“I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday…”
Day 5: 15 August 2017 (Tuesday)
Route: Ashgabat - Mary, Turkmenistan
Flight: Domestic flight
Hotel: Mary Hotel, Turkmenistan
|(The map of Ancient Merv)|
It was warm and sunny in the morning when we arrived in Mary. The bus was already waiting for us at the airport. After luggage clearance we headed to our hotel for a heavy breakfast. About 9.00 am we boarded the bus and went for a half-day tour of the ancient city of Merv, a UNESCO site.
|(A replica of copper busts)|
|(Artifacts from the Ancient city)|
The attractions visited in ancient Merv include, the Merv Museum and the remains of historical sites. Ancient Merv is the State Historical and Cultural Park, the oldest and most completely preserved of the oasis cities along the Silk Road in Central Asia. It is located in the territory of Mary and played an important role in the history of the East connected with the unparalleled existence of cultural landscape and exceptional variety of cultures which existed within the Murgab River oasis. It reached its apogee during the Muslim epoch and became a capital of the Arabic Caliphate at the beginning of 9th century and as a capital of the Great Seljuks Empire at the 11th-12th centuries.
|(Fortress made of vertical clay logs)|
|(Onother one of the crumbling fortress)|
Gyz Kala Castles are the two crumbling 7th-century fortresses outside the walls of Merv. The interesting stockade walls composed of vast clay logs placed vertically side by side. They were constructed by the Sassanians and used by Seljuq sultans, as function rooms.
Gyaur Kala Castle are square with the hills of towers put at identical distance from each other. The length of each wall is about 2 km. Each wall had a gate. The road from the south to the north goes directly from the southern gate to the ramparts of Erk-Kala opening way to the citadel and runs further around it to the northern gates.
|(Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum)|
|(A huge decorated dome)|
|(The grave in the middle of the hall)|
The Tomb of Ahmad Sanjar was built in Merv in 1157, following the death of Ahmad Sanjar, sultan of the Great Seljuk Empire. It is reported that his tomb was the site of pilgrimages.
|(Mohammed ibn Zeid Mausoleum)|
|(The newly restored complex)|
|(A small minaret in the complex)|
|(A pilgrimage site in Merv)|
|(Yusuf Khamadani grave)|
Yusuf Khamadani Mosque Complex was built on the burial site of Abu-Yakub Yusuf ibn Ayub born in the city of Hamadan, Western Iran. His mausoleum was newly restored and the reconstructed tomb of the dervish symbolizes a crypt from black marble decorated with a floral ornament and inscriptions. There is a chapel in the western corner of the mausoleum with central aivan. It is the basic part of the complex. Today Yusuf Khamadani mosque is an important Muslim temple, the place of worshiping.
|(A place for the qurban)|
|(Steaming tasty lamb soup and bread)|
|(Having the meals with the locals)|
|(The Turmenistan gentlemen)|
|(Pretty Turkmenistan ladies)|
|(The tombs were under restoration)|
|(The history of the tombs)|
|(One of the two tombs)|
Mausoleum of two of the Ashabs of Prophet Mohammed, Bureid ibn Al Khusseib Al-Aslami and Al-Khakim ibn Amr Al-Gifari. After the death of the Ashabs, their tombs became local sanctuaries. The tombs from black marble are decorated with exquisite relief carving with inscriptions.
|(Abundance of salad and fruits)|
|(No photography in the museum)|
|(Mary blue dome mosque in the background)|
We returned to Mary for a good delicious lunch at Sapak Restaurant. After lunch we checked in the hotel and after a short rest, eight of us visited the Mary Historical Muzeum. The museum has about forty thousand exhibits related to the history of the region.
|(The Zelyoni Bazaar)|
|(Buying t-shirts for souvenirs)|
|(Colorful Turkmen cotton)|
Later with the rest of the group we visited the Green Zelyoni Bazaar, a short distance from our hotel. One can get a feel of the local colours and wonder into interesting back alleys to look for some souvenirs. It was not that crowded at the time of our visit. When there was nothing for us to buy, we walked back to the hotel and had a short rest before dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Tonight we slept early and rested well. Happy Birthday yang...
|(A 5-star hotel in Mary)|
|(A spacious comfortable room)|