Turkmenistan Extension

itinerary

Day 1: Shavat Border to Dashoguz

From Uzbekistan, at the Shavat border, you'll cross into Dashoguz in Turkmenistan to meet your local guide. From here, drive to Konya Urgench, capital of the powerful Khorezmia, which ruled here until the Mongol’s invasion. This ancient town contains ruins of the capital of Khorezm - part of the Achaemenid Empire. Its inhabitants deserted the town 350 years ago in order to develop a new settlement, and Kunya-Urgench has since remained undisturbed. In 2005, the ruins of Old Urgench became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in Turkmenistan, lying within a vast zone of protected landscapes and containing a large number of well-preserved monuments, dating between the 11th to the 16th centuries. It comprises of mosques, gates of caravanserai, fortresses, mausoleums, and minarets and the influence of their architectural style and craftsmanship has reached Iran, Afghanistan, and the later architecture of the Mogul Empire of 16th-century in India. Your tour includes the Kutlug Temir minaret, Tubarek Khanum, Sultan Tekesh and Fahriddin Mausoleums, burial mosque of 12th century, and the 15th-century Gutluk Temir Minaret.

Continue on to Dashoguz for dinner and overnight.

Meals: Dinner
Accommodations: Dashoguz Hotel or similar

Day 2: Dashoguz Bazaar & Darwaza

In the morning, spend time exploring the picturesque bazaar of Dashoguz, then hop into a 4-wheel drive and make your way to the Darwaza Gas Crater, locally known as the "Door to Hell" or "Gates of Hell". This natural gas field collapsed into an underground cavern, but geologists set it on fire to prevent the spread of methane gas. It has been burning continuously since 1971. Along the way, stop to see the Izmukhsir Fort, the birthplace of Az-Zamahshari, one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages.

Continue on to Ashgabat, a city that has been designed to show the world the accomplishments of the Turkmen and the city is like no other. Here you'll feel as though you are in the midst of a science-fiction movie as you explore its collection of white marble buildings.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Grand Turkmen Hotel or similar

Day 3: Ashgabat City Tour

After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel and take you out to the Horse Hippodrome to see the Ahal-teke Horses, the revered breed of Turkmenistan. Return to the city where you'll spend time exploring Ashgabat, the largest city and capital of Turkmenistan. Visit the National Museum of Turkmenistan (closed on Tuesdays & during National Holidays), which contains about 500,000 artifacts dedicated to the Bronze Age, Antiquity and Middle age history of Turkmenistan. Other sections of the museum focus on Nature, Ethnography, Military, and Jewelry. The entire second floor of the museum is a platform from where the giant “Turkmenbashi”  carpet can be seen.

Next, visit Nisa (also known as Parthaunisa), once an ancient city located near modern-day Bagir village. It is thought to have been founded by Arsaces I (reigned 250–211 BC) and was supposedly the royal necropolis of the Parthian kings, although it has not been established that the fortress at Nisa was either a royal residence or a mausoleum. The town was a major trading hub during the Parthian Empire but destroyed by an earthquake around 10 BC. Archaeological digs have revealed a grandiose architectural complex consisting of a ceremonial hall, treasure house, and residences.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Grand Turkmen Hotel or similar

Day 4: Depart Ashgabat

Very early this morning, you'll be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: None