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Carpets of Turkmenistan. 2015-2016.

Carpets of Turkmenistan.

This 7-day tour is built around the celebration of the National Day of the Turkmen Carpet, the famous century-old art of the Turkmen people and an expression of their individual ancient tribal identities. The tour includes a comprehensive visit of Ashgabat and its post-independence architecture; all three UNESCO historical parks, but also introduces you to the various aspects of the lifestyle of the Turkmens. Last but not least, it includes an overnight trip to Darwaza in the vast Karakum Desert. Accommodation during this tour is in a good Ashgabat 3* hotel, plus one night in a tent during the desert trip (this can be changed into an after-dark return trip with overnight in Ashgabat at a supplement cost, as indicated below). Meals are only included on 2 occasions, in order to give maximum freedom to individual preferences. Transport is by comfortable minibus and 4-wheel drive, and by domestic flight where large distances need to be covered. Two extensions can easily be added to this tour for an even more complete experience of Turkmenistan.

The short description of a route of tour National Carpets Festival in Turkmenistan:

Ashgabad – Mary - Darvaza - town of Kunya-Urgench - historical and cultural memorial estate «Old Urgench» - Dashoguz – Ashgabad.

Extension of a route: 325 km.
Seasonality: All-year-round.
 The Best time for travel: from 1 of April to 30 of September.

5 days and 4 nights.

The detailed program of tour day after day on ancient monuments of Turkmenistan:

1 Day. Ashgabad.
Arrival by flight in Ashgabad (depending on airline used). Transfer to hotel. Check-in from 13.00 h. Rest day at leisure. Overnight in hotel.
2 Day. Ashgabad.
Breakfast.  At 09.00 h  departure from hotel lobby for town tour, including visits of Independence Park, Neutrality Arch, Ferris Wheel, Wedding Palace Viewpoint, Stairs of Health Park, Turkmenbashi Mosque-Mausoleum, and Ertogrul Ghazi Mosque. 18.00 h return to hotel. Traditional Turkmen lunch included this day. Evening at leisure. Overnight in hotel.
3 Day. Ashgabd - Mary - monuments of ancient Merv (67 km).
Breakfast. At 08.30 h departure from hotel lobby for transfer to airport. Morning flight to Mary (40 min).  Vsiting of ancient monuments ancient Merv (UNESCO). Transfer: Mary - settlement Bairam-Ali - site of ancient settlement Abdulla-khan Kala (XV century) (32 km). Excursion on a site of ancient settlement Abdulla-khan Kala. Transfer: to fortresses Greater and Small kyz kala, walk in vicinities. Transfer: to mausoleums Askhabs (VII century), walk in vicinities, excursion to the mausoleums. Visiting of sites of ancient settlement Gyaur-kala, Erk-kala, visiting of citadel Shakhriar-ark. Visiting of a mosque and minaret Ysup Khodzha Khamadani (XIII century). Visiting of the mausoleum Sultan Sandzhar (XII century). The end of excursion across ancient Merv. Returning in Mary (35 km).  After lunch visit to Mary town center and bazaar. Evening flight to Ashgabat and transfer to town. At 20.30 h return to hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight in hotel.
4 Day. Ashgabad - kishlak Erbent - Turquoise lake – Mud crater - gas crater Darvaza (277 km).
Breakfast. At 09.00 h departure from hotel lobby for visit of National Museum and Nissa (UENSCO). Afternoon departure by jeep to Darwaza, with visit of desert village on the way. Transfer: Ashgabad - settlement Bakhordok - kishlak Ербент (165 km). On road for Ashgabad the great and boundless desert of Turkmenistan - Kara Kum begins, infinite barchans and mountains of sand will accompany on travel on desert of Turkmenistan. Arrival in kishlak Erbent. In a kishlak there live local residents who grow up sheeps and camels. Here it is possible to get acquainted with a life of Turkmen nomads. For the summer they leave for desert and there among sand their sheeps and camels are grazed. Visiting of houses of local residents. Walk on settlement Erbent. Transfer: kishlak Erbent - Turquoise lake in a crater (85 km). Following local sights in desert Karakum, it is a crater filled by water which has a shade of turquoise. The crater is near to road. Walk to a crater, photographing of vicinities. A lunch in a way. The further transfer: Turquoise lake - the Mud crater (15 km). A stop at a crater, walk in vicinities, survey and and photographing of the Mud crater. The further transfer: the Mud crater - district Darvaza - gas crater Darvaza (12 km). We pass yurts Turkmen nomads at road and soon we leave asphalt road and we turn off to the right on road which leaves in sand. Arrival on gas crater Darvaza, this unique technogenic show in sand of Kara-Kum which we shall observe, in a crater burns gas since 1971. Survey and photographing of vicinities.  Dinner and overnight in tents at Darwaza.
5 Day. Darvaza – Kunya-Urgench – Dashoguz – Ashgabad (383 km).
Breakfast. Drive to Kunya-Urgench (272 km). Arrival in Kunya-Urgench.  Visiting on ancient monuments to ancient Old Kunya-Urgench. Visiting of mosque Dash (1907 - 1908), mausoleums Nadzhmetdin Kubra (XIV century), Sultan Ali (XVI century) and Piryar Vali (XVII century). Transfer to historical and cultural memorial estate «Old Urgench» (3 km). Visiting of mausoleum Tyrabekh Khanum (XIV century), Kutlug Timur's minaret (XIV century), the mausoleum Sultan Tekesha (XII century), mausoleum Il Arskan (Fakhr d-dina Razi) (XII century) (time of directory 1156 - 1172), minaret Mamun (X - XI c.c.), a portal of a unknown construction (XI - XII c.c.), mosques of dynasty Sifi, visiting of fortress Kyrk-Kala. The end of excursion. Transfer: Old Urgench - Kynya-Urgench - Dashoguz (97 km). Arrival in Dashoguz, transfer to the airport (14 km), a start evening flight to Ashgabad. Arrival in Ashgabat. Meet at the airport. Transfer to hotel, accommodation, dinner and overnight.   20.30 h return to hotel.
6 Day. Ashgabad.
Breakfast. At 09.00 h departure from hotel lobby for visit of Sunday Bazaar. Afternoon visit of Carpet Museum and National Carpet Festival activities at museum grounds. Overnight in hotel.
7 Day. Ashgabad.
Transfer to airport. Departure by flight from Ashgabad.

