguz or Kunya Urgench land borders can be easily planned for arrival of a group

*as an option: Flight Dashoguz – Ashgabat can be also the same Day 1

Day 2     Dashoguz- Ashgabat, FLY                            Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 3     Ashgabat – Mary, 350 km                           Merv sightseeing 30 km +30 km

Day 4     Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

Day 5     Mary- Farap border crossing, 270 km     End of tour in Turkmenistan

 

 

Detailed Description of the program:

Day 1: Dashoguz border – Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz, 105 km + 95 km

09h30 A.M meet at Dashoguz border. Passport & Customs formalities. Start tour in Turkmenistan.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, of the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (construction date 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

P.M Return drive to Dashoguz. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight

 

Day 2: Dashoguz- Ashgabat, FLY      Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h40 A.M Fly to Ashgabat. Arrive and meet at airport.

Start sightseeing. Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (From Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Check in hotel. Have a rest.

18h00 Start night tour in Ashgabat. Have a dinner.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Drive through Independence Park to see it in lights. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 3: Ashgabat – Mary, 350 km                  Merv sightseeing 30 km +30 km

09h00 start drive to Mary. Cross the Ahal agricultural region. Stop at ruins of Abiverd Silk Road Town. Sightseeing, take pictures. Drive into Mary region. Stop at Hanhowuz chaykhana. Have a cup of tea and taste local fish dish. Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Have a rest.

16h00    Drive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 4: Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

4X4 WD Day Trip to Margiana country in Karakum desert.

Margiana is the part of the Oxus civilization flourishing between 2400- 1600 BCE. Located in the alluvial fan of the Murghab river of the ancient Margiana oasis, Karakum desert. By 2000 BCE, Margiana had culture using irrigation agriculture and constructing large fortified building complexes. One of the main Margiana’s center was Gonur Depe. Greek-Russian archeologist V. Sarianidi discovered Gonur Depe in 1950. In 1970, he started the excavation works there. It became the largest known of all settlements in the former delta of Murghab river delta, around 60 km from present day Mary town, in Karakum desert. It is known as the capital of Margush country (Persian name). The center of culture of the oases in the Pre-Zoroastrian period. The excavations revealed the area of Gonur around 55 hectares, dated 2400-1600 BCE

The site consists of three main distinct areas:

Gonur North – a main fortified complex, around 330 X 460 meter, with Monumental Palace, Temple of Fire, Temple of Water, Temple of Sacrificing and ritual areas. Next is an area known as Royal Necropolis and two major and several smaller water reservoirs, dated between 2400-1900 BCE.

Gonur South – a smaller, almost square complex 130 X 120 m, fortified with two series of massive concentric walls with round towers along its perimeter, 1900-1600 BCE.

A large necropolis, with more than three thousand graves of different type and dating, encompasses an area of around 10 hectares, some 200 m west of Gonur North.

The excavations revealed the facts of an evident connection of Margiana with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia Civilizations. The artifacts prove the interconnection of people, cultures, ancient technologies and craftsmanship. The art objects and its iconography witness the migration of goods, materials, ideas and beliefs. In the same time, it testifies the creation of the local culture, style and technics.

Barbecue lunch in Gonur Depe.

On the way back, continue with sightseeing of Goebekly fortress, Childburdj fortress, Nestorian Church remains, Signal Towers remains. Arrive in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 5: Mary- Farap border crossing, 270 km      /Direction to Bukhara, 100 km

09h00 start drive to Farap border. Cross the Eastern Karakum Sands, Amou Darya River, a small part of Sundukli barchans. Stop for photos along the route. 14h00 Arrive at border. Passport & Customs Formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

819

4

682

6

640

8

628

SGL room supplement

 80 USD per SGL room

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • Flight tickets Dashoguz - Ashgabat
  • German (English, French) speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 44 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

2/ Mary

AkAltyn****

1/ Ashgabat

Dashoguz****

1/ Dashoguz

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 5 lunches                                                  57 USD per person
  • FB Meals 5 lunches and 4 dinners                           126 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Upgrade hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above

 

 

5 days, option 5, Bukhara direction– Merv/ Margiana / Ashgabat – Khorezm /

     in Turkmenistan

 

Plan of tour:

Day 1     Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km    Merv’s Sightseeing

Day 2     Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km               4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

Day 3     Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km                             Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

Day 4     Ashgabat

Day 5     Ashgabat – Dashoguz, FLY          Dashoguz - Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz border, 200 km

                *Leave via Kunya Urgench border is easy to plan (Khojeili Uzbek side, direction Nukus)

 

Detailed Description of the program:

Day 1: Farap border crossing - Mary, 270 km                     Merv’s Sightseeing

09h30    meet at Farap border. Cross small part of Sundukli barchans, Amu Darya river, Eastern Karakum Sands. Stop for photos along the route.

