Merv, Turkmenistan

One of the most ancient regions in the world and the most ancient one in Central Asia is Merv. It’s as old as Mesopotamia, India, China, and Egypt! As if being the oldest region isn’t enough, Merv occupies one of the largest territories of archaeological excavation in Central Asia! There’re ruins of not one, but five different hill-forts! Ancient city is known for the brightest minds of Islamic world like al-Khwarizmia and Omar Khayyam that lived and worked there. 

Merv was established in 8th-6th centuries BC, the same time the first written mentions appeared. It’s known that ancient chroniclers were all about naming large cities as pretentious as possible; for example, Samarkand was named “The Pearl of the Easter Muslim World”. However, names that were given to ancient Merv are excessively overwrought: “Heart of tsar”, “the city that holds the universe”, and “Mother of Khorasan cities”. Well, it’s very likely that ancient town fully justified all these names; even the remnants create unforgettable impression and it’s just ruins! What was left from five settlements-Gyaur-Kala, Er-Kala, Sultan-Kala, Bairamalikhan-Kala, and Abdullakhan-Kala, allows to reconstruct timeline of the area for many centuries. Some of the most interesting sightseeing places of ancient Merv are Tomb of Sultan Sandzhar, Shazriar-Ark Citadel, Sultan-Kala, ruins of fortresses, Christian temple and Buddhist Monastery. Big and Small Kyz-Kala, and ruins of palaces, baths. 

Tomb of Sultan Sandzhar belongs to one of the most famous sultans of the Great Seljuk Empir and was built in 1157. Tomb is 38 meters of height with two-tier turquoise cupola that represents skies; short and sweet, the building is magnificent. If we had to talk about every single monument in ancient Merv, or even a half of them, this text would have been dozens of pages long. It’s a treasury of cultures and history of the Great Silk Road that can’t miss your bucket-list! 

Tours, where you will visit Merv, Turkmenistan: