Ancient & Modern Turkmenistan
- Tour countries:
- Type of tour:
- Historical, General
Day 1 Ashgabat
Meeting at Ashgabat airport and transfer to AkAltyn Hotel. Rest and free time. Overnight.
Day 2 Ashgabat
This day will be spent sightseeing the major landmarks of Ashgabat - the capital and largest city of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat is a relatively young city, growing out of a village of the same name established by Russian officers in 1881 after the Battle of Geok Tepe. It is not far from the site of Nisa, the ancient capital of the Parthian Empire. Within this tour you will visit Ten Years of Independence Park, Turkmenbashy Square with marble-faced Ruhyyet Palace and gold-domed Turkmenbashy Palace. The statue in front of Turkmenistan's Justice Ministry and Supreme Court building is an image of Niyazov's mother, Gurbansoltan Eje, holding the scales of justice in her right hand. You will be also taken to grandious Square of Revival (Galkynysh) - a new administrative, business and cultural center of Ashgabat. Have a stroll along Ylham (Inspiration) Park. Overnight.
Day 3 Dashoguz
Early morning flight to Dashoguz (55 min) and from there drive to Konya-Urgench - one of the greatest cities on the Silk Road, which was formerly situated on the banks of Amu-Darya River. Its foundation date is uncertain, but the extant ruins of the Kyrkmolla fortress have been dated (rather ambitiously) to the Achaemenid period. The 12th and early 13th centuries were the golden age of Urgench, it became the capital of Khorezm Empire and it surpassed in population and fame all other Central Asian cities barring Bukhara. In 1221, Genghis Khan razed it to the ground in one of the bloodiest massacres in human history. The city was revived after Genghis's assault, but the sudden change of Amu-Darya's course to the north and the town's destruction again in the 1370s, this time by Timur, forced the inhabitants to leave the site forever. The area was later inhabited by Turkmen in 1831, but they built outside the old town, using it as a graveyard. Check local landmarks, visit the historical site (Mausoleums of Turebek-Khanym, Sultan Tekesh, Sultan Il Arslan, Najmad-din-Kubra, Sultan Ali. Discover the Kutlug Timur minaret & Kyrk Molla (40 Mullahs) hill. Return to Dashoguz for overnight in a Uzboy Hotel.
Day 4 Dashoguz - Darwaza - Ashgabat
After breakfast a group will check out from the hotel and goes to Izmukshir fortress and a holy place Ismamut Ata. Lunch at Ismamut Ata. After lunch we will start our way back to Ashgabat. En-route we cross Karakum desert, and will stop to watch the spectacular and fascinating view of Darwaza Gas Crater, dubbedby locals as "The Door to Hell". The Derweze area is rich in natural gas. While drilling in 1971, Soviet geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of 70 metres. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided the best solution was to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas is still burning today. Return to Ashgabad and stay overnight.
Day 5 Ashgabat - Kow Ata - Geok Depe - Ashgabat
After breakfast you will be driven to Kow-Ata underground lake which is located 90 km from Ashgabat. The Turkmen name Kow-Ata means "father of caves". At first glance, this underground area appears like a magnificent auditorium: the overall length of the cave is 230 m, its height reaches 20 m, and its width is at some points 57 m. The bottom of the cave is covered with lumps of dissolved limestone (stalagmites), and its warm and gushing water is clear and emerald colored. The water has a constant temperature of 33-37°C.
On the way back visit the Geok Tepe fortress (Siege of Geoktepe) that was attacked in December 1880 by 6,000 Russians under General Mikhail Skobelev against 25,000 defenders. The siege of Geok Tepe lasted twenty-three days, after which the city was taken by storm. Around 15,000 Turkmen soldiers and civilians were killed in the fight. Russian casualties were only 398 killed and 669 wounded. Geok Tepe (Gokdepe Mosque) was built to commemorate the defeat and is noted for its mint-turquoise blue coloured roof and white marble structure. After that group will be taken to gokdepe horse farm where you could watch a show with Ahalteke horses, have a chance to ride one of them and make a short coffe break. Continue drive to Ashgabat and on the way visit one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia (Ruhy Mosque of Turkmenbashy). Overnight
Day 6 Ashgabat - Nisa - Ashgabat
Today you will visit Tolkuchka oriental bazaar - Jygyldyk located 20 km north of Ashgabat, one of Central Asia’s most spectacular sights. It is a colourful, chaotic place, offering wildly contrasting sights: the indignant newly purchased camel which, while being winched onto its new owner's truck, sensibly tucks its legs under its body; the vendor of beautiful Turkmen embroidery who rubs breadcrumbs across her wares as a means, apparently, of adding lustre to them. Whatever you want, it’s sold here. Most foreign visitors head straight for the carpets, but Tolkuchka offers a great deal more.
After you will be taken for an excursion outside Ashgabat (15km west of capital) to visit Nissa fortress: the Parthian site of Old Nisa, known as Konye Nusay in Turkmen. Old Nisa has a striking geographical location, on top of a small hill on the southeast side of the village, offering splendid views towards the Kopet Dag Mountains to the south. Also check here Serdar Health Path - concrete stepped path which snakes across the northernmost line of hills of the Kopet Dag, immediately to the south of Ashgabat. The highest point on the health path is marked by a large Turkmen flag. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7 Ashgabad
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to airport and flight home.
Note: For uptodate rates and group discounts please check with a member of our team