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Carpet tour in Turkmenistan. 2024.

Private guides and tours in Turkmenistan.

“Does progress mean that we dissolve our ancient myths? If we forget our legends, I fear that we shall close an important door to the imagination” 

James Christensen.

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.

Short description of route of tour National Carpets Festival in Turkmenistan:

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

Distance route: 325 km.
Season: year-round.
 Best time for travel: April, May, September.
Duration: 5 days and 4 nights.

Detailed program of tour day by day on ancient monuments of Turkmenistan:

Motorcycle Tours - Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan.

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. Excursion in 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 - monuments of ancient Merv (71 km).
Breakfast. Early transfer to the airport. At 8:00 departure to the city of Mary (40 minutes of flight). Arrival in city airport of Mary, meeting at the airport. Transfer: airport - town Bayramali (29 km). Visit of the historical and cultural reserve ruins of ancient Merv.
Visit to the ancient settlement Abdullah khan Kala (XVth century). The ancient settlement Abdulla-khan Kala of Abdullah ibn Burayda is located in the Vekil Bazaar area of the Merv oasis. The structure was built towards the end of the eleventh century under Seljuk rule. It was recently restored in 1990, which fashioned its surrounding area as a namazgah. While the restoration has been faithful to the original style of its interior, the exterior has been largely altered. Older drawings indicate that the new dome raised on a new drum stands about two meters taller than the original structure. 
Transfer to mausoleums Askhabs (6 km). Musoleums Askhabs associates of prophet Mohammed were called - Bureid ibn Al-Khuseib al-Aslami and Al-Khakim ibn Amr Al-Gifari. After death, places of their burial places were local sanctuaries around of which in XV century representatives of dynasty Timurids have constructed a religious complex. Their tombs from a black marble are decorated by a relief groove with vegetative ornaments and inscriptions. Behind tombs two cost restored aivans.
Transfer to ruins of fortresses Big and Small Gyz kala (2 km). Visit of ruins of fortress Small Gyz Kala. 
Fortress ruins Small Gyz kala, in the historical and cultural park ancient Merv is one of ancient and historical sights of Mary Region. Approximate age of construction VI - VII century. Uniqueness of a construction in corrugated walls from not burned brick. Small Kyz kala small fortress badly remained up to now. The architecture of walls Small Kyz kala of a calla, most likely too reminded a goffering which is formed by the linked semicircular or polygonal pilasters.
Visit of ruins of fortress Big Gyz kalaGreater Gyz kala - small fortress, badly remained up to now. Big Kyz kala consisted of two floors. The first floor had five rooms, and the ladder conducting down passed through an arc-shaped corridor. Planning of the second floor can only be imagined by the remained fragments. The second floor also had about five rooms located around the courtyard. Big Kyz kala with corrugated, as if put pleated, like an accordion, walls. They are put on earth ramps with an easy inclination. Small windows are hidden pleated walls.
Transfer and visit of the mosque of Kyz Bibi (600 meters).
Visit of the medieval town Sultan-Kala.

The ruins of Merv are comprised of five walled cities dating from the VIth century BC to the XVIIIth century, known as Erk Kala, Gyaur Kala, Sultan Kala, Abdullah Khan Kala and Bairam Ali Khan Kala, grouped into three settlements corresponding to three periods, the ancient, medieval and post-medieval Merv. What would later become a major medieval city, and whose ruins are now known as the Sultan Kala, initially arose as a suburb beside the Majan canal outside the fortified ancient city (the ruins now known as Gyaur Kala) sometime before the eighth century. 
Visit Sultan Sanjar mausoleum. Gaunt and huge in the middle of Sultan Kala is the mausoleum Sultan Sandzhar, completed in 1140 as Moscow was being born. Its other dome, 38 metres high and originally clad in blue tiles, was said to be visible a day’s march away. A second inner dome appears to be supported by a lattice of brick ribs but these are probably only decorative.
Transfer and visit of citadel Shakhriar Ark (800 m).
Transfer and visit of a minaret and Hoji Yusup mosque (800 m).
Transfer and visit of the mosque Beni Mahan (3 km).
Visit of the ancient settlement Erk kala.
 Hill Erk-kala, settles down considerably to the south Yaz depe, adjoining with medieval Old Merv. In VI - IV c.c. Up to B.C., in days of domination of the Persian tsars, the strengthened city borrowed the area in 12 hectares here settled down. He has been enclosed thick - 6,5 m in the basis - by a fortification. Excavation have found out to Erk kala the layers concerning by times of tsar Dariya and Alexander the Great.
Visit of the ancient settlement Gyaur kala. The end of an excursion across Ancient Merv. Transfer: Ancient Merv - town Bayramali - airport of Mary (29 km). Arrival in the airport, departure to Ashgabad (40 minutes). Arrival in Ashgabad, meeting at the airport, transfer to hotel, dinner and overnight.
4 Day. Ashgabad - 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.
Departure from Ashgabad. Transfer: Ashgabad - settlement Bakhordok - kishlak Erbent (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. The Turquoise lake (crater) is in the southernmost tip of saline hollow Unguz, in the western part of the Kara Kum Desert, in Ahal Region. It is a unique sight in the Kara Kum Desert. In 500 meters in the northeast of a crater there are a hillock Kyzyldorgul 129 meters above sea level. In east part of the Turquoise lake, in 4 kilometers, there is Chaarli valley. Depth of a crater is, about, 15 meters. A crater of the turquoise having the amazing shade filled with water and which received the name - the Turquoise lake.
The further transfer: Turquoise lake – Darvaza Mud crater (15 km). A stop at a crater, walk in vicinities, survey and and photographing of the Mud crater. The Mud crater Darvaza is in the valley of Darwaz, in a northern part of Akhalsky the velayat, to the south of the settlement of Darwaz. From West side at distance of 4 kilometers the Darvazinsky mud crater is adjoined by the valley Odolanshor. The crater has the failure form, it is a unique sight in the Kara Kum Desert. Depth of a crater is, about, 15 meters. At the bottom of a crater - the bubbling liquid dirt of light gray color.
The further transfer: Darvaza Mud crater - valley Darvaza - gas crater Darvaza (11 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. Walks in vicinities. In a southeast part from gas of a crater of Darwaz there is a hill Kyzylchulba 124 meters high above sea level. The hill in 600 meters from a gas crater of Darwaz is located, from it in evening and night time the surprising and unique view of a crater Darwaz opens. Evening photofilming of a crater. Dinner and overnight in tents.
5 Day. Darvaza – Kunya-Urgench - Ashgabad (383 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: Gas crater Darwaza - Kara Kum desert - fortress Diarbekir (209 km). Arrival on fortress Dirabekir, walk in vicinities. Diyarbekir (Yarbekir kala), antique and medieval ancient settlement. Well medieval fortifications with an internal corridor and oval towers, in east wall - the remains of perverse construction remained. There is set of the remains of constructions in fortress and around it. Emergence and the first period of functioning of fortress belongs to the IVth century BC - IIIrd century AD.
Transfer: fortress Diarbekir - historical and cultural memorial estate "Old Urgench" (65 km). Arrival on Old Urgench complex. 
Visit of fortress of  Ak kala (XVI century). The fortress was named Ak-Kala after its population had abandoned it. With the retreat of water the whole oasis dried up and turned into a desert. On the way to Mamun minaret visit of gate of caravanserai. 
