Day 1: Dashoguz. Arrival in Dashoguz. Accommodation. Drive to Konye-Urgench to explore this Silk Road City and the Mausoleum of Turabeg Khanum and the Shrines of Soltan Tekesh and II Arslan. Dinner at the national house with folklore show.
Day 2: Dashoguz - Darvaza. Morning sightseeing drive tour to Darvaza located in the center of desert Kara Kum (Black Sand). This refers not only to the light which gives the sand a grayish color, but the inherent demise of unwise travelers in such a barren landscape! Visit Darvaza Gas Craters or the Burning Gates, the result of Soviet gas exploration in the desert. One of the craters has been burning since the 1950’s, and its incredible blaze is visible during the night for several miles. Overnight at camp.
Day 3: Ashgabat. Leaving Darvaza, we will travel next to Ashgabat (city of love in Arabic.) The capital city of Turkmenistan since its independence in 1991, it is undergoing dramatic changes with development and urbanization. We will stop en route to visit the nomad village of Erbent to discover everyday rural life. One of the highlights in Ashgabat will be a visit to the Tolkuchka Bazaar – camels and carpets, silver jewelry and mouth-watering cooking scents, every imaginable good is spread out on acres of land in the desert. Overnight in Nissa Hotel.
Day 4: Ashgabat. Today will be spent touring some of the sites in this ever-changing city. We will see the Arch of Neutrality - erected in 1998 to celebrate Turkmenistan's policy of political neutrality, the top of the structure is reached by glass elevator with a great view of the city, Independence Square - surrounded by extravagant palaces and ministry buildings, and the National Museum with its fine collection of historic artifacts and relics.
Day 5: Ashgabat – Gokdepe. Today we will take a side trip to visit the unique Kow-Ata (father of caves) underground lake. Entering through a cave at the base of a mountain and following a staircase about 200 feet underground, you will discover a subterranean lake of clear warm water. We will return to Ashgabat for a visit to the Carpet Museum, rich with the history of Turkmen carpet weaving; and the "Spiritual Temple of Turkmen Nation” mosque in Kiptchak.
Day 6: Mary. This morning we will take an early flight from Ashgabat to Mary, the third-largest city in Turkmenistan. On arrival, we will travel to Gonur Depe, the largest archaeological excavation in the Near East which experts have confirmed to be the site of the fifth great center of civilization (along with Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, and India). Some of the highlights of Gonur Depe include the palace excavations, the Zoroastrian temple "Temenos", the Necropolis, and the Temple of Water. Overnight in Mary - Margush Hotel (4-star).
Day 7: Mary. Today we will explore one of Turkmenistan's greatest attractions, the historic city of Merv. Vast and complex, this is one of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage sites and is considered of vital significance to the culture of Central Asia. It rivaled trading cities like Cairo and Damascus, and was a commercial power for centuries, but also fell victim to the ruthlessness of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane. We will visit the remains of Alexandria, Antiokhia, Sultan Kala, the Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar, Ibn Zaid, and the medieval castle “Keshk”. In the afternoon we will tour the Museum of History and the mausoleum of Talkhatan Baba before returning to Mary for the evening.
Day 8: Departure. End of the service.
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