Drive to Merv History Park. Sightseeing

Cities of Merv are the most abundant ruins of cities in Central Asia, dated from VI century BCE until XVIII century CE.

The citadel of Erk – kalais the first city of Merv, since the 6th century BCE. The foundation have coincided with arrival of Achaemenian Persians or possibly their predecessors, the Medes. It is very massive oval hill; with large mud -brick walls stand some 30 m high and an area of 20 hectares. From the end of the 4th century BCE, Merv is part of Alexander the Great Empire and citadel of Erk-kala become known as Alexandria in Margiana.

Gyaur-kala is the second city of Mervand Metropolis of Margiana oasis. It was founded by Antiochus (281-261 BCE) and was known as Antiochia in Margiana. Erk-kala became the citadel of the Hellenistic city. Gyaur-kala was occupied around a thousand years, through the Seleucid, Parthian, Sasanian periods and into Islamic period. There lived together Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian communities of the Nestorian Church. Merv also hosted a Jewish community, as has been shown by Jewish headstones. Found also the traces of Manichaeism at the necropolis outside of Gyaur-kala.

In the 8th century the suburbs of Gyaur-kala started to play important role in trade. During the Seljuk period, the suburbs finally transformed into new metropolis of Merv, known as Marv-ash-Shahijan (Royal Merv- Sultan-kala). The city was walled only in 11th century. Sultan Malik Shah is credited with building of the great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. Sultan Sanjar enlarged the city, with the north and the south extensions. It became some 630 hectares. This was the capital of Seljuk state and one of the most important cultural centers of the eastern Muslim world. The greatest Merv’s glory, only finished in 1221 by the arrival of the Mongols. The Seljuk sultans Toghril, Alp-Arslan, Malik Shah and Sultan Sanjar were buried there. It was home for a number of outstanding medieval scholars, including Omar Khayyam 11th century, Yakut al-Khamavi 13th century, who were attracted by Merv’s famous libraries and observatory.

In 1409, Timurid ruler Shah Rukh built a new city Abdullah Khan-kala, some 3 km to the south from the remains Sultan –kala. It was much smaller city than the earlier cities of Merv, occupying 1 square km. The reduced size of Timurid Merv show the decline of the oasis at this time, reflecting both its loss of status to centers such as Samarkand and Herat and the effects on overland trade of the increased maritime routes.

Finally, in 18th century starts the history of Bayram Ali, with the small city of Bayram Ali Khan- kala. The traces of its walls can be seen near the modern Bayram Ali town.

Arrive in Mary. Check in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 2: Mary- Margiana, 60 km + 60 km, 4X4 WD or High Clearance Minivans

           4X4 WD Day Trip to Margiana country in Karakum desert.

Margiana is the part of the Oxus civilization flourishing between 2400- 1600 BCE. Located in the alluvial fan of the Murghab river of the ancient Margiana oasis, Karakum desert. By 2000 BCE, Margiana had culture using irrigation agriculture and constructing large fortified building complexes. One of the main Margiana’s center was Gonur Depe. Greek-Russian archeologist V. Sarianidi discovered Gonur Depe in 1950. In 1970, he started the excavation works there. It became the largest known of all settlements in the former delta of Murghab river delta, around 60 km from present day Mary town, in Karakum desert. It is known as the capital of Margush country (Persian name). The center of culture of the oases in the Pre-Zoroastrian period. The excavations revealed the area of Gonur around 55 hectares, dated 2400-1600 BCE

The site consists of three main distinct areas:

Gonur North – a main fortified complex, around 330 X 460 meter, with Monumental Palace, Temple of Fire, Temple of Water, Temple of Sacrificing and ritual areas. Next is an area known as Royal Necropolis and two major and several smaller water reservoirs, dated between 2400-1900 BCE.

Gonur South – a smaller, almost square complex 130 X 120 m, fortified with two series of massive concentric walls with round towers along its perimeter, 1900-1600 BCE.

A large necropolis, with more than three thousand graves of different type and dating, encompasses an area of around 10 hectares, some 200 m west of Gonur North.

The excavations revealed the facts of an evident connection of Margiana with Indus Valley and Mesopotamia Civilizations. The artifacts prove the interconnection of people, cultures, ancient technologies and craftsmanship. The art objects and its iconography witness the migration of goods, materials, ideas and beliefs. In the same time, it testifies the creation of the local culture, style and technics.

Barbecue lunch in Gonur Depe.

On the way back, continue with sightseeing of Goebekly fortress, Childburdj fortress, Nestorian Church remains, Signal Towers remains. Arrive in hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight.

 

Day 3: Mary- Ashgabat, 350 km              Nisa, Ashgabat sightseeing

08h00 drive to Ashgabat. Sightseeing on the way: Abiverd Silk Road Town remains, Anau Fortress.

Arrive in Ashgabat.

Excursion in the Turkmenistan museum of History and Archeology.

