Tours, Attractions and Things To Do in Mary
History of Mary
Mary is considered the fourth city of Turkmenistan by the number of inhabitants, today more than 200 thousand people live here. It is located in the middle of the desert, in a large oasis. Mary was founded by the Russian military in 1884. The city was built not far from the ancient Merv, which is more than two thousand years old. Once the inhabitants of Merv were Omar Khayyam, Al-Khorezmi, Enveri, As-Samani and other famous personalities. Today Mary is considered the largest city in the country for cotton growing and an important center for gas production. It is the gas industry that is the main income of Turkmenistan.
Attractions of Mary
There are unique museums in Mary. For example, the museum of Turkmen carpets exhibits the works of masters who pass secrets from generation to generation. The ornaments and patterns of the carpets – Tekin, Ersarin, Iomud and Salor – differ from each other. There is also a historical museum in the city with a large number of archaeological monuments. And at the stud farm in Mary, one of the world's most famous breeds of racehorses, the Akhal–Teke, is grown.
There is a protected historical and architectural zone "Bayramali" in Mary. It includes ancient settlements that were once the capitals of Merv. The most curious: Gyaur-kala (III century BC – VIII-IX centuries AD) with the remains of an ancient Buddhist monastery and a Christian church, Sultan-kala (IX-XII centuries), Erk-kala (I century BC), Abdullahan-kala (XV century) and Bayramalikhan-kala (XVIII century).
One of the main attractions of Mary is the mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar (1118-1157). The 40-meter architectural monument is crowned by a well-preserved dome.
Other attractions of Mary – the ancient fortress of Shazriar-Ark, the remains of the fortress walls of Kaz-Kala, ancient mausoleums and mosques – will not leave indifferent even the most sophisticated traveler.
There is also an Orthodox church in Mary, built in 1900. The Intercession Church is built of red brick in the traditional Russian style. And not far from the city there is a mosque-mausoleum of Talkhatan Baba of the XI century. It has reached our days almost in its original form.
The Gurbanguly-hadji Mosque is the main cathedral mosque of Mary Velayat. It was built in 2009 from white marble and named after the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The mosque is decorated with four 63-meter minarets.
Not far from Mary is the ancient settlement of Durnali. The buildings of the IX-XII centuries have been preserved here, although the settlement itself existed much earlier. Archaeologists have found coins of the II-I centuries BC on the territory of the settlement. Near Durnali, 2 kilometers away, there are well-preserved parts of the Akuyli-Koushuk Castle. The entire first floor, built of mud brick in the Middle Ages, has been preserved almost completely. There is even a room layout left.