Further visit of the mosque mausoleum Il Arslan. The mausoleum of Khorezm Shakh of Il-Arslana called also by the mausoleum Fakhred-dina Razi - other well-known building of the cultural and historical reserve Old Kunya-Urgench. The first monumental construction of Central Asia built in second half of the XIIth century. Known also the magnificent relief ornament of the main facade which is cut out on terracotta and unique tent with 12 sides.
Visit of the mausoleum of Sultan Tekesh. The mausoleum of Anushtigid ruler Tekesh (1172 - 1200) stands near the Fakhr al-Din al-Razi mausoleum and Kutlug Timur minaret, in Kunya Urgench (or Gurganj), the dynastic capital of the Khorezm Shakhs (1077 - 1231).
Visit of fortress Kyrk Mola. Fortress Kyrk Mola (the 40th mullahs), is located on the northeast suburb of Kunya-Urgench - near Khorezm Shakh Tekesh mausoleum. The area of fortress is 3 hectares. Maximum height of towers of 12,5 meters. During excavation by archeologists the fortification of the antique period, and also an altar was found. fortress Kyrk-Kala is the most ancient center of Gurgandzha. Scientists believe that during the Middle Ages era there was the well-known library of Mamun here.
Visit of minaret of Kutlug Timur. For unknown reasons, construction was interrupted for a very long time, and was completed only in 1321-1336, in the time of Kutlug-Timur (the vice-regent of the Golden Horde). This 62m tower was named after him; and is the tallest minaret in Central Asia.
Visit of the mosque mausoleum Seyit Ahmed. Minaret Mamun
Visit of the mausoleum Tyurabek khanum. Tyurabek- khanym Mausoleum, dated to the middle of XIV century and belonging to the time of the governing of Sufi Dynasty in the Old Urgench, is the real pearl of Khorezm and whole Turkmen агсhitecture. The high and light 6-faceted hall of about 100 sq. m is the peculiarity of this creature. Its walls are decorated with coloured mosaic.
Visit of mausoleums of Nadzhmetdin Kubra. The mausoleums Nadzhmetdin Kubra and mausoleum of Shaykh Najm al-Din Kubra (1145 - 1221) is located in the ancient cemetery adjacent to the, modern city center of Kunya Urgench. Built by Qutlugh Timur (1321 - 1333), the governor of Khorezm, the mausoleum is named after Najm al-Din Kubra al Khorezmi, the Muslim philosopher who founded the Kubrawiyyah Sufi order.
Visit of the mausoleum of Piryar Vali. Nearby, only in 15 meters from the well-known mausoleum of Nadzhmeddin al-Kubra (XIVth century), in the territory of the extensive cemetery called in the people of "Uch yuz altmysh" ("Three hundred sixty") the small ancient mausoleum is located. After creation in Kunya-Urgench of the National historical and cultural park the mausoleum was reconstructed.
Visit of the mausoleum Sultan Ali. Mausoleum of Sultan Ali XVI century. or the XVI century (date not specified). Erected in the ensemble "Kosh" with khanaka Nadzhmeddina Kubra. Compositionally, he imitates the mausoleum of the Sufi: in terms of a hexagonal and a rectangular darshanu gurkhan.
Visit of mosque Matkerim Ishan. Visit of madrasah Dash. In ancient Kunya-Urgench, in 80 meters to the east of Nadzhmeddin Kubra mausoleum there is a madrasah of Dashmechet. The building is built in 1907 - 1908 for Mahomed-Amin at the expense of the treasury of the Khivan khan as madrasah including the room of the mosque.
End of an excursion. Transfer: Kunya-Urgench - city of Dashoguz - airport (107 km). Arrival in airport, flight to Ashgabad (45 min.). Arrival in Ashgabad, meeting at the airport. Transfer to hotel, accommodation, dinner and overnight.
6 Day. Ashgabad.
Breakfast. At 09.00 h departure from hotel lobby for visit of Sunday Bazaar. After breakfast at 10:00 visit of the Sunday market (Second-hand market).East market of Altyn-Asar known in the people as Second-hand market. It is located on the northern suburb of the city. It is the biggest market under the open sky in Central Asia. Tolkuchka - is a colorful and bustling bazaar, which is very popular among residents of Ashgabat. Here you can find everything, ranging from food to traditional national dress. Tolkuchka also famous for a variety of traditional Turkmen carpets, which are brought here from all over the country. Tekinski carpets are the most widespread and famous of all Turkmen carpets.
Afternoon visiting of the state national historical museum of Turkmenistan,of Carpet Museum and National Carpet Festival activities at museum grounds.  in halls new, constructed after acceptance of independence, the National museum valuable archeological finds of ancient history of Turkmenistan are presented.Overnight in hotel. 
7 Day. Ashgabad.
Transfer to airport. Departure by flight from Ashgabad.