Deadline for sign up to this tourSunday 26 April 2015.
2016 tour dates - Tuesday 24 May – Monday 30 May 2016 (tour price to be reconfirmed).
2016 deadline for sign up - Sunday 24 April 2016.
The price ($ USA) per person (4 pax minimum) - 1125
Single supplement - 170

Extension Caspian Sea and Yangikala Canyons (immediately before or after the set tour program).

1 Day. Ashgabad - Turkmenbashi.
Transfer from hotel to airport for mid-morning flight to Turkmenbashi. Visit Turkmenbashi town bazaar, port and Russian-orthodox church. Transfer to Caspian Sea coast and seaside hotel ****. 16.00 h arrival at hotel. Rest day at leisure.
2 Day. Turkmenbashi – Ashgabad.
Breakfast. At 08.00 h departure from hotel lobby for day trip to Yangikala Canyons (4-hour drive one way). Picnic lunch at canyon viewpoint included this day. Return to Turkmenbashi and transfer to airport for evening flight to Ashgabat. 21.30 h return to hotel ***. Overnight.

The price ($ USA) per person (2 - 3 pax basis) - from 360 (excluding guide services).
Price per ($ USA) person (4 - 12 pax basis) - 360 (including guide services).
Single supplement - 65.

Extension Kugitang Mountains and Dinosaur Plateau (immediately before or after the set tour program).