Check in hotel. Time at leisure.

Start night tour in Ashgabat.

Go to the Neutrality Tower, Ferris Wheel Entertainment /Alem Center. Drive to Wedding Palace Area to have night photos of Ashgabat. Drive through Independence Park to see it in lights. Return to hotel. Overnight

 

Day 4: Ashgabat

09h30 Visit the Mosque of Ertogrul Ghazi (Kayi Ghuzz Tribe, Ertogrul the father of Osman, who founded the Ottoman Empire in 13th century, present day Turkey). The mosque built as the copy of Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

Drive to Nisa. Sightseeing in the Old Nisa Fortress.

UNESCO fortress of Nisa was one of the first strongholds of the young Parthian state in the region. Remained important point at the different stages of Parthian period. Due to the geopolitical development around its borders, it was also a communication center between Parthians and the different nomadic tribes living in the desert and northward zone, for security of its northern borders and the trade routes passing Parthian Empire controlled lands.

Nisa is composed of two tells: known as New Nisa – the town itself and Old Nisa – the monumental complex of palaces and temples of Parthian Rulers. The Old Nisa where all the main archeological expeditions worked since 1960 until present. Today, they unearthed the remains of Square House known also as Treasury, Northeastern Building ‘Palace’, Square Hall, Round Building – Temple, Tower Building – Temple, Red Building, Southwestern complex and Basins.

Visit The Spiritual Mosque of Turkmenbashy.

Stop at Serdar Yoly (Health Path). Visit Russian bazar, Monument of Lenin.

Return to hotel. Free program. Overnigh

*On Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – Tolkuchka bazar is available for a visit

 

Day 5: Ashgabat – Dashoguz, FLY     

           Dashoguz - Kunya Urgench – Dashoguz border, 200 km

06h00 Fly to Dashoguz.

Drive to Kunya Urgench. Sightseeing in Kunya Urgench UNESCO park.

Ancient Khorezm was one of the largest oasis of Central Asia, encircled by Kara-kum desert to the west and Kizil-kum desert to the east. The oasis was formed by the Amu Darya River (known also as Oxus and Jeihun). Being between the Caspian and Aral Seas, it was the border between the lands of the northern steppe nomads and the settled farmers of the oasis.

Kunya Urgench was a major regional center between 10th – 13th centuries CE and in the 12th century became the capital of the Khanate of Khorezm, the Khorezmshakh dynasty. During this period Khorezmian state extended to control Bukhara, Samarkand, Merv, Balkh, Herat, Nishapur, Zarani, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Maragha, Tabriz. Kunya Urgench was also known as Gurganj or Urganj.

List of monuments of Kunya Urgench:

  • Minaret of Kutluk Timur (Foundation 1011 CE, Restoration 1330)
  • Mausoleum of Turabek Khanum (14th century CE)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ala al-din Tekesh (1172-1200)
  • Mausoleum of Il Arslan (1156-1172)
  • Kyrkmolla fortress 5th century BCE
  • Ak-Kala fortress remains
  • Mausoleum of Ahmed Ibn Omar Najm Ad-Din al-Kubra (construction date 14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Piryar Valiis (construction date 13th-14th century)
  • Mausoleum of Sultan Ali 16th century
  • Ibn Khajib Complex of monuments, between 14th-19th centuries
  • Dash Mosque, History museum, 20th century

Return drive to Dashoguz border crossing. 14h00 Arrive and start passport& customs formalities. End of tour in Turkmenistan. Continue in Uzbekistan

 

Quotes as per program

Group

Price USD per pax

2

819

4

682

6

640

8

628

SGL room supplement

 80 USD per SGL room

 

The quotes include the services:
  • Letter of invitation LOI, registration inside of country
  • A/C transportation service as per groups & as per program (car/bus/coach), A/C overland 4x4 transportation where required, all airport transfers
  • Flight tickets Ashgabat- Dashoguz
  • German (English, French) speaking guide for whole program
  • Entrance tickets to the sites (what can be removed at request of a group/ as 44 USD per person. At some sites it is real advantage for a customer to pay directly with local money)
  • DBL/ TWIN shared room stay at hotels, with breakfast        

Hotel

Town/ number of nights

Mary****

2/ Mary

AkAltyn****

2/ Ashgabat

 

*bottled water on the route – complimentary

 

Excluded services / Optional services to include on request:
  • HB Meals 5 lunches                                                  57 USD per person
  • FB Meals 5 lunches and 4 dinners                           126 USD per person
  • Visa cost (price at Embassy in advance and at border is different / at border starts urgent tariff from 57 USD)
  • Migration Service Tax at the border 12 USD paid once on arrival
  • Photo/ video tickets at the museums and history sites
  • Update hotel
  • Extra night/s at AkAltyn hotel (SGL 70 USD, DBL 100 USD)
  • Other services missing above