Deadline for sign up to this tourSunday 26 April 2018.
2018 tour dates - Tuesday 24 May – Monday 30 May 2018 (tour price to be reconfirmed).
2018 deadline for sign up - Sunday 24 April 2018.

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).

Day 1. Ashgabad - town Turkmenbashi - Yangikala canyon (276 km).
Transfer to the airport, morning departure to the town Turkmenbashi. Arrival in  Turkmenbashi, meeting at the airport. Transfer: airport - settlement Akdash - Yangikala canyon (182 km). On the way visit of an exotic and picturesque market in the town Balkanabad. On the way to Yangikala canyon we pass near mountains of the Western Turkmenistan - Small and Big Balkhan. Big and Small Balkhan - ridges in the west of Turkmenistan, near the Caspian Sea, the mountains extended from the West on the East on 60 kilometers, width - 20 kilometers.
The highest point - the mountain Arlan of 1880 meters above sea level. In a mountain landscape ridges, deserts, and mountain steppes dominate. Near Big Balkhan ridge there is an oil field - Nebit Dag. Lunch on the way. Arrival in canyon. An excursion in Yangikala canyon to volcanic and rocky formations of the valley Kemal-ata. Yangikala Canyons ("fiery fortresses"). Yangikala canyon is in Balkan Region, in 160 kilometers to the East from the town of Turkmenbashy. Locals call this massif Kyzyldag (Red mountains).
Steep breaks white, yellow, ochre, purple and red colors, fancifully cut out by winds and rains, are very similar to stone locks. Canyons at sunset when everything is painted in bright-red color around are especially beautiful. Once the bottom of canyons was a bottom of the ancient sea. Then sea water receded, and on a surface hills and breaks, similar to plateaux, seemed. In the main canyon of Yangikala the small canyon Kemal ata punched in rocks by the stream which appeared in the middle of the desert which laid itself (himself) way from a spring is especially interesting. From this spring sheep and camel herds satisfy thirst. Ornament Kemal - Ata is stone educations, many of which are on canyon slopes.
Transfer: Yangikala canyon - Gozli ata mausoleum (50 km). Visit of the mausoleum of Gozli ata. Gozli ata the mausoleum is in Balkan Region in the west of Turkmenistan. Gozli ata mausoleum is located in 157 kilometers from the Turkmenbashi. Gozli ata the most remote place of a pilgrimage in Turkmenistan. The mausoleum is in the picturesque place, surrounded with pink, greenish, reddish mountains of a surprising form and beauty. On these lands the Turkmen soldiers from troops of the Khivan khan, for the independence courageously defended.   
Transfer: Gozli ata mausoleum - town Turkmenbashi - resort of Avaza (161 km). Arrival to the resort of Avaza. Transfer to hotel, accommodation, dinner, overnight.
Day 2. Turkmenbashi - resort of Avaza - Ashgabad (276 km).
Breakfast. Walk in the vicinities of the resort of Avaza. The sea resort of Avaz is located in 17 kilometers to the West from the downtown on the southeast coast of the Caspian Sea on the cape Yangiaul. 
Trip to the town of the Turkmenbashi (17 km). An excursion and walk on the town. Visit of Russian Orthodox Church. Walk on seaside market, visit of the sea harbor. The town is the center of oil-processing industry of Turkmenistan.
The city began the history with 1716 when the prince Bekovich-Cherkasskiy founded strengthening on the coast of the Krasnovodsk gulf ("in the mouth Uzboya"), preparing a campaign to Khiva. After construction of the Zakaspiyskiy railroad from Krasnovodsk via the ferry in Baku, at the end of XIX - the beginning of the XXth centuries, the town turned into the important transport center. In 1993 Krasnovodsk was renamed by the president Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenbashi) into the city - the Turkmenbashi.
The developing sea resort of Avaza is located in 17 kilometers to the West from the downtown. In the neighborhood of the town of the Turkmenbashi there took place shootings of the Soviet feature films "Days of an Eclipse" of Alexander Sokurov, "Forty first" Grigory Chukhraya. Lunch at restaurant. End of an excursion transfer to the airport, departure to Ashgabad (40 min.). Arrival in Ashgabad, meeting at the airport, transfer to the city. End of service.

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 - 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 complex Astana-baba (XII - XIX century). Visiting and photographing of an architectural complex and vicinities. Lunch on the way.
The further transfer: 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. Natural reserve Koitendag - valley Sary-Kiya (plateau of Dinosaurs) (32 km).
Breakfast. Transfer in reserve Koitendag 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 - valley Sary-Kiya (plateau of Dinosaurs) (7 km). Walk on a plateau of Dinosaurs. On 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). Lunch on the way. Arrival in Turkmenabad, transfer to airport, start in Ashgabad (45 minutes). Arrival in Ashgabad, meeting at airport, transfer to hotel, accommodation, 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.

Price of 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 “Included”.

On plateau Kugitang.In cave Khoshimoinok.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov, Vladimir and Galina Dolgiy, Gennadiy Gerasimenko.