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Gyaur Kala, Mary

#1 of 21 in Historic Sites in Turkmenistan
Must see · World heritage site · Ruin · Tourist Spot
Explore the mysterious ruins of the former Gate to Central Asia at Gyaur Kala, the oldest and best preserved oasis city on the Silk Road, and a World Heritage Site. Spanning 4,000 years of human history, the archeological site has a walled area covering 20 ha (49 ac). Claimed to have been the largest city in the world in the 12th century, the ancient metropolis has layers of civilizations, including Persian, Hellenic, Arab, Seljuk, Mongol, and Khiva, with the most intriguing stone structure being the Zoroastrian "gawurgala," or infidel’s fortress. Located near the Murghab River some 30 km (19 mi) west of Mary, the site also features a well-preserved mausoleum of a Seljuk sultan. To get a greater sense of the history, hire a local guide, who'll help you make sense of these massive eroding pillars and abandoned stone structures. Use our Mary online trip itinerary builder to arrange your visit to Gyaur Kala and other attractions in Mary.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
101 reviews
  • We visited on November 1 as part of a 3 day / 2 night tour with Owadan Tours (they are a great tour company and I have a separate review). The weather was cloudy and they were spots of rain...  more »
  • We visited Merv as a day trip from Ashgabat by plane. We spent 3 hours on the site but realised that we had missed some important attractions, so it is critical that you do some research before...  more »

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