1 Day. Ashgabad - Turkmenabad - settlement Kerki - an architectural complex Astana-baba - settlement Koityn (393 km).
Transfer to the airport, morning flight to Turkmenabad (45 min.). Arrival in Turkmenabd, a meeting at the airport. Transfer: Turkmenabad - settlement Sayat - settlement Halach - an architectural complex Astana-baba (210 km, 12 hours). Arrival on a complex Astana-baba (XII - XIX century). Visiting and photographing of an architectural complex and vicinities. A lunch in a way. The further transfer: a complex Astana-baba - kishlak Karlyk - settlement Koityn (183 km). Arrival in settlement Koityn, accommodation in the guest house, a dinner. Evening walk on lake Kugitan (lake Kattakel) which is in northern part of a kishlak. Returning in the guest house, overnight.
2 Day. Reserve Kugitang - gorge Kyrkgyz - natural boundary Sary-Kiya (a plateau of Dinosaurs) (32 km).
Breakfast. Transfer in reserve Kugitang which is located on border with Uzbekistan. The reserve is in mountains Pamiro-Alai in mountain ridges Baisuntau and Kugtang. Our way lays in a vicinity of mountain the Airy-baba of 3137 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak in a southeast of Turkmenistan. Transfer: kishlak Koityn - gorge and cave Kyrkgyz «Forty girls» (9 km). This huge and deep gorge in which it is possible to be covered from the hot sun. Visiting of cave Kyrkgyz, walk on gorge, photographing of vicinities of gorge Kyrkgyz. Transfer: gorge Kyrkgyz - kishlak Khaodzhapil - natural boundary Sary-Kiya (a plateau of Dinosaurs) (7 km). Walk on a plateau of Dinosaurs. On a plateau of Dinosaurs, there are tracks of prehistoric pangolins in the fused magma, during eruption of a volcano the Airy-Baba. In district Sary-Kiya there are 22 lines from 360 tracks of dinosaurs. Such quantity of traces of legs Malm dinosaurs has no analogues in the world. At Khodzhapilazavrus on tridactyl legs fingers extended, long average slightly the finger is ahead, last finger - is shorter than the first. Gissarazavrus - a biped, four-fingered dinosaur, a heel rectangular, wide. Diameter of large tracks of adult dinosaurs has 70 - 80 centimeters, the distance of length of a step makes 1,5 meters, growth of dinosaurs was 8 - 12 meters, length of a trunk up to 5 meters, all within the limits of 5 - 10 tons. Picnic on the nature. Walk by the nature in vicinities of reserve Kugitan, visiting of a falls in gorge Umbar Dere. Returning in kishlak Koityn (16 km). Accommodation in the guest house, a dinner and overnight.
3 Day. Kishlak Koityn - Turkmenabad (393 km).
Breakfast. Departure kishlak Koityn at 06.00. Transfer: Koityn - Turkmenabad (425 km). A lunch in a way. Arrival in Turkmenabad, transfer to the airport, a start in Ashgabad (45 minutes). Arrival in Ashgabad, a meeting at the airport, transfer to hotel, accommodation, a dinner and overnight.

The price ($ USA) per person (2 - 3 pax basis) - 599 (excluding guide services).
Price per person (4-12 pax basis) - 599 (including guide services).
Single supplement - 75.

The price of the tour Included:

Visa support (Letter of Invitation, State Registration, Travel Pass).
All transfers and all other overland transport as per program per AC vehicles as in the table under “itinerary”.
Domestic airline tickets (economy seats, Boeing 717 aircraft) as in the table under “itinerary”.
Accommodation based on twin-shared hotel *** room, including breakfast as in the table under “accommodation”.
Fixed meals (lunch and/or dinner) where indicated in table under “meals”.
English-speaking local guide-interpreter services as mentioned in the table under “guide”.
German-speaking local guide interpreter services if at least 8 persons request German-language excursions.
Entrance fees to sites mentioned in the table under “program”.
Bottled drinking water en route 1,5 l.

To be paid in addition ($ USA):

No additional obligatory costs to be paid to agency.
Supplement option overnight in Ashgabat hotel instead of Darwaza camp 185 per person (twin-shared room), or 215 per person (single room), including transfers and extra flight Ashgabat-Dashoguz (optional)
Supplement option German-speaking local guide services if 8 persons or less request German-language excursions 100 per day (optional; applies to main tour and extensions).
Supplement option English-speaking local guide services if 3 persons or less request English-language excursions 100 per day (optional; applies to extensions only)

Not included ($ USA):

Turkmenistan tourist visa, from 85 + 2 per person, when obtained at Ashgabat Airport (subject to change).
Turkmenistan migration tax 10 + 2 per person, to be paid at Ashgabat Airport (subject to change).
Meals not indicated in above table.
Camera usage fees to historical parks and museums.
Tips for local guides and drivers.
Souvenirs and other personal items.
All other charges and services not mentioned under “IncludedBuilding of a museum of a carpet in Ashgabad.The biggest carpet in the world in museum a carpet in Ashgabad.Carpets at an exhibition in Ashgabad.Performance of Turkmen actors.Tracks of dinosaurs on plateu Kugitang in Turkmenistan.In cave Kyrkgyz.

Photos
Alexander Petrov and Vladimir Dolgiy.